The Lords of the Wind is a terrifically unique take on the Viking world. It follows the early life of Hasting, through his own eyes, who is described in the historical note (at the end of the book) as having been one of the most notorious Vikings of the Viking Age. His childhood can be summed up as a series of struggles that he barely survives, and the emotional scars he receives from his time as a slave in Ireland which haunt him throughout the story. In what I presume are his early teens, he is recruited by a sea captain who promises to teach him how to become a Viking.
Their first destination is the Brittany region of France. Hasting spends a lot of his formative years learning the culture of the Celts in Brittany and even embroils himself in some local politics. It was a delight to learn about a little-known part of the world where the Vikings often visited.
When I dove into this book, I expected it to be a very male-driven story. It was, but I found something I did not expect: love. At the core of the narrative is a tragic love story that ends in…well, I don’t want to ruin it. It certainly pulls at the heartstrings and helps to endear the reader to a protagonist who otherwise might have seemed cold and calloused. Hasting introduces himself as such in the beginning, but as he tells his story, we find that he is more human than he might have openly admitted, if not for his telling of his story.
A must-read for those who enjoy historical fiction novels about the Vikings.