When the Northmen came to the Green Island, they sought first to profit by, then to change the people and the land.
Instead, they were changed by them.
This trilogy illustrates one way in which these changes happened.
You will also get to meet Tuirgeis, who was the first Viking High King of Éire.
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.
Red-striped sails make their first appearance on the shores near the village of Ragor and the peaceful life of the villagers is obliterated in one deadly raid. Agnarr Halvardson and his overlord, Tuirgeis, have come to Éire for treasure, honor, and slaves.
After slaying her husbands, Agnarr claims Charis, the healer of the village, as his personal medicine woman – and sex slave.
Cowan, a local prince, is captured by Tuirgeis to serve as translator for trading journeys. Leaving the smoking ruins of Ragor and Bangor Monastery behind them – as well as the children Charis had carefully hidden from the Northmen – the invaders sail away.
The winter brings many trials. An invasion from another village’s warriors throws Cowan and Charis together more intimately than she is prepared to handle equitably. Her own feelings are growing uncertain, though she reminds herself that she has to return to Éire and the children she left there. As winter passes in Nordweg, Charis plans vengeance upon Agnarr even as she learns to see him differently. Beset by accusations of witchcraft, hounded by Agnarr’s betrothed and her slave – a refugee Charis herself healed more than a year before – and having to adapt to the strange language and customs among the people around her, Charis still makes her plans. Will she be able to put aside her feelings and escape when spring returns?
Beginning ten years after the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, Éire’s Viking is the story of how Agnarr Halvardson returns to Éire with the intention of settling there, marrying, and siring sons.
It is also the story of Aislinn, who was a child in Ragor when the Northmen raided eleven summers prior but is now a working physician in her own right. She spent a year in Bangor Monastery and became a Christian before Cowan and Charis returned to take the children to Cowan’s village in the kingdom of Dál Fiatach and returns there a decade later to finish learning all she can from the monks about their healing practices.
When Cowan brings her a patient, injured and temporarily unable to speak, she can’t help but find the strong, tall man attractive, even if such feelings unsettle her. Although sparks fly immediately, Agnarr’s idea of wedding Aislinn-the physician who heals him when he is injured-is hampered by many factors, including language and cultural differences.
That he makes his interest in her clear doesn’t help, as he goes so far as to seek her father’s permission to wed her. Can she forgive him for what he did to her village? Can she love him if she does? And will she be willing to accept a life at Agnarr’s side even if he does not love her?
Meanwhile, other raiders from the North come to Éire’s green coasts. Pledging his loyalty to the new king, Muiredach of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home.
A man of ability and ambition—Éire’s Devil King, Tuirgeis Erlingrson—has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife in Nordweg, he takes his surviving son to Éire. Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.
After initial disastrous attempts to achieve his ambition, Tuirgeis comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals. Tuirgeis finds himself at odds with the very people he had hoped would reinforce him. In addition, he wants to establish his father-line. He has one son; he wants another to be born of Éire. Will the woman of his choice accept and support him?
At length, Agnarr and Aislinn—though she is heavy with child—sail with Cowan and Charis to join Tuirgeis as he battles over one final summer to attain the High Kingship of the island.
Tuirgeis knows he doesn’t have long to make his claims; the Danes are coming in greater numbers than before. As he wins men of Éire to his cause, he has to maintain the relationships he has already fostered with Agnarr and Cowan. Charis finds that her Otherworldly gifts are needed by a man she considers her enemy.
Éire’s Captive Moon was a book I could not put down.
Full of action, adventure, history, detail, information, conflict, emotion, all the good stuff, and Sandi Layne handled it all with appreciated skill so as not to overwhelm or bombard. It’s a fabulous look into a time period and relationships that you don’t see or read about all that often…
…Sandi Layne’s writing is deliciously descriptive without being overly purple. Her obviously well-researched prose draws you back in time, offering a glimpse into what life was like in the time of the Vikings.
Charis in particular stands out to me but all of the characters were very well developed; there’s a character for everyone here.