Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Michelle Styles - Taken by the Viking


This story takes you back to a time that Vikings ruled the seas, traded their goods or simply raided the lands of others. A time where people were in fear for their lives by the mere thought of a Viking ship. You get to meet Haakon Haroldson, a dark, arrogant, Viking warrior, who trades his goods for coin or gold so he can take care of his people and estate back home and Annis of Birdoswald, a young, fierce widow who came to the monastery of her uncle for counsel to avoid another forced marriage.

As Haakon came to the monastery to collect the coin that was legally his, he never anticipated that his visit would end in a raiding and massacre or that a beautiful intriguing young woman would save his life. To protect Annis against his own men and to keep her safe he takes her captive and sweeps her back to his homeland. But maybe she is not so safe there as he thought. Maybe he is not so safe in his own home as he thought, since greed, jealousy and betrayal are just around the corner.

The first thing that occurred to me as I read this story was that this is truly a classic Viking tale. It is obvious that Michelle Styles paid great attention to the historic facts of this period in time and this only benefits the story. These facts also provide a great insight of the day-to-day life of the Viking community.

With Haakon Haroldson Michelle Styles has created a characteristic Viking, arrogant, prevailing and honourable. Annis, the heroine, is an engaging, strong-willed, noble lady who desperately wants to be in charge of her own life again. I could feel the chemistry between them from the moment they met, it vibrates from the pages and their interactions sizzle.

Haakon to Annis and vice versa:

“I regret I will not be able to take up the invitation your lips issued just then when we kissed.” “My lips never did.” “Ah, but we both know the truth, don’t we, Annis?”

Besides the hero and the heroine this story has many engaging secondary characters. For instance there is Guthrun, Haakon’s stepmother, she is quite a hag and there is Thrand, Haakon’s half-brother. He is one of those secondary characters in a book who you would like to see in a story of his own. The stunning sub-plot concerning betrayal, greed and jealousy gives this story more depth and intrigued me till the last page.

From page one this story captivated me and urged me to keep flipping the pages into the wee hours of the morning. Michelle Styles certainly knows how to throw her readers back in time, she made me crave for more, more of those arrogant Viking warriors! Taken by the Viking is an enthralling, sensual, fast-paced read, a must-read for everyone who likes a classic historical tale!!

4 stars

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