You have to read Holland with some attention. Her writing is almost like a film script, it is up to you to wonder ":Why would he say that?" or "Why would she do that?". She has a writing style that makes the reader do some work.
In this book the main character is VERY intelligent but very inarticulate, even to himself. He does not question why he does things but simply lives in the moment. You have to check the reaction of the people around him to see the profound effect he has on them.
I enjoy historical fiction, I like books about Vikings and I am also very interested in Byzantine history and culture, all of which can be found in this novel. That said, I didn't find the characters or the situations all that compelling. I realize now I probably should have read the earlier books in the series, which may (or may not) add depth and enjoyability to an otherwise sterile and straightforward narrative.
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