Another ultra-steamy winner from Emmanuelle de Maupassant, rapidly establishing herself as the undisputed queen of erotic romance, Viking Wolf takes up where the first book in the series Viking Thunder (among EftBB’s Best of 2017) left off.
In my review of the first book I said: “Viking Thunder is an exquisite piece of writing by any standard, imaginative historical fiction at its finest, and one of the sexiest tales I’ve had the pleasure to read in—ever.” In this exciting, and gorgeously-written sequel, the Middle Ages’ hottest couple, Anglo-Saxon Elswyth and her Viking lover Eiric return to the norseman’s home in Svolvaen. But it’s not all hearts and flowers in spite of the erotic heat generated by these two, darker conflicts loom, and, this being erotic romance, a virtual long-boat-load of heroinic self-doubt pads a goodly percentage of the narrative. Eirik’s elder brother, Gunnolf, jarl of Svolvaen turns his lustful eye on the Northumbrian beauty, and one can almost smell the testosterone in the air. When Eirik and his sister Hekla are conveniently sent off to a neighboring community in order to establish an alliance, Elswyth is without allies, a virtual stranger in a strange land, very much at Gunnolf’s mercy. With lots of political and romantic intrigue to go along with fascinating discussions of Viking lore and legend, the story is compelling, vividly related, and seldom dull.
One criticism: the climactic set-piece is “muffled” and too abrupt where it ought to have been vivid and expansive. It is over so quickly that some readers may be left scratching their heads, wondering what actually happened—not to mention how or why. The language in this sort of passage needs to be acute and highly descriptive, showing readers everything that goes on, even as it is paced in such a way as to keep them on the edge of their seats. Here it feels rather perfunctory, as if someone were in a terrible hurry to wind up the story with its de rigueur happy ending, and used the set-piece as a convenient way to get there without putting anyone we care about in serious peril. While this is not a fatal flaw, I do hope that the planned sequel to Viking Wolf will feature a climax as powerful and memorably worthy as the story that goes before it.
This minor point aside, Viking Wolf is eminently entertaining and enthusiastically recommended!