Synopsis: He can deny it all he likes, but everyone knows Viking warlord Unnthor Reginsson brought home a great chest of gold when he retired from the longboats and settled down with Hildigunnur in a remote valley. Now, in the summer of 970, adopted daughter Helga is awaiting the arrival of her unknown siblings: dark, dangerous Karl, lithe, clever Jorunn, gentle Aslak, henpecked by his shrewish wife, and the giant Bjorn, made bitter by Volund, his idiot son.
And they’re coming with darkness in their hearts.
The siblings gather, bad blood simmers and old feuds resurface as Unnthor’s heirs make their moves on the old man’s treasure – until one morning Helga is awakened by screams. Blood has been shed: kin has been slain.
No one confesses, but all the clues point to one person – who cannot possibly be the murderer, at least in Helga’s eyes. But if she’s going to save the innocent from the axe and prevent more bloodshed, she’s got to solve the mystery – fast . . .
My review: Another day another book read in less than 24 hours. This is a really fast paced Viking murder mystery that kept me turning the pages right to the very end.
There are a lot of characters in the story and to start with I did have to keep going back and checking who was married to who but that seemed to settle down once the first murder kicked in. Having said that the author did manage to give each one their own personality certainly with the brothers and sisters in Unnthor’s brood. I hope the follow up will start to unravel who Helga is, where she came from and what happened to her family. There’s definitely a mystery there that needs solving.
I liked Helga, she was quite a well rounded character, intelligent and I liked the ways she tried to unravel the murders in the book. There’s little of my imagined Vikings here, it’s truly a crime story set in Viking times with everyone either too old now to go pillaging or engaged in farming and trading and I think that gave it a nice touch.
Overall I really enjoyed this and looking forward to the next one
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