Linnea Hartsuyker follows up her totally winning debut The Half-Drowned King with another...historical novel set in medieval Norway. The Half-Drowned King concentrated on the story of Ragnar Eysteinsson, a fighting man and brother-in-arms to Norway's King Harald, and The Sea Queen continues his adventures as he takes more and more ambitious gambles Harald's service, despite the personal costs that have been exacted along the way ... The Sea Queen tells her story with rousing confidence and carefully-timed intervals of quiet sympathy, at once a...adventure story and a moving portrait of very complicated love. This is an even more accomplished novel than its predecessor and sets the reader keenly on edge for the next volume in the series.
The Sea Queenis Svanhild Eysteinsdotter, a strong-willed woman with a difficult path ahead. In ninth-century Norway, six years after the events in The Half-Drowned King, Svanhild, married to the raider Solvi, loves her seafaring life but knows her intellectual son’s needs must come first ... Through her multifaceted characters, Hartsuyker adeptly evokes female alliances, the complications of love and passion, and vengeance both terrible and triumphant as she effectively juggles many subplots and settings, from Norway’s harsh, picturesque coast to sulfurous Iceland and Dublin’s muddy harbor.
The Sea Queen is less focused on the characters’ inner lives and more on the complex web of incidents that tests their loyalties and shapes their destinies, but all three main characters, Svanhild particularly, are so...realized in their intelligence and emotional development that the descriptions of sea voyages, battles, and mead hall law-wrangling mesh seamlessly with the more personal stories ... This compelling story is enhanced by a wealth of detail about the daily lives of Norse men and women, whose ambition and entrepreneurship sent them all over the known world centuries before the rest of Europe began its age of exploration. This is historical fiction at its best and shouldn’t be missed.