Thursday, January 17, 2013

Éire’s Captive Moon by Sandi Layne

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. Cowan, a Christian, is captivated by the pale, widowed herbalist, and finds himself in love with her by the time they reach Nordweg, where they will spend the winter. He is compelled to leave her, however, to serve his master. 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? Captivating.

Éire’s Captive Moon is a novel of ancient Ireland during Viking raids. The novel is an intriguing read delving into myths that have been part of Irish culture for centuries. At the heart of the story is a romance between two healers, Achan and Charis. Tragedy, revenge, and survival are strong themes throughout this engaging story.

Compelling, three-dimensional characters who are interesting, imperfect, and very intriguing make the story pop and grab the reader’s interest as they each journey through their own adversities towards their ultimate destinies. The amount of research that went into this novel is also commendable. The romance is well drawn out without overshadowing the story. A blend of romance, fantasy, and historical fiction, make this a novel that will appeal to lovers of all three genres.

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