I hated to give my favorite author four stars instead of five, but this story IMO was not like the others in that excellent respect. It was still great, but not excellent. What I mean by that is this.
It was two stories rolled into one book, told back and forth every few chapters she would switch. So in all, it was some 357 pages and each story got more of a 'short story' treatment. Each was about 178 pages or so. In all, it didn't seem like enough time to tell the stories of two Viking characters that belong in this long series.
These twins were introduced mainly in "The Blue Viking" and were fun and interesting, in their own stories, the only one I found interesting was Vagn. Toste was a little cold and aloof. For twins who would die for one another and felt each others pain and sadness, Vagn seemed the only one who was willing to try and find his brother and mourned his supposed death the entire book. Toste seemed more interested in sleeping with the nun who saved his life, lol.
Again, this is all my humble opinion. I almost wish Ms. Hill would've left them as secondary characters. This is the 7th book in this series and the series is still going strong with this entry being the least interesting. The great part? Playing catch-up to all the former main characters from previous books. The only missing ones were Rurik and Meg from "The Blue Viking," the 5th book.
Told each other was dead on the mangled and bloody battlefield, identical Viking twins Toste and Vagn each are saved separately and are in two different places and go on two completely opposite journeys to get home. Problem? They sense one another still, even though they are told the other is dead. Deep down they both must find out the truth before they can really live.
Toste is saved by a nun who seems to be in trouble with her father and brothers. He is so taken with her, he vows to help her no matter what it takes. The 'nun' isn't really a 'nun' in the sense, she has been at the Abby for nearly 15 years now and hasn't taken her vows. Her dilemma is that she tends to swear, break the commandments on occasion and has a desire for tall and gorgeous Vikings. So trying to dodge someone trying to kill her for her land and accepting help from said Viking, Esme is in trouble...
Vagn is taken in by Gorm, a powerful Viking who wants him to marry his daughter...Helga the Homely. Vagn is horrified. He is being held nearly prisoner unless he agrees. His problem? Helga is no longer 'homely.' She is tall and gorgeous. But a little on the independant side and thinks he is his big mouth brother who teased her as a child. Vagn is further perplexed when Helga tries to seduce him but wants no marriage, can he keep his wits?
Like I said, both great tales, but one was a little more interesting than the other. Vagn was a lot more warm and charming IMO and seemed to miss Toste a great deal. Helga was more fun to read with her insane schemes to seduce him. They had such passion and sympathy for one another, it was hard to miss, these two deserved an entire book to themselves.