The Eagle's Woman

Son of an impoverished, dying Norse chieftain, Ari raids for booty and slaves so he can feed his people. Pagan himself, still he spares priests though he sells them. He’s a heathen, a murderer, and it is a sin for any Christian woman to love him. Yet when he abducts Maeve from her peaceful Irish fishing village, he may have found the one woman who can.

“The Eagle’s Woman” is a novella set in Viking times. Ari is a “heathen” Viking, and Maeve is a “God-fearing” young maiden. Vikings live by taking from the land of others. As the Vikings continue on their way, raping, killing, and pillaging, they seek the greatest prizes to sell and replenish their riches – women, particularly young women.

Ari is the younger of two male children, so his older brother, Soren,  stands to inherit their land, and Ari will have to leave and make a home elsewhere.

Maeve is betrothed to another man, but he is rough and inconsiderate with her, and overly eager to bed her with just his own pleasure in mind. When one of Ari’s men captures and attempts to rape Maeve,  Ari saves her – not because he’s against her being raped for moral reasons, but because she is worth much more as an untouched virgin.

Ari takes measures to keep her alive because she will bring him a good price at the market, and although he won’t admit it, he is attracted to her. Unfortunately, as soon as his jealous-hearted older brother sees her, he wants her for himself.

I was impressed by Newman’s ability to weave such strong characters and believable conflict into this short historical novella. Ari has some less than ideal complications in his life, and the romantic in me would have preferred a more open expression of his feelings, but the book held my attention because of the three-dimensional characters.

“The Eagle’s Woman” is a quick, action -packed, well-written story, but a little light on the romance for my taste. 3.5 stars.