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Thursday, 15 August 2019

‘Council’ by Snorri Kristjansson

Published by Jo Fletcher Books,
16 May 2019.
ISBN: 978 1 78429 8104

As with earlier novels by the same author this one, a masterful thriller, has the Viking world at the core of the story. And what a story.  Helga Finnsdottir, who featured in Kin, the first in this murder mystery series, has gained a reputation as a highly regarded healer and herbalist and when several slayings occur in mysterious circumstances that couldn’t possibly be accidental, it is she who suspects foul play and makes it her business to track down and nail the killer.  

Helga is now living in Uppsala and King Eirik has summoned a Council to which the chieftains of various tribes have been invited.   A ruthless character from Helga’s past takes centre stage but Helga feels confident the hostility of this woman can be ably managed because, in a relationship with a hunk, true love has given Helga wings.

  Helga is a natural and shrewd observer of humankind, knows when to speak up and when to keep her own counsel. Grundle, her proud mare with long-lashed eyes, is the confidante who keeps her grounded and there is a palpable symbiosis between them.

Delegations arrive from every corner of the country, the mood becomes dark and tempers reach boiling point. An attack by rivals is rumoured to be imminent, it is evident   that a traitor stalks the land and the stakes have never been higher. 

The author brings the Viking age vividly to life, the plot is skillfully crafted,  the characters fleshed out and entirely believable and the story is enthralling, original and well paced.  It would make a hugely enjoyable TV mini-series as it contains all the elements of an unusual and intriguing drama.
Reviewer: Serena Fairfax
Snorri Kristjansson was born in Reykjavik in 1974. He has since lived in Norway, London and now Edinburgh with his wife, where he dabbles in classical acting and stand-up comedy while teaching English.  His fantasy series, The Valhalla Saga, and his crime series, Kin and Council, are published by Jo Fletcher Books. They both have Vikings in, so expect moderate cursing and beards,

Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and practised in London for many years. She began writing by contributing feature articles to legal periodicals   then turned her hand to fiction. Having published nine novels all, bar one, hardwired with a romantic theme, she has also written short stories and accounts of her explorations off the beaten track that feature on her blog. A tenth, distinctly unromantic, novel is a work in progress. Thrillers, crime and mystery narratives, collecting old masks and singing are a few of her favourite things.

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