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THE RAVEN AND THE CROSS (Erik Haraldsson #2) by CR May

Updated: Jan 20, 2023

I surprised myself by how easily I slipped into this story, it being some time since I had read Bloodaxe, the first in this trilogy about Erik Bloodaxe.

Cliff writes with such assured clarity though, that I found myself reliving the first book in the opening chapters of this one, my mind refreshing on the saga that had unfolded before. This book is an excellent companion to Bloodaxe, which was outstanding. I love books set in the Viking world, they have a certain magic to them, a doorway back into the Norse world, a land full of strange gods and monsters.

It is in this world that Erik Bloodaxe, a man who has been both an outlaw and a king, finds himself once more on the Whale Road. We see a slightly different Erik to the one I remember from the first book. More mature, more worldly, almost accepting of the changing ways around him. He seems to understand he cannot stop the spreading of Christianity, seems content to let his people mingle with the Christians, to come to understand their ways.

I found myself connecting with him in a way I didn’t in the first book, and as a reader that just draws you in even more. Overall the book contains a sweeping story, immaculately researched and set in a bygone era which is brilliantly brought back to life. Cliff once again proving himself to be amongst the very best of historical fiction writers around.

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