Tor, Jul 2003, 25.95, 493 pp.
Ulf, already a Viking warrior Wolfskin, learns about a magical place across the sea. Believing there must be plenty of treasure and a chance to do honorable deeds in Thor's name, he decides to sail for the Orkney Islands. Young Eyvind sees this as his chance to become a Wolfskin and pleads his way onto the crew.
They reach this land, but find friendly people led by a kind-hearted king Angus who are willing to share their bounty with the “invaders”. Eyvind meets the monarch's niece, the seer Nessa and falls in love but though attracted she does not trust the newcomers. Eyvind's new happiness is tested when his heart friend, Somerled, invokes their childhood blood oath of lifelong loyalty. Somerled's demand places Eyvind in a tug between honor and
love exacerbated by a disease that ravages the natives Folks, but not the Norsemen which leading to enmity and perhaps war between the two groups.
Juliet Marillier takes her audience to the same Dark Ages that is the focus of many of her novels with this deep gritty tale. WOLFSKIN takes no prisoners as the audience observes a hostile world even when the two groups forge an alliance. The key to this powerful historical is the cast as Eyvind, Nessa, and Somerled seem genuine and their “triangle” makes for great insightful reading. Ms. Marillier shows why she is among the top writers of historical fantasy with a fabulous opening novel that will excite readers with its depth.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner