Eire’s Viking Trilogy, Book Two
By: Sandi Layne
Beginning ten years after the end of Éire’s Captive Moon, this is the story of how Agnarr Halvardson returns to Éire with the intention of settling there, marrying, and siring sons.
It is also the story of Aislinn, who was a child in Ragor when the Northmen raided eleven summers prior but is now a working physician in her own right. She spent a year in Bangor Monastery and became a Christian before Cowan and Charis returned to take the children to Cowan’s village in the kingdom of Dál Fiatach and returns there a decade later to finish learning all she can from the monks about their healing practices.
When Cowan brings her a patient, injured and temporarily unable to speak, she can’t help but find the strong, tall man attractive, even if such feelings unsettle her.
Although sparks fly immediately, Agnarr’s idea of wedding Aislinn—the physician who heals him when he is injured—is hampered by many factors, including language and cultural differences. There is also the matter that he is the man who kidnapped and enslaved Charis years before.
Believing strongly that God gave Agnarr to her as a patient, though, Aislinn does her best. Her knowledge of who he is wars with her unwilling attraction to him. That he makes his interest in her clear doesn’t help, as he goes so far as to seek her father’s permission to wed her. Can she forgive him for what he did to her village? Can she love him if she does? And will she be willing to accept a life at Agnarr’s side even if he does not love her?
Meanwhile, other raiders from the North come to Éire’s green coasts. Pledging his loyalty to the new king, Muiredach of Dál Fiatach, Agnarr prepares to defend his new home.
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Meet Sandi Layne
I was born in Southern California in the 1960′s – yes, I’m a California Girl! Though I have lived in Arizona and Florida and now reside in Maryland, I still carry my linguistic roots and occasionally drag out my inner Valley Girl. With a bit of “y’all” and “hon” additions for good measure.
Married for more than twenty years to an amazing guy, I have two sons. My elder is officially an adult and my younger is eleven. I have one degree in English and one in Ministry, and I claim Theology’s crimson Master’s collar, too. My employment has spanned a vast spectrum, but now I prefer to work at home.
I spend my days writing books and short stories, and even some fanfiction from time to time, deriving inspiration from Pride and Prejudice, True Grit and The Last of the Mohicans. If I’m not writing, I’m probably editing something or catching up with my favorite shows on Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Reading is a given. I think I’m on my third Kindle, now, and I still have hundreds of paperbacks and numerous bookshelves.
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He gripped her wrist, surrounding it entirely in his palm while he stared at her. His jaw worked but no sounds came out, save a frustrated grunt.
Concern cooled the blood rushing to her cheeks and she tried to cover her embarrassment by sniffing and pulling his head down to check his bandaging. Both hands bracketing his head, she puffed out a breath and found the edges of the linen. Before she could untuck the closing end of the fabric, though, she felt his eyes on her and swallowed.
The bright blue of his gaze was suddenly hot. Hot and filled with something that made her stomach flutter as if occupied by a tiny bird. She felt drawn into his eyes, frozen as his hands came up her arms, the fingertips resting just under the short sleeve of her léine. Her own fingertips trembled against his bandaging and his expression shifted in a way she couldn’t define, exactly. Blushing, she decided to pretend that she wouldn’t be thinking about that look all day and shook her head to make the idle idea go away.
Full Chapter One Here
Éire’s Viking Tour
With my thanks to Natalie Pryor
When I first began to research Vikings in preparation for writing the first book of this series, I had several erroneous preconceptions. I’m not even talking horned helmets or the Sutton Hoo and how it has skewed certain scholarly roads as they investigate Viking culture.
I’m talking about some very basic underpinnings of the Norse society that I was spending time with. A society that was extant about twelve hundred years ago.
I chose, due to reading the little-known name of “Tuirgeis” (pronounced TOOr gayce), to have my Vikings come from Norway in the earliest raiding era that went to Ireland. This meant that I had to set my Vikings in the early 9th century, which gave me a lot of necessary boundaries with which to frame my research for them. Much of what people know (or think they know) of Vikings comes from the old sagas and many of them were not written for hundreds of years after the men I write of had lived and died.
Foremost, I found, was that the men of Norway (Nordweg) did not call themselves Vikings during the era of my trilogy. They considered themselves to be Ostmen. The term “vikingr” was given to them by Western Europeans as a name to call those who raided by coming into bays and up rivers. To the people of Éire—Ireland—they were still a relatively new threat at the time of the trilogy’s beginning.
Nordweg had no central government during this era, either. There was no king, no national legal system, no hierarchy as such. Small fishing villages and outlying farms made up much of the communities that I found in my research. The village the hero of Éire’s Viking comes from is Balestrand, which is located on the shores of a fjørd. I read of the discovery of Viking artifacts from this village, which set me up in terms of a “space” in which to place my Ostmen.
Other misconceptions I had to educate myself around concerned the use of swords. There has been a popular notion of Vikings and their swords, to be sure, but swords were hard to come by in the early parts of the ninth century. Instead, most warriors of Nordweg learned to fight with axes and spears. And, of course, a warrior had to defend himself. For this, a Norseman had a helmet with a protector over his nose, if he could afford one. Otherwise, often a man just wore boiled leather—possibly with small metal slices sewn to it— to help deflect the deadly edge of an enemy’s weapon.
Often, research is as much about disproving fallacies as it is about finding new information. I hope that readers of my Éire’s Viking Trilogy will enjoy not only the fictional tales I tried to tell, but that they’ll also feel that they were immersed in a new culture. One they might have thought they knew, perhaps, only to discover treasure of their own.
Not unlike the Vikings.