(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)
Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of Sandi Layne’s Éire’s Viking Trilogy, brings you to the unsettled era of the early Viking raids along the coast of Éire – today’s Ireland.
A wounded refugee from the violent Viking raids on Éire’s coast is healed so well by Charis of Ragor that Agnarr captures the moon-pale woman for his own and takes her home to Nordweg to be his slave.
Also captured is Cowan, a warrior gifted with languages. He is drawn to the healer of Ragor and finds himself helpless before her. In more ways than one!
Through the winter, Charis plans a fitting vengenance upon her captor for the men he killed. She also prepares to return to Éire and the children she left behind.
But will her changing feelings interfere with these plans? When two men vie for her heart, will she give way before either – or both?
[Full disclosure: I received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
When I requested this book I was sure it was going to be a captive-captor love story. Books like this usually are, after all. And that was fine for me; I need some guilty pleasure. However, I was pleasantly surprised to find that Sandi Layne put some excellent twists into what I thought was a dead horse trope.
Charis is a great character and even though I liked Cowan as well, she of course stole every scene she was in. She’s tough but vulnerable at the same time, especially when you see her love for her twin husbands. And even though she’s taken as a slave she retains some individuality and never gives up hope for an escape. I especially liked how, at the end, you still weren’t truly sure of what course of action she would take. The ending was very much in doubt, believe me.
I know very little about Vikings or the 9th century in general, but I can tell you what little I do know says that this book is pretty historically accurate. Would an authority on the matter say the same thing? I’m not sure. But for your average person’s purposes, there is more than enough history in here to keep you immersed in Charis’ world. It’s a harsh world where the strong kill the weak with frightening regularity, but Sandi Layne’s writing does make you feel like you’re immersed in that world.
The only criticism I have about the book is that we’re introduced to a lot of characters quite quickly and everyone calls them different names. For example as far as I can tell Cowan is called “Kingson” and “Geirmundr” later on in addition to his other name. This may not sound like much, but I would have liked for a little bit of a slower pace at some points in the book so I could keep up with this information. The voyage of Cowan and Charis as captives was very quickly described and I felt there was a different need for expansion because I was still trying to gain my bearings.
In short, Éire’s Captive Moon is a pretty good book. It’s not perfect and still needs a little bit of editing, but overall I enjoyed it.
I give this book 4/5 stars.