Hildebrant's recently translated novel a beautiful read
By Lex Voytek
“The Unbroken Line of the Moon” is an inspired take on Viking legend and history. It’s the first in Johanne Hildebrandt’s Valhalla series and the first of her novels to be translated into English from its original Swedish.
Hildebrandt spent much of her life as a war correspondent and is the first woman to have been elected into the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences. And this book displays her expertise in rendering convincing stories about war and politics.
Hildebrandt sticks to her war correspondent roots to keep the story well-rounded. However, there is an intriguing love story that keeps the reader longing to find out what happens when lovers are forced to choose between their hearts and political obligation.
The book impressively details how Olaf – future king of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and England – is born and the hardship his mother, Sigrid, endured to ensure he would become the king to unite the Vikings and Saxons.
The real story of Sigrid, the book’s main protagonist, is extremely contested. In spite of the semi-legendary nature of the story, Hildebrandt writes with a level of highly researched command of the subject.
Sweyn, the secondary protagonist, is the illegitimate son of Denmark’s King Harold and is part of a powerful group of warriors known as the Jomsvikings. He is determined to someday dethrone his father and take over as king of Denmark.
Some problems I found with the writing could be blamed on translation issues, as there were some repeated, awkward turns of phrase – as if there were idioms that didn’t quite translate from the original text.
In the same breath, I was impressed with the careful job Hildebrandt does when describing spirituality and the old religion. A glossary is provided, but Hildebrandt is such an expert at weaving in the area’s old gods and terms into defining context that I rarely had to look.
In some ways, this book is what one might expect from historical fiction, but Hildebrandt proves she is an expert at crafting a living representation of an ancient time.
“The Unbroken Line of the Moon” was released Oct. 1 by Amazon Publishing and can be found in ebook and paperback at most bookstores.
Lex Voytek is a freelance book reviewer. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.