Book Reviews

Brothers of the Wild North Sea by Harper Fox at Samhain Publishing

Genre Gay / Historical / Ancient Europe / Romance
Reviewed by Lena Grey on 25-July-2013

Book Blurb

His deadliest enemy will become his heart’s desire.

Caius doesn’t feel like much of a Christian. He loves his life of learning as a monk in the far-flung stronghold of Fara, but the hot warrior blood of his chieftain father flows in his veins. Heat soothed only in the arms of his sweet-natured friend and lover, Leof.

When Leof is killed during a Viking raid, Cai’s grieving heart thirsts for vengeance—and he has his chance with Fenrir, a wounded young Viking warrior left for dead. But instead of reaching for a weapon, Cai finds himself defying his abbot’s orders and using his healing skills to save Fen’s life.

At first, Fen repays Cai’s kindness by attacking every Christian within reach. But as time passes, Cai’s persistent goodness touches his heart. And Cai, who had thought he would never love again, feels the stirring of a profound new attraction.

Yet old loyalties call Fen back to his tribe and a relentless quest to find the ancient secret of Fara—a powerful talisman that could render the Vikings indestructible, and tear the two lovers’ bonds beyond healing.



Product Warnings: Contains battles, bloodshed, explicit M/M sex, and the proper Latin term for what lies beneath those cassocks.

 

Book Review

“Love is not about leading or following. It's about breathing together”. ~ Kaitlyline Smith

On the surface, Cai and Fen seem to be as different as night and day. Cai is a monk who has given up his claim as first-born to his father's kingdom and with that, his militant, chaotic side, to live a simple life. Fen is a Viking warrior, also royalty in his country, who is betrayed and left for dead by his own brother; he's lived a fierce, precarious life, as devoid of compassion as Cai's. Cai is a man of God, a healer; Fen is a sea wolf, a slayer, yet, they are able to gain each other's respect and friendship, which grows into a passionate love affair. They blend their philosophies and add their expertise for the benefit of the monastery and surrounding townspeople. Ultimately, they realize that it's not how others define you that matters; it's about how you define yourself.

Cai is a good man who becomes sick of his father's ways, he joins a monastery for the fellowship and teachings to distance himself from the insanity in which he was raised. Try as he may, he can't hear the Voice of God as other brothers there seem to, but he preservers, learning what he can about faith and science and being a healer. Although conflicted, knowing he's at least bending the rules, he's happy being there with his lover, Leof. When the Viking's raid their humble abode and Leof and Theo, his leader and teacher, are killed, he's sure he'll never be able to put as much faith in anyone or anything as he did in them or love like he did Leof. When the raid is over, he discovers a wounded Viking, one he struck down himself, lying on the beach mortally wounded. For reasons he doesn't even understand, instead of ending his life, he brings him back and nurses him back to health. No one is happy with the decision and it causes quite a stir among members of the community; but, at the same time, he's shown his leadership abilities and the people naturally look to him for guidance. He accepts the challenge with dignity and humility, but is still not convinced he's the best man for the job.

After the first raid, Cai realizes that he must teach the monks how to protect themselves, which is antithetical to everything they represent, but is absolutely necessary for their self-preservation. Fen, who is beginning to be accepted as part of the community instead of the enemy, helps with the defense lessons. Fen also participates willingly with all of the daily chores right along with the brothers, and eventually, they accept him well enough to call him Brother Fen. As much as he loves Fen and wants him to stay, when family obligations call him back home, Cai encourages him to go even though it means they will be separated possibly forever. Cai knows that he must stay to preserve order and protect his brethren. It's just the first of many sacrifices Cai makes for the good of the whole.

It's difficult to describe the myriad of emotions this story invoked in me. It's that intense. Harper has such a marvelous ability to make the simplest thing, such as a shift in the wind, seem like a momentous event. Her lyrical style fit perfectly with the time period and events of this story, in addition to the names, different languages, customs, and people portrayed. It was a hard life, but not devoid of simple pleasures. Harper's clear, crisp descriptions put me right in the midst of the story, feeling everything as it was happening, the hope, fear, longing, dedication, and most of all the intensity of the love and passion between Cai and Fen. The sheer amount of research which this story must have entailed is mind boggling, but Harper's dedication to authenticity is astutely obvious in her descriptions and portrayals of the characters and events involved.

There's much more to experience in this magnificent epic tale than I am able to impart in this short review, but I want to encourage everyone who loves history, pursuit of knowledge, conflicts, brave, righteous men, magic, following your own convictions, and the healing power of love, to invest the time and energy it takes to read this book. Thank you, Harper, for this awesome story.

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the author for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 119654 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 11-June-2013
Price $6.50 ebook
Buy Link http://store.samhainpublishing.com/brothers-wild-north-p-7418.html