Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
Size: 5.50 x 8.50 in
When secrets and lies threaten the throne, can a fierce champion tame her passion in time to stop a cruel enemy’s ruthless march?
Jutland, Early 11th Century. Viking Warrior Princess Lena craves revenge. Hunting a killer after her husband is brutally slain, she discovers a shadowy traitor is at play behind the scenes, working to disrupt the balance of power. But she places her need for vengeance on hold when the king falls gravely ill, and sails out along with the pretty slave she rescued to locate a fabled healer.
Gunnar is loyal to the core. But when his lord orders him to sabotage the princess’s royal mission, he’s plagued by an unfamiliar sense of doubt. And after he witnesses the courageous woman and her crew save his life in a vicious storm, he’s no longer certain he’s fighting for the right side.
Beset by foul weather and an uncharted island of trolls, Lena fears she’ll never avenge her husband’s death… even as her heart softens towards the lovely Celt girl she longs to embrace. And now Gunnar must decide where his fealty rests as the tides turn to war.
Can Lena and Gunnar survive a bloody grab for power and find a true home for their hearts?
Viking Quest is a breathtaking historical fantasy novel. If you like principled characters, battles of conscience, and tender F/F romance, then you’ll love Edale Lane’s action-packed epic.
Heat Level: 2
Romantic Content: 3
Ending: Click here to reveal
Character Identities: Bisexual, Lesbian, Straight
Protagonist 1 Age: 26-35
Protagonist 2 Age: 18-25
Protagonist 3 Age: 26-35
Tropes: Age Difference, Badass Hero, Cultural Differences, Famous / Not Famous, Friends to Lovers, Gay for You / Straight to Gay, Hero and the Great Quest, Rescue, Slow Burning Love
Word Count: 88,115
Setting: Denmark, the North Sea, Arctic Ocean, Iceland, Greenland
Languages Available: English
Wide eyed, Caitlin shuddered at the thought of his intention. It was always worse when he was drunk, when he would hit her and degrade her as he forced himself upon her. After being whisked away from her homeland across the waters, bought and sold by others, she had been only a few weeks in this man’s possession and her will to resist and escape had not yet been broken. But now, as he presented her with his sharpened knife, she was more frightened than before of being cut or killed. If he did pass out, she could use the blade to sever her bindings and run; if not, her prospects just became bleaker.READ MORE
Suddenly, the door flew open before an avenging angel. Caitlin was struck with a thrill of exhilaration as the Viking warrior woman stormed through, exuding power from every inch of her strikingly beautiful body. She was tall, with chestnut hair and fiery brown eyes that matched the stance of her toned figure. “You,” she commanded with a stony stare at Caitlin’s captor. “Take your sword and face me like a man instead of the snake you are, for I am not accustomed to murder, as are you.”
Startled by this interruption, the man spun his head and torso toward the door. He seemed to recognize the shield maiden for his face paled, his eyes widened, and his mouth fell agape. He scrambled off the bed, almost falling flat on his face. “Wo, woman, what do you want?” he stuttered as he tried to gain his bearings.
“Justice; that is all,” seethed her icy reply.
The man glanced about the room, spotting his sword several feet away. The Viking advanced and drew her weapon without ever taking her eyes off him. “You must have made a mistake,” he said, trying to stall as he reached for his sword. Caitlin scooted back in the bed against the wall behind her, pulling the covers up, mesmerized by the liberator who was certainly the answer to her prayers come to save her. She is everything I wish I could be! If I had her confidence and skill, I need ne’er be afraid. No one would ever own me again!
“No, you are the one who made the mistake,” the enigmatic woman stated.
The dirty little man grabbed his sword, held it in front of him, and shuffled along the wall until he had passed the bed. “I am not who you seek,” he said.
The Viking answered with her blade, the hard steel drawing sparks as it struck his. “Oh, yes, you are,” she spat with venom. “I want to see the look on your face when I run you through the way you did to Gilivar.” She lunged at him with her sword and he could barely deflect the strike. He held up his weapon, waving it about in a feeble attempt to save his life. Backing away from her stronger blows, the man overturned a chair in her path and then the table.
“You pathetic worm!” she derided, kicking the furniture aside. “Why would a swine such as you dare to kill a prince? Who paid you?”
“You wanna know?” He grinned, trying to mask his fear, no doubt, for his hands still shook. “Perhaps you should know, but I cannot tell you if I’m dead.”
“Speak while you still have breath then,” she retorted as she delivered a powerful blow which knocked the weasel’s sword across the room.
“You must promise to let me live,” he insisted.
“I only promise to kill you if you do not.”
“It was,” he stammered in a shaky voice. His glazed eyes darted about and Caitlin supposed he was trying to fabricate some excuse to offer. Her heart raced at the thought of the fate that awaited her tormentor. She didn’t wish him dead, but neither would she mourn him.
“Uh, what I’m tryin’ to tell you... the German baron, Rhinestein. He wants Pomerania for his own holdings and, and an alliance with king Svein would mean his defeat. So you see, he wanted to start a war between your countries. Then when the fighting was done, he’d move in and take over.” He waited breathless, glossy eyes still wide, as the Viking woman pondered his story. Then a stony expression came over her.
“You lie.” She jabbed her sword deep into his abdomen and pulled it out with a jerk. In a cry of pain, he crumpled to the floor, grabbing his wound and staring up at her in horror. “Baron Rhinestein died last week; he was an old man of seventy-five and hadn’t walked for years. You should have told the truth.”
