The Weaver and the Witch Queen

Ace: Berkley. Jul. 2023. 432p. ISBN 9780593438244. $27. FANTASY
Gornichec’s (The Witch’s Heart) latest gives quasi-historical figure Gunnhild, Mother of Kings, a magical life and love story. As a child in 10th-century Norway, Gunnhild wants nothing more than to escape drudgery and the scorn of her mother. When a foreboding prophecy is revealed for Gunnhild’s future, along with her friends, sisters Oddny and Signy, all three swear in blood to stand for each other. Over a decade later, Vikings destroy the sisters’ farm, taking Signy and killing everyone but Oddny. Meanwhile Gunnhild—who disappeared years ago to learn to be a witch—finds that other witches are also involved in the raid. Gunnhild and Oddny reconnect in their pursuit to find Signy and will find their bonds tested by time, magic, and their own destinies: Oddny with one of the raiders and Gunnhild with Eirik, heir to rule all of Norway. These trials might prove too strong even for a bond made in love and blood.
VERDICT Gornichec showcases her knowledge of Icelandic folklore and history, while her storytelling reveals the complex and engrossing lives and emotions of her characters.
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