An exhilarating Viking saga filled with the rich history, romantic adventure and political intrigue that have made Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander, George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, as well as Phillippa Gregory’s historical fiction and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology popular bestsellers.
Six years after The Half-Drowned King, Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fighting battles for King Harald keeps him away from home, as he confronts treachery and navigates a political landscape that grows more dangerous the higher he rises.
Ragnvald’s sister Svanhild has found the freedom and adventure she craves at the side of the rebel explorer Solvi Hunthiofsson, though not without a cost. She longs for a home where her quiet son can grow strong, and a place where she can put down roots, even as Solvi’s ambition draws him back to Norway’s battles again and keeps her divided from her brother.
As a growing rebellion unites King Harald’s enemies, Ragnvald suspects that some Norse nobles are not loyal to Harald’s dream of a unified Norway. He sets a plan in motion to defeat all of his enemies, and bring his sister back to his side, while Svanhild finds herself with no easy decisions, and no choices that will leave her truly free. Their actions will hold irrevocable repercussions for the fates of those they love and for Norway itself.
The Sea Queen returns to the fjords and halls of Viking-Age Scandinavia, a world of violence and prophecy, where honor is challenged by shifting alliances, and vengeance is always a threat to peace.
Hartsuyker's second volume in her trilogy (after The Half-Drowned King) continues the saga of Ragnvald Eysteinsson, set in ninth-century Norway, a turbulent period of bloody unrest. Ragnvald is one of Norway's collection of minor kings. He is loyal to King Harald, who owns the most land and wants to unite all Norway under his rule, but the rivalries of rebellious petty kings and the threat of Swedish invasion could mean all-out war, and he needs Ragnvald's help. Their greatest enemies are Solvi and King Hakon; their greatest ally is Svanhild the Sea Queen, Ragnvald's sister and Solvi's estranged wife. Amid Norway's shifting warlord loyalties, Ragnvald and Harald are cruel manipulators, but Svanhild proves that Norse women can be just as vicious and cunning as Norse men. Blood oaths, feuds, insults to honor, betrayals, and greed fuel the story's instances of torture and murder, and the Norsemen are merciless in punishment. Though overlong, this is an ambitious tale of Norwegian medieval warfare told in richly colorful and accurate historical detail. Hartsuyker's novel reveals just how tenuous life is when disputes are settled with sword and battle-axe.