The Half-drowned King

The Half-drowned King

A Novel

Book - 2017 | First edition.
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"The first installment in a debut trilogy, The half-drowned king tells the compelling story of the political intrigues, battles, and struggles for power that led to the rise of King Harald the Fair-Haired, first king of Norway, seen through the eyes of the young man who became his most trusted warrior and advisor. Conjuring a bloodthirsty, superstitious, and thrilling ancient world (9th century), this debut novel is for fans of Game of Thrones, the Vikings TV series, and Outlander"--Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : Harper, [2017]
Edition: First edition.
Copyright Date: ©2017
ISBN: 9780062563699
0062563696
Branch Call Number: HAR
Characteristics: 431 pages :,map

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lindseyanderson
Jan 20, 2018

This is an undeniable achievement in historical fiction. Hartsuyker really knows her stuff and you can tell this was a labor of love for her. I was completely transported to Viking Age Norway.

I especially liked the way she incorporated their beliefs - in the gods, in magic - in a way that never feels like fantasy or even magical realism. You're in their heads, you simply accept that the undead walk among us, that frost giants and witches are real threats.

I made the mistake of accidentally returning my audiobook to the library before it was due and switching to print may have affected my overall enjoyment of the book. It's excellent on audio because of all the Scandinavian names and places (there are a lot of them, Hartsuyker even provides a list in the back matter).

As the story progressed, I grew more interested in Svanhild than Ragnvald. His scenes were surprisingly heavy on dialogue and it made the plot drag. It took me over a month to finish the book, and that's a long time for me.

Having said that, I'm still interested in continuing the series. Without spoiling the ending, I'm keen on seeing particular characters reunite.

b
billmorrissey5922
Oct 31, 2017

excellent book...promises to be part of a series from this talented writer. lovers of saga literature and adventure tales are certain to enjoy this book. highly recommend reading, "The Half-Drowned King", it is everything that a book of historical fiction can provide! 10 out of 10.

Megan_PNW Sep 13, 2017

This historical fiction has a lot to recommend it. Great characters, a gripping story, and a hint of the kind of ancient political intrigue that makes readers love Game of Thrones without dragging the reader as far afield as Martin does. With three strong likable main characters who each get chapters from their own perspective, the narrative still flows and moves easily never leaving the thread of any one for too long. Like a myth of old, we cheer for our heroes (one a woman of stronger mind than her time) who clash together time and again. No character is perfect for the reader, but all sympathetic in their own way. This careful balance gives the book just the right amount of hope and danger, and realistic frustration that reminds the reader that in history, the heroes did not always have the perfectly orchestrated happily ever after and that every choice has a price.

Although the book has no supernatural elements it will appeal to readers of epic fantasy and gamers who miss the landscape of Skyrim with its barrows and kingdoms.

Go read it.

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