Wolf Sea by Robert Low

The Wolf Sea by Robert Low was the recommended book for my book group.  I was at a bit of a disadvantage as this is the second book in the author’s “Oathsworn” series. In this second novel, the story centres on the eastern Mediterranean.

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This novel takes the survivors of a Viking band from the streets of the medieval world’s greatest city to those of its holiest city.  The group is united by an oath to Odin.

Some early adventures take place on the sea and islands, however, the Vikings  are soon in that other “sea” where wolves roam, the dry-lands of the Near East.

The narrator is Orm who is now the leader of the troop. A precious relic that holds the key to finding a great treasure trove has been lost and his pursuit of it brings his group into a new wave of bloody fights against Arabs and against Norse rivals. The pursuit is complicated by the desire to rescue some of their men.  They had been captured and sold into slavery.

I appreciate that Wolf Sea offers rich descriptions of the tenth century as viewed through the mind of the narrator.  The novel is beautifully researched and ably written.  However, this type of book is not really for me.

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It is tale of fierce hand-to-hand fights which show no mercy and there are few checks on human savagery.  It seemed that the most common kindness came when a man used his sword to kill a mortally wounded friend quickly.

Notwithstanding all the exotic locations and culture-clashes, the novel’s core is the same as that of all great war stories: the deep bond between men who stand together in the face of their enemy.

If you enjoy a good war story with a historical backdrop, I highly recommend this book.

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