'You need not take England without me, Hari, because I will be your constant queen - there with you; there for you.' Elizaveta is princess of Kiev, but that doesn't stop her chasing adventure. Defying conventions, she rides the rapids of the Dneiper alongside her royal brothers and longs to rule in her own right as a queen. Elizaveta meets her match when the fearsome Viking warrior Harald Hardrada arrives at her father's court seeking fame and fortune. He entrusts Elizaveta to be his treasure keeper, holding the keys to his ever-growing wealth - and eventually to his heart. Theirs is a fierce romance and the strength of their love binds them together as they travel across the vast seas to Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Iceland. In 1066, their ambition carries them to Orkney as they plan to invade England and claim the crown ...The Constant Queen is a powerful, absorbing novel which tells the story of a daring Viking warrior, his forgotten queen and a love that almost changed the course of history.
Someone should research how much good reviews are related to a book's delivery on expectations. I know the answer for mine. If a book claims to be "a gripping thriller" and isn't gripping, or is about a book seller making recommendations on a houseboat in France, that turns out to be a nice love story, not much books, there is an automatic "less one star" - like a penalty for late homework.
This book is not like that - the description above is exactly what you get in this powerful, not-often explored part of history.
Part two of a trilogy being told of three Viking queens, this can be read before the first. (Historical books are always ok to read out of order - the spoilers exist if you know any history.) I particularly enjoyed the fact that the battles were not long, drawn-out detailed accounts, but dramatic re-enactments, succinct and more powerful that way. But if you like the detailed war scenes, and not intricate relationships, vividly illustrated, this is not a book for you.
The story of how Elizaveta and Viking warrior Harald met, wed and adventured is amazing. What I loved was how Joanna Courtney gave them personalities. This, together with the rich detailed setting and thorough research of all the many interesting characters and ways of life make for a wonderful journey.
This is not a light easy read, but it is enchanting, enthralling and an enriching experience.
Bravo, Joanna Courtney for giving us permission to be done with the Tudors, and for bringing out the sexy Vikings.