The White Raven is the third book in Robert Low’s Viking Oathsworn series. Low doesn’t disappoint. This is book is as exciting as The Whale Road and probably even better than The Wolf Sea. Low picks up the thread where he left off in The Wolf Sea. Orm Bearslayer, leader of the Oathsworn, wants nothing more than to settle down and have a quiet life. But circumstances are against him and he is forced to lead his men on another adventure, this time across the frozen steppes in frigid weather.
Bound by their oath to each other, the Oathsworn set off to avenge an attack on their settlement and to retrieve those taken as hostages. They become embroiled in a cat and mouse chase to obtain the hoard of treasure buried in Attila’s burial mound. There is continuity from the previous books even though one doesn’t have to be familiar with them to enjoy this book as Low provides brief explanatory paragraphs when necessary.
The White Raven continues the tradition of its predecessors by plunging us into the chest-thumping, sword-thrashing, axe-wielding, womanizing, foul smelling, and vulgar speaking world of Low’s Vikings. But our immersion in this very masculine world is tempered somewhat by the presence of two very strong prominent females who are more than capable of navigating in male domain and who give as good as they get. And then there are the fierce Amazonian tribeswomen. They earn the respect of the Oathsworn because, like them, they are bound to each other by an oath of loyalty and are willing to fight to the death to honor their word.
The novel is choke-full of thrilling action. The characters are well-developed and engaging. Amidst the blood and carnage, Low sprinkles references to the Slavic and Norse mythology and folklore embedded in the characters’ daily lives. One of the most intriguing characters is a young prince with a talent for telling fables and folktales that capture the attention of this band of burly men as they huddle together for warmth.
Robert Low’s extensive research on the era adds authenticity and credibility to the people and events. He is a gifted story-teller who totally immerses the reader in the rough and tumble, full-blooded world of the Vikings in all its vivid, sensory detail.
Highly recommended, especially for lovers of historical fiction.