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Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The Raider
by Asta Idonea
M/M Historical/Viking
Short Story
Wayward Ink Publishing
Also part of the Stranded Anthology
4 Stars

Blurb:

The gods truly do work in mysterious ways as Thorstein found out when he was left for dead on the battle field of a foreign land.

Review:

Wounded during a raid on an English coastal village, Viking Thorstein watches in despair as his countrymen head back to their boats and sail away. Knocked unconscious during the battle, he comes around to find himself lying in long grasses and no one has seen him.

He has been denied the honour of being killed in battle and so will be denied Valhalla. Instead, it seems he will die slowly and painfully from the wound in his leg. Thorstein has accepted his fate and waits to die.

What he hasn't counted on was the young English shepherd, Godwin, who finds him, takes him home to his small hut and heals him with herbal poultices and gives Thorstein somewhere to stay. Every day, Thorstein warily falls asleep, wondering if when he wakes this will be the day Godwin will kill him and have his reckoning for the Viking raid on the village.

But Godwin doesn't seem to want to kill him and as the days, weeks and months pass, Thorstein finds himself becoming more and more enamoured of the young man who saved his life. But could Godwin ever feel the same? They learn each others' language gradually, by pointing out items and naming them and can soon communicate very well. But there is only one question Thorstein desperately wants answered: "Why did you save me?"

"I was captivated."

This was a short, sweet romance, and a very enjoyable read but there was just something missing. I think it was the lack of conflict. Most of the story takes place in Godwin's home and we see no other characters besides those two. Being skilled in herbalism, surely there would have been some visitors to Godwin's door? I would have liked to have seen the other townsfolk pop by occasionally and be up in arms about Godwin harbouring one of the men who'd attacked the village. It would have been interesting to see Godwin standing up for his guest.

As it is, they are sort of in a world of their own and the rest of the world doesn't seem to exist for them. There wasn't even any conflict between Godwin's religious beliefs and the fact that he wanted to bed a man. It was a good story, but it could have been so much more.


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