The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen

The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen
Published: April 2020
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
Genre: Historical Fiction, Vikings,
pages: 236
available: paperback, ebook

Sex: 💖 some, lots of references to sex and male body parts
Violence: 😱😱😱 lots of violence, fights, killings

Reviewers Note: I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Authors bio (from Amazon): Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When he's not writing, he's riding horses and working with young, disabled riders.

Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella, River Born, was one of two runners-up in the Wundor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. His debut novel, The Swan's Road (Book #1 of the Atheling Chronicles) published by Tirgearr Publishing, was released in 2017, Book #2, The Dane Law, in September of 2018.

The Plot in brief (no spoilers) : This is book three in the story of Harold Harefoot, son of King Canute, and his wife Selia and their band of friends and misfits. Harold wants nothing more than to settle down to a life of domestic bliss with his lovely lady. His new home, a long neglected homestead, the site of a brutal massacre, is just the place. But there are those that want him, a potential heir to the throne, out of the way and are willing to pay for his death. Harold must uncover their plot and discover the identity of his potential killers and keep his wife and his dependents safe. 

The History: The author has done a superb job of painting a realistic vision of Saxon/Danish England. He has clearly done copious amounts of research and gets the important details right. This is one of the best things about this book. As a history lover, I appreciate such attention to not only the physical conditions of the 11th century but also the customs, religious beliefs and the blending of cultures as England transitioned from Anglo-Saxon to Norman French with a heavy dose of Danish thrown into the mix. 

Overall: This is a fast paced book and  I enjoyed reading it despite the fact that I am probably not the target audience. The characters are pretty simplistic and the focus of the story is on the action. There is a fair amount of violence and some fight scenes ran on a bit longer than I cared to read. 

Recommendation: Lovers of Anglo-Saxons and Vikings and the violent world they inhabited will enjoy this book. I think it will appeal to young men, not sure about the women. 

I give this book: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐


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