Under A Warped Cross takes us back to Dark Ages Britannia, forever under the threat of Viking invasion and raiding parties. Author Steve Lindahl brings us a tale of family, love and struggle as we meet siblings Abigail, Goda and Waso. When Abigail is wrongly accused of incest with her brother, the Church moves viciously to mark her as a sinner forever, slicing off her nose. With her face so hideously marked, Abigail and Goda run away together to find somewhere they can live in peace away from the prying eyes of judgment and priests. Consumed by guilt at his brother and sister’s cruel treatment Waso vows to find and rescue his two siblings. His search for them will take him from Britannia, across the Irish Sea and thence to the Scandinavian home of the Vikings. Despite his travails, Goda never loses hope of finding and rescuing his siblings and together with the exotic Persian woman, Stateira, they escape Viking captivity and head for home and the search for Goda’s brother and sister.
I have always been a fan of historical novels and especially ones centred around this little known time of British history. In Under A Warped Cross, author Steve Lindahl has taken us inside the lives of poor, everyday folk in this era, folk for whom the struggle to survive against oppressive masters, an overbearing and all powerful Church, the vicious and bloodthirsty Vikings, as well as the everyday villains and robbers of the day. His characters were well drawn and showed us the power of family and a resolute hope for the future. The writing is powerful and descriptive and allows you to live the horrors these people faced on a daily basis, whilst still learning something of the various beliefs and cultures of the people of that day. I particularly enjoyed the inner dialogue of Waso and his determination to not only find his missing siblings, but to also question much of the accepted religious dogma of the day. Having Stateira, as a Muslim woman and the questions and conflicts that raised in Waso, just lifted this story over and above the average historical novel. This is an excellent read and one I can highly recommend.