by Sandra Hill

May 2004
ISBN: 0-8439-5158-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Leisure Books
Mass Market Paperback

Twin brothers Vagn and Toste Ivarsson witness each other`s death on the battlefield. They had gone a-Viking but something went wrong and their group was ambushed by the Saxons. As Toste lies on the battlefield, waiting for the Valkyries to claim him, he sees a group of rather large crows walking about amongst the dead bodies. The crows turn out to be nuns. He is taken to St. Anne`s Abbey, where his wounds are tended. He soon learns that his friend, Bolthor the skald, and his horse Clod are also alive.

Lady Esme is sent by Father Alaric to Stone Valley to rescue Viking survivors as part of her penance...penance is something that she is rather used to do as she finds it extremely hard to be good. Esme didn`t think that she would end up tending to such an infuriating man as Toste.

When Vagn becomes conscious, he finds herself tied up to a bed. Seems like Gorm, the Jarl of Briarstead, confused him with his brother Toste. Gorm wants him to marry his daughter Helga, also known as Helga the Homely thanks to one of Toste`s jests. Helga is now an independent woman handling her own business and is not interested in marriage, however, Gorm wants grandchildren. When Helga comes back from her latest business trip, she isn`t exactly happy at what her father has done, not to mention the fact that she realizes that Vagn is not Toste.

A Tale of Two Vikings is the latest Sandra Hill`s fun ride. This book is the seventh title of her first Vikings series. As the previous titles in the series, this book is a real page turner that keeps the reader smiling all along. Although not as laug-out-loud as some of her other titles, the plot is beautifully done, especially since it involves two separate parallel stories. The cast of characters is charming, not to mention the fact that we get to visit with some of the characters from previous books (Tykir, Eirik, Alinor, and Eadyth). I was quite impressed at how well-handled the dual plot storyline was, both are well-rounded and amusing in their own right. The antics of Helga trying to seduce Vagn and Esme trying to keep Toste from going away are delightfully funny. A Tale of Two Vikings is a must read for Sandra Hill`s Vikings lovers. The book can be read as a stand alone, although, as I mentioned before, there are recurrent characters from previous books. If you are looking for a lighthearted, quick paced read, you may want to pick this one. This book goes to my “keeper” shelf.

Reviewed in March 2004 by Mireya.

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