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.
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.
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.
I like blue
Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: November 5th 2015 by Corvus