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» » Ragnar the Just
Ragnar the Just e-book


Lily Byrne






Literature & Fiction

ePub size:

1799 kb

Other formats:

lrf lit lrf azw




CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (October 23, 2012)





Ragnar the Just e-book

by Lily Byrne

916 A.D. After the horror of the wolf cult last year, life has settled down in Hallby and Byrnham villages. Or has it? In the third book in the series, following ‘Ragnar the Murderer’ and ‘Ragnar & the Slave Girls’, the relationship between Ragnar's former enemy, Kjartan, and another man causes more violence and chaos in the villages... leading to murder. It remains to Ragnar and the Jarl to bring order to troubled times …
Aside from the cover, which does not fit the historical context, "Ragnar the Just" is a most interesting and enjoyable story about two men in love in an early Danish community in England. Though titled "Ragnar the Just", the two main characters of Kjartan and Lini
are the focus of the story. Ragnar appears, as he does, as an upright just kind of man. I look for more novels about Ragnar from this fine author.
Despite the questionable cover picture, this novella (the third instalment in a series) is not ill done. I came across it while browsing for M/M fiction and this is up to now the only volume of the series dealing with gay characters.

While writing is not beautiful in itself it is always to the point; the author tells us proficiently the story of two married men of the times finding love and passion in each other's arms.
Until time travel is invented, nobody will know how exactly homosexuality was considered in Britain in the X century, but Ms Byrne has done some research and there is nothing in her plot that strikes me as outlandish. Old Germans (the ancient tribes speaking some kind of Germanic dialect between 200 B.C. and 1100 A.D.) were not reknown for their acceptance of homosexuals but the importance of the theme in their literary output (see Old Edda) is such as to make one think it must have been very common and blatant despite the official stigma. The Danes must have shared most of this cultural heritage but we know little of how their habits changed in the centuries during which they intermarried with the Britons.

Kjartan and Lini are two likeable characters, fully rounded. Their passion rings true and intense and their sex scenes, never indulged upon but convincing, are quite good. I only wish they would switch roles to make them even better.
Mildrith, Kjartan's wife, is not as well rounded: a pity as hers is the most complex character in the story and her thoughts should have been given much more room.
The plot is generally well thought of and executed. Narrative tension is always there and tight. The fight scenes are slightly confusing though.
Well I started reading this just after breakfast and I couldn't stop. This one draws you in from the first page and takes hold till you finish the last. (Now it's just after lunch.)

I loved the last Ragnar book and this one in my humble opinion was even better.

Ms Byrne has tackled an interesting love angle in this book. The way the romance weaves together is rock solid, and she hasn't missed a beat. It has all the elements needed of any great historical romance. The undeniable tension, forbidden passion, falling in love, heroism, facing adversity to be together.

I was hooked by the two intriguing characters of Kjartan and Lini. Both men with wives fulfilling their fatherly duties, but bound to each other by an attraction they can't, and don't deny.

The reactions of the Danes to these two men in a relationship, was depicted so accurately, for the times. Most despised the act and ridiculed them with the worst insults imaginable. The few accepted and let them be. The extreme reaction of one soldier leading to the plot twist which I won't reveal. But it's a good one.

All in all, I was prepared to enjoy this book, but didn't realise quite how much. This is not my usual romance read. But I'm so glad I indulged. Some of the content may be graphic for some, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment. It certainly adds to the story, rather than detracts. And it is on par with the sexual content in most popular romance books.

I hope lots of romance readers who love history, love a good romance plot and great characters give this one a go. I'm very pleased I did.
It certainly deserves five stars.

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