cover image Swords of Good Men

Swords of Good Men

Snorri Kristjansson. Quercus/Jo Fletcher, $24.95 (304p) ISBN 978-1-62365-074-2

Kristjansson, a British author of Icelandic origin, makes his debut with this rousing Viking-themed historical fantasy, the first in a trilogy set in 996 C.E. Swedes Ulfar and Geiri arrive in the Norwegian town of Stenvik, hoping to establish cordial international relations. Instead, they get swept up in a series of events culminating in full-scale war. King Olav Tryggvason is determined to unite Norway in the name of the White Christ, even if that means executing every last Odin worshipper, and his army is headed right for Stenvik. Another force representing the old gods stands ready to do battle, with appropriately bloody results. Kristjansson’s sprawling cast of colorful characters and eye for historical detail lend this story gratifying verisimilitude, but the frequent head-hopping and perspective changes give the narrative a disjointed, unfocused feel, and fantasy fans may be disappointed by the minimal supernatural elements. Agent: Geraldine Cooke, Geraldine Cooke Agency. (Jan.)