A Flame in the North

Orbit. (Black Land’s Bane, Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 448p. ISBN 9780316440332. pap. $19.99. FANTASY
Solveig is the eldest daughter of her clan’s leader, as well as a powerful elemental magic wielder and seer known as a volva. During a midwinter festival, Solveig uses her powers to relight the village fires, but her family are noticeably absent. When her father and brother return late, she discovers that it’s because Bjorn, her impulsive and headstrong brother, killed a visiting Northerner for some perceived offense. In recompense, the Northerners require a wergild—an exchange to come with the Northerners for one year and a day, with Solveig fulfilling the pact. And so Solveig and her shieldmaiden, Arneior, begin their journey with the Northerners. They have their strength and honor tested as they find themselves embroiled in conflict with an enemy long thought a legend, fighting alongside fae-like Elders and skin-changers.
VERDICT Saintcrow (The Salt-Black Tree) steps away from her usual urban fantasy with this epic Norse-inspired fantasy, emulating the writing style of traditional epic poems and tales with fantastic attention to detail. Recommend to readers who enjoy the high-fantasy writing style of authors such as J. R. R. Tolkien and those who appreciate Norse mythology.
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