The Golden Wolf Saga (HarperCollins) is a trilogy of novels about the rise of the first king of Norway in the Viking Age of Exploration. The Half-Drowned King and The Sea Queen have been released. The final volume, The Golden Wolf, will be published by HarperCollins on August 13, 2019.
THE GOLDEN WOLF (August 13, 2019)
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Ragnvald has long held to his vision of King Harald as a golden wolf who will bring peace to Norway as its conqueror–even though he knows that Harald’s success will eventually mean his own doom. He is grateful to have his beloved sister, the fierce and independent Svanhild, once more at his side to help keep their kingdom secure. Free from the evil husband who used her, she is now one of Harald’s many wives.
While Svanhild is happy to be reunited with her beloved brother, and enjoys more freedom than ever before, she is restless and lonely. When an old enemy of Ragnvald’s kidnaps his niece, Freydis, his sister follows the daughter she has neglected to Iceland, where an old love awaits. This strange new land offers a life far different from what each has left behind, as well as unexpected challenges and choices.
Ragnvald, too, must contend with change. His sons–the gifted Einar, the princely Ivar, and the adventurous Rolli–are no longer children. Harald’s heirs have also grown up. Stepping back from his duties as king, he watches as his sons pursue their own ambitions. But Norway may no longer be large enough for so many would-be kings.
Now in their twilight years, these venerable men whose lives have been shaped by war must face another battle that awaits. A growing rebellion pits Ragnvald and his sons against enemies old and new, and a looming tragedy threatens to divide the hardened warrior from Harald and all who care for him. Across the sea, Svanhild, too, wrestles with a painful decision, risking the dissolution of her fragile new family as she desperately tries to save it.
Yet as old heroes fall, new heroes arise. For years, Ragnvald and Svanhild pursued the destinies bestowed by their ancient gods. Though the journey has cost them much, their sacrifices and dreams will be honored by the generations that follow, beginning with Freydis and Einar. Emerging from their parents’ long shadows, they have begun to carry on the family’s legacy while pursuing their own glorious fates.
This compelling conclusion to the Golden Wolf trilogy recreates Viking-age Scandinavia in all its danger, passion, power, and glory–a world of brutality and myth, loyalty and betrayal, where shifting alliances and vengeance can build kingdoms . . . and can tear them down.
Advance Praise for THE GOLDEN WOLF from Kirkus:
The final installment of Hartsuyker’s epic trilogy (The Sea Queen, 2018, etc.) brings together old friends and foes with a new generation of characters to follow, admire, and cheer.When we last saw Ragnvald, he was the captive of Solvi, his sister Svanhild’s seafaring first husband, and in bad need of rescue. Years later, the venerated warrior feels the effects of old age and constant battle. As King Harald’s best friend and most trusted warrior, Ragnvald manages the king’s ever expanding holdings while Harald is distracted by a beautiful new wife. To make matters worse, Ragnvald’s visibility throughout the kingdom marks him as a suspected usurper of Harald’s power. But it’s Harald’s scheming son, Halfdan, who presents the real problem. Tired of waiting his turn, Halfdan mounts a rebellion by gathering allies from Denmark, Scotland, Ireland, and Sweden. Meanwhile, Svanhild has become disenchanted with her husband, Harald, despite having an unusual amount of freedom and power as his queen. So when she suddenly has the chance to return to Solvi, exiled in Iceland, she takes it. As Hartsuyker weaves the conclusion to her masterful epic, she artfully passes Ragnvald and Svanhild’s story on to a new generation of characters. How have Svanhild and Ragnvald’s complicated web of decisions affected their children? And what kind of world will they inherit once their parents are gone? Freydis, Svanhild and Solvi’s teenage daughter, is a compelling new character, and she transforms from a scared young girl into a leader who wields soft power and political influence with a just hand. Ragnvald’s sons, Ivar, Einar, and Rolli, each become, in their own ways, casualties to the constraints of Viking masculinity, steeped in both honor and vengeance. As the book races toward its conclusion, Ragnvald senses the fulfillment of an old prophecy and must decide whether to sacrifice himself for those he loves—or feed his family to the wolves. A political whirlwind with adventure galore; Hartsuyker bows out on a high note.
THE SEA QUEEN (August 14, 2018)
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The epic Viking saga begun in The Half-Drowned King continues with this exhilarating tale filled with the excitement, romantic adventure, political intrigue, violence, and rich history that have made Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology popular bestsellers.
Six years after The Half-Drowned King, Ragnvald Eysteinsson is now king of Sogn, but fighting battles for King Harald keeps him away from home, as he confronts treachery and navigates a political landscape that grows more dangerous the higher he rises.
Ragnvald’s sister Svanhild has found the freedom and adventure she craves at the side of the rebel explorer Solvi Hunthiofsson, though not without a cost. She longs for a home where her quiet son can grow strong, and a place where she can put down roots, even as Solvi’s ambition draws him back to Norway’s battles again and keeps her divided from her brother.
As a growing rebellion unites King Harald’s enemies, Ragnvald suspects that some Norse nobles are not loyal to Harald’s dream of a unified Norway. He sets a plan in motion to defeat all of his enemies, and bring his sister back to his side, while Svanhild finds herself with no easy decisions, and no choices that will leave her truly free. Their actions will hold irrevocable repercussions for the fates of those they love and for Norway itself.
The Sea Queen returns to the fjords and halls of Viking-Age Scandinavia, a world of violence and prophecy, where honor is challenged by shifting alliances, and vengeance is always a threat to peace.
