Publication Date: September 1, 2013
Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, AudioBook
Series: Kindred of the Sea, Book #1
Genre: Fiction/Historical/VikingsFrance, 799 A.D. The Northmen sacked the monastery at dawn, before anyone had awakened. They burned the village and slaughtered all who stood in their path. The relics of Saint Philbert were lost, and the island was abandoned by those who once dwelled there. Years later, the monk Abriel - survivor of the same attack as a young boy - is sent to recover the relics to help restore the reputation and legitimacy of Saint Philbert. What he discovers on his journey changes his life forever. Northmen had colonized the island in the absence of the monks. They hold the key to finding the relics, but they have greater plans for Abriel, plans that will take him to the North to find his destiny.
"Adrien's novel is a well thought out, deeply researched narrative that marries history with young adult fiction. In a time where females are popular among the young adult sector, this male focused novel is a welcome reprieve and appeals to a need for an action packed novel." - Portland Book Review
"A well-written tale with vividly imagined characters." - Trevor Schmidt, author of The Corsair Uprising series.
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
eBook & Paperback
Series: Kindred of the Sea, Book #2
Genre: Fiction/Historical/VikingsCoast of Brittany, 822 A.D. King Abriel Haraldsson is a man on the run. Injured in combat, his warriors take him to a nearby monastery to find a healer. The monks accept to care for him, but fake his death and steal him away to a distant island to be reconverted to their faith. Believing the king of Herius to be dead, suitors from the north descend upon the island kingdom with the intent to marry Queen Kenna to usurp her husband's lands and wealth. Most terrifying among them is the fierce warlord Turgeis -- known for his prowess in battle and lust for blood -- who sets his sights upon the queen. When a messenger from afar returns with news that Abriel survived his injuries, Turgeis sets sail to ensure the king will never return. Thus began the hunt.
***My Personal Review***
I have not read the first book in this series, and this was easily read as a stand-alone novel. I was very impressed with the amount of research the author put into the Vikings and early Christians. The basic premise of this book is that young Abriel has to go on the run and hide after his family is either slaughtered or taken captive during a war. He ends up finding a safe place with some monks and this was a part I really liked because when one thinks of monks they can think boring ... but honestly these monks are not boring - some are nice, some are okay, and quite a few are actually not good at all. Hillbod is the worst of them from my POV, as he is the leader and he tells everyone what to do and he is always described as having a "smirk" or mocking someone. Ultimately Abriel finds a friend in a monk named Gael, who is the only other one besides him that can read and write in different languages. When Abriel is told that Hillbod has requested a "mission" to retrieve relics and the "winner" will be heftily rewarded, Abriel decides that it is time to go. It is clear that he wants to be the one to find them, possibly hoping that he will at long last be reunited with his family and clan. Gael is a likable character for me, he is kind of funny - always sneaking food and getting in trouble for it, but he seems to take it with a good temperament. He really stood out to me as a cool character from the beginning.
Unfortunately for Abriel, his past haunts him in many ways - he has nightmares all the time, and when he is awake any form of violence sets off his bad memories. From the very start I empathized greatly with Abriel and immediately began to hope that he would eventually overcome, find the relics and of course be reunited with his mother. It is not totally clear in the battle scenes whether his mother and uncle are still alive, I believe that Abriel thinks they may have died as he escaped, but in the end I felt we were going to see a reunion. Of course I am not going to give away that secret! This book had everything I would expect from a Viking story - battles, savages, ships and loss. I really loved the way the author was able to create a time and place as a background for the story. Perhaps my favorite part was when Abriel came up against the Northmen, the savages who they were fighting in the beginning. He watched them harm his family and people and now has to face them again to find the relics. This is where Abriel shows his bravery, he is afraid to go back into the lion's den so to speak, but he knows what he must do. His courage is what keeps him going. But the time when he is on the Northmen's ship and the author uses descriptions to tell us what Abriel is seeing, hearing, smelling - and I could see and smell it in my mind - the putrid odors of a ship in those days, the smell of dirty men at sea ... it's all there.
Overall I truly enjoyed reading this book and now I would like to read the first one to see how it all began. I felt the characters were complex yet also human so we can relate to them even if they are Vikings. Now I am a huge fan of the show Vikings on tv and I love historical fiction of all kinds, but Vikings somehow fascinate me to no end. And perhaps what I liked best about this book was that while reading it of course I knew they were Vikings and very early monks, but I also felt like it could be a contemporary story about any war. It was nice to read about monks a little bit, I have not really researched them as much, but it was clear that the author did - whether or not their temperaments are truly like the monks in the book I don't know. It was interesting to read though. Highly recommend this book, even if you haven't read the first one :) I was very pleased with it. And although it is written as an adult book, I found that it would probably be okay for a young adult as there really was not bad language and although there were the battle scenes, they were not as graphic as one might expect from a Viking novel. Definitely would make a great teaching book as well. That is what I love about historical fiction - you learn about times, places and in some cases characters that were real, but the author spins a great story around them, making you crave more information and the true biographical stories.
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