Wednesday, 4 November 2015

The winter isles - Antonia Senior

I am Somerled. The summer warrior. What am I, if not a warrior?
In twelfth-century Scotland, far removed from the courtly manners of the Lowland, the Winter Isles are riven by vicious warfare, plots and battles.

Into this hard, seafaring life is born a boy called Somerled. The son of an ageing chieftain, Somerled must prove his own worth as a warrior. He will rise to lead his men into battle and claim the title of Lord of the Isles - but what must he sacrifice to secure the glory of his name?

The Winter Isles is an astonishingly vivid recreation of the savage dynastic battles of medieval Scotland: an authentic, emotional, powerful read.

My thoughts:
Do you all know how hard it was for me not to google, or read that afterword? Oh it pained me. But since I had already heard of him, but knew nothing of him, I read the book without googling. Of course when I was finished I googled for about an hour ;)

Somerled was of Irish/Norse origin. His family had been chased away from their stronghold (which island was it now again, that Argyll one?). Then they came back and that is how the history of Somerled starts. It is he who shapes their destiny and even titles him King of the Isles at one point. He is strong, cunning, but is he shown as a good man? No, but a man of his time. With that I mean the whole, oh so few women, oh well, we can raid some more. Wow, thanks, that's nice of you lot. But that was the time. I would not have wanted to live there, but I have never read a book set there at that time (12th century). Scotland yes, those isles, no. So interesting.

But there is also the POV of Emeirhin. And her POV is told in first person for some reason. I did first wonder about this, it worked well with his 3rd, and her first. I am glad that his was not through that way though, it fitted better that hers was. Later on the POV of Ragnhild shows up, and I should not have disliked her, but I did. Not really her fault, she was also shaped by events.

It was a harsh world. Filled with war, hardship, but also love, loyalty and will. The will to succeed, to conquer.

Conclusion:
Even if not much is known about him, she made it work. And she wrote an interesting life for him with that which was known. It made it into a book that I could not put down. A one sitting kind of book. I sure hopes she writes more interesting historical books.

Cover
I like blue

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2015 by Corvus
Historical fiction
For review


44 comments:

  1. The cover is definitely blue. ;)

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  2. I happen to like that cover ^^ The book looks good, it's been a while since I read a novel taking place in that era :)

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  3. I always find myself googling things when I'm reading lol

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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  4. Great to hear that you enjoyed and she made it work

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  5. So glad you enjoyed this book! This sounds really good and I just might check it out :D

    Asma @ IceyBooks

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  6. Really interesting, and a fine review too.

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  7. Well....I must read this now. Thanks a lot B. ;)
    I've been doing ancestry.com and I managed to get back to the 12th century of the males on my dad's family. They were stationed in Northern England (on the borders of Scotland and England). I wonder what they thought of him. Hmmmm.

    But yes, when you need a bride just steal one from another village. Many of brides in my family came from Scotland ;) LOL

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    1. Yes you must!

      Oh :/ I have only gotten to the 13th century. Since I am not a native Finn. My ancestors came from Sweden and Holland

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  8. I am glad I am not the only one who does some googling after I read a historical. You have me curious.

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  9. Irish/Norse? well, thats dif. I kinda love the cover

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  10. This is new one for me but sounds interesting.

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  11. Oh I like books like this. I also google but I do try to do it when I finish the book. I can usually start a book w/o googling but often in the middle I'm checking something out. :)

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    1. I so had to stop myself this time, cos yeah usually in the middle too

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  12. Interesting and I like blue, too :)

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  13. I've not read too many stories of Irish/Norse origin. It sounds interesting to say the least. :)

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  14. This sounds like a great book! I am impressed that you put off Googling until you were done. Not easy to do- but it sounds like it was a fast read. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. I am too curious for my own good, lol

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  15. Irish Norse origin? Yup! Love it already!

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  16. I love the historical time and place. I wish the cover was a bit more interesting though.

    ~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

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    1. I hear ya, though I like the look of it

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  17. Oh, yes! I think I have this one. The Lord of the Isles bit is ringing a bell. The ruthless life is fascinating to read from the comfort of my cozy couch, but yeah, glad I wasn't around for that raiding action.

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    1. And then the women must have given in, settled, I would have been all hell no!

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  18. ooh, another goodie, Linda! Adding this one now. The little-known factor is big selling point with me (plus, the read-in-one-sitting thing :)

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  19. I am glad it was well done .I am a googler too and like blue

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  20. It's Scotland ... I have to have it :)

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  21. I have to know....how much Norse is in this one? Because if it is one of the stronger elements, I am going to snap it up and love all over it.

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    1. Not much, it does not really deal with them. It deals with these islanders that were a mix, and stood on their own

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