‘To my enemies I am the devil himself, the root of all evil, the breaker of cities and glutter of ravens, a man whose name is a byword for treachery.
‘To my followers I am the founding father and protector of a new nation, the greatest warrior of the age, the hero of the Frisian field and a man whose name is a byword for loyalty beyond death.’
In the early fifth century, as the Roman Empire fails and the barbarian tribes press southwards, a young boy begins the long journey that will lead to him becoming the first Englishman – the legendary Hengest.”
“The Half-Dane’s Daughter” is perhaps even better than McCormack’s Albion novels. The dramatic structure, with a climactic fight against the odds at the end, is similar to his Arthurian novels. But the narrative here flows more easily, as the story is told mostly linearly, though with the periodic episodes from the future to keep the reader interested in the fate of the young hero. I like the way McCormack makes the reader work to figure out the relationships or identities of people, but not too hard. As in his Arthurian novels, McCormack is completely steeped in his material. He writes as if he is intimately familiar with the life of fifth century Scandinavians of many walks of life: Kings, sword-makers, warriors, ship-builders, and wise women.
If you like genuine dark-age historical fiction, you must buy this novel.
Prof. Howard Wiseman