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REVIEW

"A powerful debut worth its weight in gold!"

In England's Dark Ages a Saxon healer and a Danish Viking would have had little in common other than the belief that the other belonged to a barbaric race that was little better than animals. Britta and Karn have at least one more thing in common. Their lives had been forever altered by a man whose lust for power fueled his fundamental lack of humanity.

Britta had been only fifteen when Offa had come to Dunford. The village's new thegn, their appointed Saxon protector, had flexed his muscles, raping and murdering his own as effectively as any barbarian Viking. Britta had lost both her parents and her innocence that day. Even worse she had lost her magic, for such power could only be wielded by a woman of unquestionable virtue. Her mother had reminded her of that often enough.

Britta had fled and made her home on Devil Island, a place even the bravest of men feared to tread. She felt no pity for the villagers and would only setting foot on the mainland to trade her healing abilities for necessities. So it was that she felt no need to alert them when she discovered a band of Vikings preparing for a raid.

Karn and his men had been ordered to take the village church. The raid should have been a simple thing, too simple in fact for a man of his skills. He is angered by the insult, but is as yet unaware that he has been set up to face impossible odds by his leader who wishes to eliminate a talented rival. Offa's men out number the marauders, and Karn unfortunately is the only Viking left alive. He is seriously wounded. Denied an honorable death, Karn is repeatedly abused and violated by his captor in an effort to gain information about the Viking's battle plans. Karn resisted stoically and was barely alive when Offa finished with him for the night.

Britta had been summoned by Offa to aid the fallen Saxons, and had no choice but to heed his request. Her hopes that he had forgotten about their former encounter are quickly dashed, and she realizes that she must take desperate measures to avoid more of the same treatment. She is surprised when she is given a vision which includes the handsome Viking she'd seen before the attack. Had her magic returned? Though she has no use for his kind, she realizes that her fate may be tied to the prisoner and seeks him out. Once she assesses his condition a plan forms. The next morning, as far as Offa's guards are concerned, she'd been just another faceless woman hauling a dead body away for cremation.

There is little trust between the healer and her captive at first, but as time goes on, Karn realizes that he isn't being kept alive for further torture, and Britta confides her similar experience at Offa's hands. She does what she can to heal him, but he soon realizes that he will never again be the man he'd been before the battle. Karn's only wish is to return to his home, but he knows he would be mocked and shunned as a useless cripple.

Offa is enraged that his prizes have escaped him, and the need to destroy them becomes an obsession. Britta continues to have troubling visions and soon the pair is forced to flee the island that had been their sanctuary. They must rejoin the world, and learn to live by their wits. Though they have become emotionally attached to the other, each of them covets that part of themselves that Offa had stolen from them. Sadly they realize that their paths must diverge. Britta must learn about her magic, and Karn must find a means to become a useful man once more. Will the price of becoming whole be too dear?

It has been said that if you love something you must set it free. If it returns it will be yours forever. Their paths may be long and full of peril, but in the end they lead to a common truth. The choices Karn and Britta make along the way will determine the future of their people. Susan Squires' characterizations are so phenomenal that it is quite difficult to believe that DANGELD is a debut novel. It is one of the most touching love stories I have read in a very long time. This book is worth its weight in gold. I highly recommend it and look forward to reading many more by this gifted author.

Copyright 2002

Reviewed by Leslie Tramposch
Posted July 30, 2002

SUMMARY

2002 PRISM AWARD Winner:
1st place - DARK PARANORMAL

Witch or saint? That is the question Britta cannot answer as she tries to connect to the mysterious power she lost just as she discovered it. The many gods have not yet faded before the one God in Dark Age Britain, and miracles are still possible. DANEGELD is a carefully researched journey into another time and place, filled with adventure, laced with passion and magic.

All Britta wants is to reclaim her enigmatic gift, lost when Offa, a mighty Saxon thegn, raped her long ago. Karn, proud Viking warrior, is tried of wandering the world. He wants land where he can live in peace. That seems impossible for a fourth son. Their paths collide when Karn and his Vikings raid Britta's village. Offa captures Karn and tortures him. Britta is driven to heal him by a vision she hopes is the return of magic. But she cannot make his body whole. Pursued by Offa into the chaos of a world preparing for the final confrontation between Saxon and Dane, Britta and Karn both journey back from personal devastation to find new kinds of strength. Each must see past a traditional enmity to find their growing attraction to each other. Their struggle to carve a common language and a common destiny echoes the process alive in the land, as Saxon and Dane combine to build the island kingdom that will be called England.

 

Danegeld
by Susan Squires

Love Spell
July 1, 2001
ISBN #0505524465
EAN #9780505524461
368 pages
Paperback
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Other Books by
Susan Squires

The Mists of Time
A Twist In Time
Time for Eternity
Dead After Dark
One With the Darkness
One With the Shadows
One With The Night
Love At First Bite
The Burning
The Hunger
The Companion
No More Lies
The Only One
Danelaw
Body Electric
Sacrament


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