30 December, 2015

Tour Review: The Ice Queen (Book 2 of the Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga) by Bruce Macbain


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 The second volume of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga takes up Odd’s adventures as a skald (court poet) in the land of the Rus. Here he is drawn into a dangerous love affair with the passionate and cunning Princess Ingigerd of Novgorod, and is forced to break with his sworn lord, Harald the Ruthless. Along the way, Odd devises a stratagem to defeat the wild Pechenegs, nomadic warriors of the Russian steppe, and goes off on a doomed mission to explore the distant reaches of the Black Sea. The novel concludes with Odd sailing into the harbor of Constantinople, bent on a secret mission, which will almost certainly cost him his life. 

Eager, curious, quick-witted—and sometimes wrong-headed—Odd Tangle-Hair recounts his story with candor, insight, and always an ironic sense of humor.

About the Author

03_Bruce Macbain
From boyhood, Bruce Macbain spent his days in reading history and historical fiction. The Greeks and Romans have held a special fascination for him, and this led to earning a master’s degree in Classical Studies and a doctorate in Ancient History. Along the way, he also taught English as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Borneo. Later, he taught courses in Greek and Roman civilization at Boston University, and published a few dense monographs, read by very few. In recent years he has turned to writing fiction, a much more congenial pursuit, beginning with two historical mysteries set in ancient Rome (Roman Games and The Bull Slayer). Now, he has turned his attention to his other favorite folk, the Vikings. Odin's Child , the first novel of Odd Tangle-Hair’s Saga, was published in May, 2015 and is now followed the sequel, The Ice Queen. A concluding volume will follow next year. 

Bruce spends his spare time in the kitchen, cooking spicy food.


Series: Odd Tangle-Hair's Saga #2
Release Date: 30 November, 2015
Publisher: Blank Slate Press
Genre: Historical Fiction
  • ISBN-13: 9781943075140
Edition: Paperback
Review Written: 30 December, 2015

Let me state now that I have a slight bias towards books that feature both Vikings and especially ones that feature vikings as skalds. They're two of my favorite things, though it's often a disappointment when idealized thoughts don't add up to the writing. In the case of The Ice Queen (and retroactively Odin's Child) I wasn't disappointed at all. Odd Tangle-Hair is a fascinating character who seems to find himself in a number of scrapes. With a childhood full of stories and poetry, Odd's life was a difficult one. The only survivor of his family, he originally made for Iceland to seek his fortune after losing his family in a house fire. Things went awry of course, but he's survived long enough to find his way into the land of the Rus (Russia) and into the arms of the Princess Ingigerd. 

A masterful sense of story-telling follows Odd through his various adventures; sailing on the Black Sea, making trades in Constantinople (modern day Istanbul), and finding that his forbidden romance are just the start of his long often doomed trips. Macbain has a wonderful writing style, one that flows and draws the reader in and gets them interested in the novel. Framing the story with the clever first-person narrative of someone come to seek out Odd's tales, readers will be immediately drawn into the story style. At times the novel did get slightly wordy, though it wasn't enough to make me stop reading. All in all, I loved this book and hope to catch the third book when it releases too. 

1 comment:

  1. Kathryn, thanks so much for the nice review of The Ice Queen. I'll be sure and let you know when the third volume, The Guardsman, comes out later this year.