In the 9th century Wulfgar Bloodaxe, the illegitimate son of Ragnar, legendary king of the Northland, aspires to improve his bastard's lot. In pursuit of that end, he decides to take Princess Rhowenna of Usk hostage to exact a ransom from her betrothed, Prince Cerdic. Wulfgar, who has sworn fealty to Olaf the Sea Bull, convinces him to raid Usk; after Olaf dies in battle, Wulfgar claims Olaf's ship and homestead for his own. But Ivar, Ragnar's eldest and favorite son, wants Rhowenna and the ransom for himself. Wulfgar protects Rhowenna by having her switch identities with her servant (who conveniently resembles her). This also enables Wulfgar to claim Rhowenna ``the servant'' as his woman, offering him liberties he wouldn't have with Rhowenna ``the princess.'' Of course, Wulfgar is more sensitive than the average warrior, since he was an outcast, so instead of raping Rhowenna, he seduces her. But their bliss is interrupted by the appearance of Ivar and Ragnar. Brandewyne ( Desperado ) infuses the standard plot with shocking details, such as Ivar's peeling the skin off a man's back and breaking his ribs away one by one. Doubleday Book Club featured alternate. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 04/04/1994 Release date: 04/01/1994 Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 566 pages - 978-0-7862-0132-7
Hardcover - 978-0-7278-4758-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-505-52420-1
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