Beyond the Dragon by Kelly Nichols and Alyn Rockwood
Beyond the Dragonhead; A Viking Adventure by Kelly Nichols and Alyn Rockwood
Published: July 2020
Publisher: Mind2 LLC
Genre: YA historical fiction
Series: Yes, this is book one
Reviewers Note: I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
The Plot in Brief: When their village is destroyed by fellow Vikings, the survivors flee seeking safety in Viking Russia under the leadership of Anders Sunderstrom. Thyra his daughter is a healer and her skills are needed if badly injured warrior, Bjorn, is to survive their long journey to Kiev. Chased by their enemy, this motley crew encounters new people, strange places and learns to work to together in order to survive.
The Characters: I really enjoyed the tatter remains of the Vankivian people. Thyra was a delight; strong, smart and willing to speak her mind. Her father, Anders, is determined to save the remnants of his people but maintains his pride as a Viking warrior. The rest of the refugees are a great mix of characters which complement the story.
The History: Wow, so much history crammed into this amazingly researched book. At times I stumbled a bit over the Scandinavian names and places, but there are maps and other aids to help the reader along. The plot is set in the late 10th century in Viking Scandinavia and Russia. From the political structure, culture, and religion this book has it all. And it's not an info dump. Historical details are deftly woven into the story. The authors present a nuanced description of the Viking people, not just the marauding killers they are most often betrayed as.
The Writing: The novel is told in third person/ past tense with a zippy pace and plenty of twist and turns. The book is well edited making it a joy to read.
Overall: Despite the fact that this book was presented to me as a YA novel, it does not have a teenagery feel that I sometimes get from others in that genre. I loved the story, the characters and appreciated the dedication to present a thoroughly researched and believable story. I was impressed by quality of the writing.
Recommendation: I would happily recommend this books to adults and young adults who have an interest in historical fiction.
The Book's Delight rates this book: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and gives it the Reader's Choice Award