SIDROC THE DANE by Octavia Randolph narrated by Nano Nagle

At first glance, this volume did not impress as it seemed to be about young (and very young) men having a whale of a time (pun intended) sailing on stormy seas and then raping & pillaging their way across Anglia or Angle-land, which is, of course, today’s UK.

However, when I went back to it, I saw its depths: an emotional tale about the life of a Viking boy who grows up dirt poor on Jutland (today’s Denmark), loses his father at an early age, is mistreated by his stepmother, rescued by his uncle (Yrling) and finally grows to manhood with a dangerously jealous cousin (Toki.)

The best part of the book, IMHO, was towards the end when Cerdiwen appeared. It was so enjoyable to see her and Aelfwin through the eyes of Sidroc, and to experience first hand what he thought of her when they first met. (Spoiler Alert: I hadn’t realized he wanted to marry her right away.)

So, if you are put off by the roughness and horror of life with men on the prowl, you might consider skipping to the end. Four stars.

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