Hakon’s Saga Book 3, War King, is a riveting Norse historical action adventure set in 957 AD. The saga continues for King Hakon Haroldsson, who wrested Norway’s throne from his murderous brother, Erik Bloodaxe, but mercifully spared Erik’s family. This is a mistake Hakon regrets later when he must face the sons of Erik, who are bent on avenging the wrong done to their father and family. Erik’s sons ally with the Danish king, Harold Bluetooth, and wreak havoc on the region with their brutal raids and plunder. The book is divided into three parts in which Hakon must defend his realm against all odds in three major military campaigns. He uses sound strategy and battle tactics to overcome his enemies. But, as a Christian king, he begins to question if the bloodlust to defend his realm has only resulted in fear and sorrow for his people and those he loves.
Author Eric Schumacher masterfully tells the story from the point of view of King Hakon, an engaging character who demonstrates strength, loyalty, and self-reflection. What makes this tale rise above others in this genre is the author’s skill in vividly capturing the Viking culture. Through graphic detail, readers are immersed in the chaos of fighting, but the battle scenes and tactics are presented with clarity. The saga not only captures the excitement of battle but is also character-driven. Extra bonuses in the book include regional maps and a glossary of Viking terms which are used in the narrative.
War King immediately draws and keeps readers immersed in the legendary tale of King Hakon through rich details of the Viking culture, landscape, and clashes. Highly recommended for those seeking Viking adventure.
I voluntarily reviewed this book for the Historical Novel Society, and the review is also posted in the Historical Newsletter HNR Issue 88 (May 2019).