by Kathryn Hockett

June 2002
ISBN: 0-821-77258-9
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

It's Gwyneth's wedding day. She is the daughter of an English Lord, and she lives in Wessex in 858 A.D. In the middle of her wedding ceremony, Vikings attack. They scatter the guests and Gwyneth tries to flee. One Viking catches her and drags her into an empty room. He rips her bodice, and then stops and stares. Around her neck Gwyneth wears a pendant that was given to her when she was a child. It was given to her by a captured slave – a Viking boy - whom she set free.

Selig, who had vowed revenge against the English Lord who'd imprisoned him as a child, comes to England bent on mayhem. But when he grabs a lovely young woman, he finds the girl who set him free so many years before. She still wears his pendant around her neck.

He tells her to hide and in his turn, sets her free. Of course, Gwyneth doesn't listen, and instead goes looking for her family. She finds her young brother hiding in a well, and he tells her that her fiancé was seen talking to the Viking warrior. Treachery! He was planning on marrying her to get her father's lands. He was counting on the Vikings to massacre everyone, but Selig tells his men to leave. Disgruntled, the Viking warriors leave. But one sees Gwyneth and steals her for his own.

Selig finds out and saves her from her captive, but by now they are at sea, and she must reconcile herself to the idea of becoming a Viking woman.

This was a terrible book, with wooden writing and improbable dialogues. At one point Gwyneth cries "I'm surrounded by enemies…!" Well, of course she is. She's on a Viking boat. She decides to jump overboard. If only Selig hadn't saved her the last minute, then I wouldn't have had to wade through the rest of the book. First she gets to the settlement, finds her new home (a hovel) and puts her bearskin on the floor to sleep. Otherwise, the place has no windows and just a cooking pot in the center of the room, with a hole in the roof to let the smoke out.

She runs away that night (though she has no idea of where she is) and is soon caught. So the story goes on. The writing, as I said before, is wooden and the descriptions leave no impression. I kept trying to get a feel for the time or the place, or even grow attached to a character, but I couldn't. I was very disappointed with Conqueror. If you like Vikings, romance and adventure, find another book.

Reviewed in September 2002 by Jennifer.

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