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The Golden Wolf


The Golden Wolf

THE GOLDEN WOLF is the final book in Linnea Hartsuyker’s Golden Wolf trilogy. While I do love that each installment can stand alone, I suggest you read them all. Not only is the story richer and more thrilling, Hartsuyker is an amazing storyteller, and you will want to experience this Viking saga from its compelling start to its heartbreaking finish.

Ragnvald is still as loyal as ever to King Harald, but he’s growing tired of the amount of work he needs to do to keep Harald king. He’s getting old, and he’s ready for his sons to take over so he can retire to the land he’s fought so hard for all these years. His children --- Einar, Ivar and Rolli --- are determined to prove themselves to both their father and Harald, but while Ragnvald knows they’re men, he’s not sure they’re prepared to act like men. As he worries about their actions, what he doesn’t foresee is the coming trouble that will change the course of his family’s life. He might be looking forward to spending his remaining days in retirement, but the intervening fates have other plans in store for him and his loved ones.

"Hartsuyker tells an outstanding tale that is so much more than the Viking ships that roam through her books. The family bonds and oaths that tie everyone in this story together are the real threads here."

Harald is wrapped up in pleasing a new wife and has let Ragnvald deal with the day-to-day running of the realm, while he does the absolute minimum required to keep his kingdom together. While Ragnvald spends his days standing in for the king and building alliances, he does little to dispel the myth that he’s truly the king, leading to a rebellion that neither man can stop once set in motion.

Svanhild, Ragnvald’s sister and one of the many wives of Harald, has been helping Ragnvald to rule in Harald’s place for the last few years. She spends her time at sea wondering what would've happened if she had stayed with the love of her life, Solvi, and ruminating on how her life has turned out. She might be glad for the rebellious and unconventional life she leads, but the decisions she made to get there sometimes weigh on her. She’s been granted the freedom she always craved, but is it the life she wants? Svanhild’s family problems begin when her daughter, Freydis, who she has never spent much time with and has never felt the need to do so, is kidnapped. It leads Svanhild back to a place she’s avoided for a long time and for numerous reasons --- Iceland.

Battles happen, sons die, sons are outlawed, old relationships are rekindled, and new relationships begin. The fates intertwine in so many ways, pulling at Ragnvald, Harald, Svanhild and their children, who all are helpless to stop the future they see coming. This is a wonderful story of family, relationships, and how the world gives and takes no matter how much we try to change its course.

THE GOLDEN WOLF chronicles the life of Ragnvald and his family in Norway, and is full of Vikings, raiders and war, and the constant hardships of life. I fell in love with this story early on thanks to the characters and a deep appreciation of all things Viking, set in a ninth-century world of adversity. It has not disappointed, and while I’m sad to see the end of the series, what a great ride it’s been.

Hartsuyker tells an outstanding tale that is so much more than the Viking ships that roam through her books. The family bonds and oaths that tie everyone in this story together are the real threads here. You can alternately love and hate all of the characters and still come back to them because you want them to do better and be better, even as they suffer and cause suffering. It’s an extraordinary story, and I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed following this family saga.

Reviewed by Amy Gwiazdowski on September 6, 2019

The Golden Wolf
by Linnea Hartsuyker