There are a few authors writing in this time period and the quality and style varies significantly. So where does Michael Burr sit?
To be honest i have not 100% made up my mind, there are times when the book flows really well, and then it thumps up against a clunky great scene change, i think due to trying to cover too much in one book. This book had a trilogy in it easily, there was an entire volume just on the time with Yaroslav the wise.
I was also not 100% sold on the wise scraeling, he was a little too much Tyrion Lannister for me, and from thrall to confidant in too short a leap.
But all that aside the book is still very readable, plenty of fun, a nice mix of styles, so you get some of the blood and guts of Giles Kristian and some of the dark brooding of Robert Low, and some of the pace of Stewart Binns, which all blend to make a story that well worth buying.
Would i buy more from Michael Burr? Yes, i think that there is plenty more to come from this author, and if the publisher will give him room to stretch his tales out for a trilogy or a series, then it would lose the rush to move across time and space.
I recommend it
Product Description (from back of book)
In the dead of night, a band of Vikings ravage a lonely convent on the Brittany coast -and their fearsome leader makes a decision that will eventually lead to his downfall.
Ranulf de Lannion is fifteen years old. Crippled, deformed and abandoned by his family to the charity of the convent, he is seized by the Vikings during a midnight raid. Contemptuously nicknamed 'The Scraeling" by his captors, his future appears grim.
Harald Sigurdsson, or 'Hardrada' as he will come to be known, is the leader of the Viking band. A violent mercenary with designs on the throne of Norway, Hardrada abducts The Scraeling on a whim.
Ranulf grows into an invaluable asset, smoothing Hardrada's path over their thirty-five years together from mercenary to commander of the Varangian Guard, all the way to king of Norway.
But all is not as it seems in the heart of Ranulf de Lannion. Having sworn secret revenge upon Hardrada for the murders at the convent, he vows to end the day of the Viking forever. When the king of Norway launches an attack against the Anglo-Saxon throne of England in 1066, what role will The Scraeling play in bringing the age of the Viking to an end?