Éire’s Captive Moon, the first book of the Éire’s Viking Trilogy, brings you to the unsettled era of the early Viking raids along the coast of Éire – today’s Ireland. A wounded refugee from the violent Viking raids on Éire’s coast is healed so well by Charis of Ragor that Agnarr captures the moon-pale woman for his own and takes her home to Nordweg to be his slave. Also captured is Cowan, a warrior gifted with languages. He is drawn to the healer of Ragor and finds himself helpless before her. In more ways than one! Through the winter, Charis plans a fitting vengeance upon her captor for the men he killed. She also prepares to return to Éire and the children she left behind. But will her changing feelings interfere with these plans? When two men vie for her heart, will she give way before either – or both?
This book is a re-edit of the previously published novel Captive Irish Moon. When the new novel was offered as an ARC, I jumped at the chance.
Eire's Captive Moon tells the story of Charis, a healer, and her struggles after being captured by marauding Vikings and taken by Agnarr as his leman/slave.
The book starts out with Charis' father running from someone and having to abandon her near an Irish village for her safety. Charis grows up and learns the healing craft, though this part is skipped over and insinuated.
When we meet her again, she's married to Devin and Devlin, twin warriors, and living in a small village near a monastery. From the start, it's clear that the author has done her homework, as life in the 9th century in Ireland is described in accurate detail, including the distrust of a monk who calls her a witch.
When Vikings land on the shores to invade the monastery and steal its riches, they also happen upon Charis' village. The ensuing fight is well described, and Charis is forced to leave with the Vikings. One of her captors, Agnarr, is impressed with her healing skills and decides to keep her for himself. Charis vows revenge since he's also the one who has killed both of her husbands. She knows she has to bide her time but killing Agnarr is never far from her mind.
Sandi Layne describes in rich detail the life and customs of the people of Nordweg (Norway); her beautiful prose only serves to draw the reader more into the story.
Her cast of characters is captivating: Charis with her moonbeam hair, Cowan the Kingson, who is also taken as a slave, Agnarr, who despite his pillaging and raping is likable and relatable, and Tuirgeis with his shrewd thoughts and observations. They become alive in the pages of this book and it is to the author's credit that she's able to create such a rich cast. Even the not so likable characters, such as Magda and her slave, enrich the plot immensely.
And throughout, the author returns to specific themes: perseverance, forgiveness and determination. I was on occasion torn between admiring Charis' for her unforgiving stance and wanting to rattle her for being so single-minded that she didn't see the forest for the trees.
And I want to commend the author for the extensive research that went into this book, not only the historical facts but also herbology, mythology and excellent character development.
If you like historically sound novels with a little romance, this book is for you. Give it a try.
I received a free ARC directly from the publisher. A positive review was not promised in return.
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