by Eric Schumacher
Publication Date: October 15, 2018
eBook; 279 Pages
Series: Hakon’s Saga, Book 3
Genre: Historical Fiction/Vikings
It is 954 A.D. and a tempest is brewing in the North. Twenty summers before, Hakon Haraldsson wrested Norwayís throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but he failed to rid himself of Erikís family. Now the sons of Erik have come to reclaim Erikís realm and avenge the wrong done to their father and their kin.
They do not come alone. With them marches an army of sword-Danes sent by the Danish King, Harald Bluetooth, whose desire to expand his realm is as powerful as the lust for vengeance that pulses in the veins of Erikís brood.
Like storm-driven waves, the opposing forces collide in War King, the action-packed sequel to Godís Hammer and Ravenís Feast.
Available at Amazon
Praise for the Hakon’s Saga
“I was swept up in the action and enthralled by the descriptions of Hakonís struggle.” -Roundtable Reviews
“I highly recommend this historical fiction novel, both for its entertaining story and historical information.” -Historical Fiction Review-
“A story of war, family, sacrifice, honor … one that keeps your blood pumping and your fingers turning pages rapidly. I can’t wait to dig into the next.” -Goodreads Review
Slowly, he slid from under the bearskin and sat on the edge of his bed. As he worked the stiffness from his muscles, he became aware of the sounds and smells of early morning: the faint scent of beeswax candles that had long since surrendered to the night air; the stale stench of the previous night’s feast; the snores of his hirdmen in the great hall; the fragrance of his mistress Gyda, who lay curled under the bearskin beside him.
He pulled on his clothes, then crept from the room, past his slumbering warriors, and out into the receding darkness. The night sentries mumbled a greeting to their lord as Hakon passed through the north gate of the palisade surrounding his hall and worked his way down a well-worn path to one of two burial mounds that sat like warts on the top of the nearby hill. No one knew for sure who was buried in the mounds, though the skalds liked to say they covered the remains of the first owner of the estate — a king named Augvald — and his son.
Winter had not yet released its purchase on the land, and the frost-covered grass glistened and crunched as Hakon climbed the mound and sat on its crest. He gazed out at the waking world with eyes that watered from the air’s chill. Below him, the waters of the bay quivered in the gentle breeze and lapped against the two warships tied to his dock. Beyond the bay, the Karmsund Strait stretched north and south toward the sea like a dark vein. And beyond the water, east, stretched the rolling hills and valleys and waterways of Rogaland, the fylke to which Hakon’s estate at Avaldsnes belonged. It was only a fraction of the realm he controlled — a realm that now reached from the snow-mantled fylke of Halogaland far to the north, to the rocky tip of Agder in the south, to the forested border of the Uplands far to the east. All of it was under his control or the control of his oath-sworn jarls, and most of those were his kin.
He rewarded the jarls richly for their fealty and in exchange, they fought vigorously to keep peace in the realm. But peace was never constant so long as men sought fame and silver and land. It mattered not that Hakon had restored trust in the laws that his brother Erik had spurned or that, in recent years, he had built a system for coastal defenses to protect his people. Raiders still came to his shores. Men still stole and murdered each other. And feuds raged on. It was the way of things, he knew. Yet the strife left in its wake an older king with streaks of gray in his sandy hair, scars on his body, and lines of worry etched on his face.
Time brought with it more than just physical strife. It brought hard memories of people and places that cut just as deeply as any blade. Memories such as Hakon’s childhood love, Aelfwin, who long ago had sacrificed herself for the sake of Hakon’s army. Memories of his long dead foster-father, King Athelstan, who had raised him as a Christian in Engla-lond and was the first to plant the seeds of kingship and legacy in Hakon’s youthful mind. Memories of his kinsman and counselor, Jarl Tore the Silent, with his damaged throat and his big heart that had just stopped beating in his chest not one moon before. A man whose life he would soon celebrate on the northern island of Frei. Memories of his half-brother Erik, with his wild orange curls and mighty axe and brood of sons — sons who even now terrorized the Northern seas, gaining wealth and power and men, and who would eventually bring their death to Hakon’s realm in full force. Hakon wiped the sleep from his face with a calloused hand and the memories vanished.
A tempest was brewing. Hakon could feel it in his bones, and in his gut, and in the ravens that landed each morning for the past month on the burial mounds where he now sat. Ravens were the messengers of Odin, who brought the news of the world to the Alfather’s ears. Though Hakon clung to a different faith, he had lived long enough to know that the earth held its own secrets and that something was amiss — something beyond his control. Something greater than winter’s thaw and spring’s bloom. The elders, who for decades had held the North in balance, were dying; the young and the brash were gaining strength. Old. Young. Order. Chaos. Like storm-driven currents, the opposing forces were colliding, and when they did, Hakon would have no choice but to face the tempest and resist.
Eric Schumacher was born in Los Angeles in 1968 and currently resides in Santa Barbara, CA with his wife, two children and dog. He is the author of two historical fiction novels, Godís Hammer and its sequel, Ravenís Feast. Both tell the story of the first Christian king of Viking Norway, Hakon Haraldsson, and his struggles to gain and hold the High Seat of his realm.
Blog Tour Schedule
Monday, October 15
Review at Pursuing Stacie
Tuesday, October 16
Feature at Historical Fiction with Spirit
Wednesday, October 17
Excerpt at Passages to the Past
Friday, October 19
Interview at Dianne Ascroft’s Blog
Monday, October 22
Guest Post at Passages to the Past
Wednesday, October 24
Excerpt at Tea Book Blanket
Thursday, October 25
Interview at Maiden of the Pages
Monday, October 29
Review at Hoover Book Reviews
Wednesday, October 31
Feature at CelticLady’s Reviews
Friday, November 2
Feature at Donna’s Book Blog
Tuesday, November 6
Review at The Coffee Pot Book Club
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