A Burning Sea

A Burning Sea

Theodore Brun
ARRSE Rating
3 Mushroom Heads
This book is one of a series of ‘sword and sandals’ genre books whose main characters are Erlan Aurvandil, a Norseman and Lilla Sviggarsdottir, a Swedish woman. The action covers the whole of Europe, from modern Norway to Istanbul., and shows how difficult travel was at that time, with some excellent descriptions.

The story is interesting, and is set against the historic fall of Europe to Arab invaders. Characters include slaves and eunuchs, empire builders, empire defenders and soldiers who have a job to do. There are traitors, spies, murderers, people just struggling to get through life, and those who manipulate them.

I found the tale to be absorbing and the main characters likeable, but thought that a couple of the scenes of particular and personal violence were unnecessary. I loved the historical detail of the siege of Byzantium, and the attempts to break that siege. Given that the author has studied Dark Age Archaelogy, he is able to make all this detail plausible without it bogging down the action, which comes fast and furious, particularly in the later chapters.

My one complaint is that the story seems to come to an abrupt end, but I guess he has to leave an opportunity for the next book in the series.

Definitely worth a read, particularly in the light of the current rewriting of the history of slavery.
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