Reviewed by David Maclaine
In The Road to Vengeance, third in the Strongbow Saga, its teenaged Viking hero Halfdan earns his nickname of Strongbow. Although his skill with the longbow helps turn the tide of a fiercely fought battle, Halfdan faces challenges of a very different sort when dealing with the hostage he captured in the previous novel, a novice named Genevieve. The daughter of the Frankish Count Robert the Strong, she is destined for the convent. The affection that slowly grows between Halfdan and Genevieve is bittersweet because of the obstacles preventing a future between them, while Halfdan's chosen profession and vow of vengeance leads him to battle after battle. Much to his surprise, Halfdan, a slave less that a year before, finds himself recommending a daring plan to revive the Vikings' stalled campaign with a daring attack on Paris.
As in the previous novels The Road to Vengeance offers skillfully crafted action and a convincing recreation of the era when Danish Vikings first became a serious threat to the great kingdoms of Christendom. Although Halfdan finally gets the chance to prove he can measure up as a warrior without his mighty bow, the Strongbow Saga is aptly named. It's a welcome addition to the best of the tales that make archers into heroes: the Robin Hood adventures, Costain's The Black Rose, and Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest Series and Agincourt. In this book Halfdan takes some important steps on his long road to vengeance, but he is still far from the end. Readers can look forward to following his further journeys across the land and seascapes of ninth-century Europe. (2008, 352 pages. Recommended for ages 14 and up.)More about The Road to Vengeance at Powell's Books or Amazon.com