Advance Praise for THE SEA QUEEN from Kirkus:
Now fighting opposite her brother, Svanhild must decide how to navigate an ever more treacherous Norway in Hartsuyker’s follow-up to The Half-Drowned King(2017). Things aren’t going exactly as planned for Ragnvald, who has fought in King Harald’s quest to unite Norway for six bloody years. As a warrior, Ragnvald is used to raids and war, but he is often startled by Harald’s penchant for revenge. Even after all the warring is said and done, Vikings have strict codes of honor, and Harald pushes Ragnvald into ever more gruesome confrontations that trouble his conscience. In a surprising move, Ragnvald’s sister, Svanhild, has married his enemy, Solvi, a skilled sailor and warrior rousing an army to resist Harald’s conquests and burdensome taxes. This puts the two siblings at odds, even after Svanhild leaves Solvi and returns to Ragnvald’s camp a grieving mother. As the factions continue to war, Svanhild is caught in the middle. Will she stand by her brother’s side or lie to protect the man she still loves? New characters, like Ragnvald’s stepbrother, Sigurd, give us insight into the labyrinthine political machinations, back-stabbings, and betrayals at work in the Viking age, taking us straight into the camp of one of Harald’s betrayers. Like many second books in a trilogy, this one can get bogged down trying to put all of the players in the right places at the right time, and the novel relies heavily on exposition. But Hartsuyker is a skilled storyteller, and the moral battles her characters wrestle with on and off the battlefield add compelling psychological depth to an old and epic tale. She also restores women’s work and political maneuverings to Ragnvald’s story, and Svanhild emerges as a complicated, talented, and shrewd warrior in her own right. “Should I give you a ship and a crew so you can fight my sea battles for me?” King Harald asks Svanhild after she proves herself a more worthy sailor than many of his men. Svanhild, of course, doesn’t miss a beat. “Yes…I think you should.” It’s a good thing Harald listens. A seafaring epic with bloodcurdling raids and political intrigue to spare.
Advance Praise for THE SEA QUEEN from Library Journal:
Following a successful trading season, Svanhild, sister to Ragnvald, the hero of Hartsuyker’s The Half-Drowned King, and husband Solvi return to their home in Iceland. Svanhild’s young son hasn’t taken well to travel on the open seas, and she hopes that by staying on land for a time, he might grow stronger and regain his health. Sadly, being land-bound is not where Solvi’s heart lies, and he demands that his wife and son accompany him on his next voyage. When Svanhild’s weakened son dies at sea, she abandons Solvi and sets off for Norway and her brother’s household. Meanwhile, Ragnvald, weary of war, returns to his own land to find his holdings have been claimed by Atli, who insists that King Harald promised them to him in Ragnvald’s absence. Deprived of home and hearth and knowing that his sister is no longer tied to his enemy, Ragnvald joins Harald to resume war against the raider. VERDICT Hartsuyker is a wonderfully descriptive writer equally adept at penning truly horrifying battle scenes as depicting life in ninth-century Norway. Fans of History Channel’s Vikings should find this novel (and its prequel) equally compelling.
—Jane Henriksen Baird, formerly at Anchorage P.L., AK
THE HALF-DROWNED KING (August 1, 2017)
Since the death of Ragnvald Eysteinsson’s father in battle, he has worked hard to protect his sister Svanhild and planned to inherit his family’s land when he comes of age. But when the captain of his ship tries to kill him on the way home from a raiding excursion, he must confront his stepfather’s betrayal, and find a way to protect his birthright. It is no easy feat in Viking-Age Norway, where a hundred petty rulers kill over parcels of land, and a prophesied high king is rising.
But where Ragnvald is expected to bleed, and even die, for his honour, Svanhild is simply expected to marry well. It’s not a fate she relishes, and when the chance to leave her stepfather’s cruelty comes at the hand of her brother’s arch-rival, Svanhild is forced to make the ultimate choice: family or freedom.
Drawing from the Icelandic Sagas, The Half-Drowned King takes inspiration from the true story of Ragnvald of Maer, the right hand man of King Harald Fairhair, first king of all Norway, and his sister, Svanhild, as she tries to find freedom in a society where the higher her brother rises, the greater her worth as a political pawn.
Advance Praise for THE HALF-DROWNED KING:
“Lovers of epic rejoice! Hartsuyker illuminates these old stories with authority and visceral detail, bringing to life the adventure, bleak beauty and human struggle that lies at their heart. A vivid and gripping read.” (Madeline Miller, author of THE SONG OF ACHILLES)
“Linnea Hartsuyker brings myth and legend roaring to life in this superbly good page-turning saga of Viking-era Norway. Hartsuyker is fearless as she navigates a harsh, exacting and hair-raising world, with icy fjords and raiding seasons and ancient blood feuds. But the book’s fiercest magic shines in the characters of Ragnvald and Svanhild, as unforgettable a brother and sister duo as I can remember in recent literature. Linnea Hartsuyker is an exciting, original voice in historical fiction, and The Half-Drowned King is nothing short of mesmerizing.” (Paula McLain, bestselling author of THE PARIS WIFE and CIRCLING THE SUN)
In addition, these books will be published in:
- Germany by Ullstein
- Spain by Salamandra
- Italy by Giunti
- France by Presses de la Cite
- United Kingdom by Little, Brown
- NEW! Netherlands by Luitingh Sijthof
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