Here’s another glimpse into the final book of my Éire’s Viking Trilogy!
A man of ability and ambition, Tuirgeis Erlingrson has nurtured the desire to carve a place of leadership for himself on the Green Island, Éire, that he has raided multiple times. After the death of his wife in Nordweg, he takes his surviving son to Éire. Having connections with his adopted brother, Cowan, and Agnarr, his former countryman, Tuirgeis feels he has the support he needs to make his claims strong.
Agnarr is torn. His promise to Aislinn to remain with her on Éire is still in force, and he resists Tuirgeis’s requests to join the conquering forces from Nordweg. He desires above all things to maintain a safe home for his wife and children in Dal Fíatach. Charis encourages Cowan to do the same, though this makes for tense moments between them.
After initial disastrous attempts to achieve his ambition, Tuirgeis comes to learn that there is more to claiming a kingship than merely overpowering the locals. Tuirgeis finds himself at odds with the very people he had hoped would reinforce him. In addition, he wants to establish his father-line. He has one son; he wants another to be born of Éire. Will the woman of his choice accept and support him?
At length, Agnarr and Aislinn—though she is heavy with child—sail with Cowan and Charis to join Tuirgeis as he battles over one final summer to attain the High Kingship of the island.
Tuirgeis knows he doesn’t have long to make his claims; the Danes are coming in greater numbers than before. As he wins men of Éire to his cause, he has to maintain the relationships he has already fostered with Agnarr and Cowan. Charis finds that her Otherworldly gifts are needed by a man she considers her enemy.
When the Éire-men began talking in low tones in their own language, Haukr leaned toward Tuirgeis and spoke. “Will we gain treasure here?”
“No. But we need allies, and those we will find.”
“Allies.” Haukr frowned and resumed his former posture. “I thought we were after riches.”
Agnarr caught his eye, offered him an interesting smile that seemed one part confident and one part amused. Cowan and the king exchanged another glance, and the latter translated while the former spoke.
“Did you think to settle all your men here?”
“Not all of them want to stay,” Tuirgeis assured the ruler. “However, some may winter here.”
At this, the king half-turned from the fire ring, beckoning to Cowan and Agnarr with a small, authoritative gesture. A quiet conversation followed, and Tuirgeis felt a small smile creep over his face. He let his gaze drift around the others in the round house. Charis’s pale skin seemed to almost shine in the gloom of the room as she stood back from the men around the fire. His smile fled as she studied him. He remembered her from their earliest acquaintance, on a longship where she clung to the bottom of the craft, her eyes vacant and staring over open water. Stubborn, she had been. Stubborn she had remained while yet a trell in Agnarr’s service. Stubborn she likely was, even now. Yet she had captured the heart of Geirmundr Kingson, and they had fled Nordweg together.
Wordlessly, he beckoned her over. After a moment, she came. It was true—he had thought she looked unchanged when he caught a glimpse of her earlier, and she certainly seemed to be so. Touched by Freya, perhaps.
“Lord Tuirgeis,” she said with a lifted brow. “And your son.”
Haukr jerked his head in obvious surprise. “You speak Norse.”
“Ja,” she said, her tone sarcastic even on the single syllable. “I had no choice but to learn. You are Haukr.”
Astonishment froze Tuirgeis, but only for a moment. The woman’s sense of herself was even stronger than it had been in earlier years. She is a force to be reckoned with. “He is Haukr, my son. Haukr, this is . . . Charis, wife of my brother Cowan.” The two nodded politely at one another. “My brother treats you well, Charis?”
“Cowan mac Branieucc is a fair man. A good husband and father,” she replied.
“He is indeed. And how is your daughter?” It was mischief itself to ask, but he wanted the woman to exhibit some emotion. Her passivity was maddening. At his side, his son just stared at Charis, a look of confusion furrowing his unlined brow.
“Aislinn is well. She has made me a grand-dam twice over.”
Haukr leaned forward, mouth agape. “A grand-dam? Lady Charis, that isn’t possible. You cannot be much older than I.”
“It is true, nevertheless.”
Tuirgeis endeavored to keep his son from making a fool out of himself. He had a reputation to uphold. “You will find, Haukr, that Cowan’s wife is an unusual woman.”
This title due out April 2, 2015
~~ABOUT THE AUTHOR~~
Award winning author of short Celtic fiction, Sandi Layne is the creator of the Éire’s Viking Trilogy, as well as works of contemporary Christian romance.
She began by self-publishing her novels in 2000, garnering a loyal group of readers whom she continues to appreciate to this day.
Married for more than twenty years to a fantastic man, she has two sons, no pets, and a plethora of imaginary friends. Her interests range from ancient civilizations to science fiction. With degrees in English and Ministry, she also claims Theology’s crimson Masters collar which she has been known to don on rare occasions.
If you drive by her window before dawn, it is likely she’ll have a light on for you. Or at the very least, she’ll be alert on twitter. She invites you to visit her online space at http://sandyquill.com.
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