Reviewed by David Maclaine
In Dragons from the
Sea, second in the Strongbow Saga,
young Halfdan Hroriksson must once again rely upon the skills at woodcraft and
especially archery that helped him survive a deadly pursuit in Viking Warrior. Sworn to vengeance against
the treacherous raiders who slew his half brother and a host of innocent
victims, Halfdan sets out to join a band of warriors. Readers familiar with the
tales of Robin Hood will delight in the feats of marksmanship that earn this
raw youth his place in a crew of experienced Vikings.
Led by a warrior named Hastein, the Vikings are gathering for a two-pronged attack on the Frankish kingdoms. The western prong of the attack is led by one of the most famous Viking leaders of all time: Ragnar Lodbrok. Fans of the recent History Channel series Vikings will recognize him, and fans of saga literature will know the legends woven around his name. Roberts offers a believable story about how the aging Ragnar's sons Bjorn Ironside and Ivar the Boneless got their nicknames. Bjorn and Ivar will play major roles in the series of crises Halfdan must face when the Vikings reach the river Seine and strive to capture an important city.
Although Dragons from the Sea is written for younger readers, adults of any age who enjoy a rousing adventure story will also appreciate Roberts' storytelling prowess and command of historical detail. This first great raid on the western Frankish kingdom was a turning point in history. It's hard to imagine a better introduction to those crucial events than the absorbing Strongbow Saga series. (2007, 352 pages. Recommended for ages 14 and up.)More about Dragons from the Sea at Powell's Books or Amazon.com