The little man squirmed with a twisted mouth as he tried to hold back the river of blood that flowed from his belly. “You can’t win,” he gasped. Then he motioned for her to come closer. She knelt near him, but was clearly still alert, sword in hand. “The enemy within,” he began, then stopped to swallow and breathe, his eyes closing for a moment. “Is greater,” he continued, forcing his heavy eyelids open. “Than the enemy without.” With that, he exhaled, convulsed, and eked a shallow last breath.
The Viking rose, wiped the blood from her sword on the hem of his robe, and replaced it in its sheath. Taking a deep breath, she stepped over the corpse, heading for the door. “Wait!” Caitlin cried out. She was free, but that was only the beginning. Surely her avenging angel had seen her and would not leave her alone in her predicament.
Lena stopped and turned in the direction of the plea, noticing the girl with sun-kissed hair. Although her senses had taken in her presence, the singleness of her purpose had blocked the girl out; her mission now accomplished, she came back to herself. The woman was young, frightened, and alone. “What? He killed my husband; I’m sorry, but he deserved no less.”
“Sorry? I thank ye—ye’ve saved me!” she gushed with emotion overwhelming the foreign lilt in her voice.
Lena noticed that the girl’s hands were tied, so she took a moment to draw the small dagger from her gauntlet and cut her bonds. “There you go. All free now.”
“Please take me with you,” she implored with hopeful verdant eyes.
“Listen.” She vacated the bed and stood before Lena. “My name is Caitlin and I am Gaelic. Raiders took me from me home in Eire and sold me as a slave. This man,” she said pointing, “treated me cruelly. I don’t know anyone in this town; I have no one and nowhere ta go. I ask only you let me serve ye ‘til I can get back to me home.” Lena studied the young woman, her bruises, her youthful innocence. She could be a beautiful girl, and obviously needed help, but Lena had things to do and could not waste precious time. “Please,” Caitlin repeated, touching her hand to Lena’s arm, her eyes lipid pools of green. “Don’t leave me.”
Lena stopped everything at Caitlin’s touch. She stopped calculating, stopped hating, and even stopped grieving. A peculiar sensation enveloped her, one she could not interpret. Mayhap it was the desperation in the girl’s lilting voice, or the hope that shone on her face. Lena did not know where the surge of compassion came from that flooded her soul, but she could not turn young Caitlin away. It was inconvenient and had all the potential for disaster, distracting her from her mission. Nevertheless, she could not bring herself to refuse her request. Lena’s features softened as she let out a sigh. “Very well, but I must make haste and cannot have you slowing me down.”
“I won’t, and that’s a promise!” Caitlin beamed excitedly.
“Dress with haste; we will be riding,” Lena instructed. At once, Caitlin gathered a peasant blouse, full skirt, shoes, and a wrap and went about frantically changing into them.
“Ye’re a Dane warrior, aren’t ye?” she inquired admiringly. “A real shield maiden?” Lena nodded in response. “How excitin’! The good Lord sent ye ta rescue me, I know He did.”
Lena let out a little chuckle at the youth’s hero worship. “I’m Lena, and I came here to kill the man who murdered my husband, not to rescue anyone. But, here we are. Are you ready?”
Caitlin’s bright eyes shined at Lena, and her head bobbed in an exuberant nod. “Aye; let’s be off,” she proclaimed as she stepped around the dead man’s body. Then she added in quiet sorrow, “I’m sorry for yer loss, truly.” She spared one glance down at the blood-soaked corpse. “He was a horrid wee man.”COLLAPSE
DR on Goodreads wrote:
5.0 out of 5 stars An exciting and fun historical fantasy
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2021
A thrilling historical fantasy adventure full of intrigue, action, mystery, revenge, Viking warriors, and even romance. Edale Lane’s historical expertise is fantastic as always, and I loved how she weaved the slight fantasy elements into history in such a unique and brilliant way.
The characters of this story are very genuine feeling. So much inner turmoil and conflict for this cast. Some find redemption, love, or friendship, while others do not. Lena is such a magnificent character, strong, resilient, a great leader and warrior, and above all a caring and compassionate person. Caitlin is so loveable, she is sweet and kind and despite her circumstances she is full of hope and love.
I love the way Lane brought old myths to life so seamlessly with the story and made the fantasy portions feel possible and almost real. Lane has a gift for story telling and I can’t get enough of how she brings fact and fiction together in a way that feels believable.
The plot is full of mystery and revenge but is mostly focused on the adventure of the dangerous quest these Viking go on to save their King. The quest is full of dangers both unknown and close to home throughout this perilous journey.
The romance is sweet and while it takes backseat to the more pressing concerns of the story it was no less powerful and I loved the tender love story that bloomed between Lena and Caitlin. The love between these two was honest and unexpected (to them) and super satisfying.
The ending was bittersweet but the epilogue was absolutely perfect and gave me all of the feels.
Viking Quest is very exciting. Full of action and wonder. I love this cast of characters and this story in equal measure. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys adventure or romance, this book has both in spades.
Susie Umphers on Amazon.com wrote:
An exciting informative read into the world of Vikings, the surrounding people groups they encountered/conquered and how Christianity changed their Norse gods belief system which led to the heart of civil war(s). Lena and Caitlin, although main characters, were supported by a strong secondary group of characters. I enjoyed the times of storytelling; helped the story along. The budding love story was well written. An enjoyable read.
5.0 out of 5 stars Strong women and wonderful political scheming
Reviewed in the United States on June 28, 2021
Lena's husband is murdered as part of someone's scheme to take power in the kingdom. To protect the lives of her family and the property she now controls she sets out to find the traitor(s) and deal with them. In the process, she rescues Caitlin who immediately develops a serious case of Lena hero-worship and ends up staying with the Viking on her quest. The development of their relationship and the solution of the mystery of the traitor makes for a great story of high adventure and love.