Read Odin's Shadow by Erin S. Riley Online


Obsession. Treachery. Revenge. Redemption. Certain themes resonate across the centuries. Odin’s Shadow is the first book in a series of three about a young Irish woman and the two Viking brothers who love her. The novel is set against the harsh backdrop of the Viking era in the 9th century, a time when the sight of a Viking longship sailing up the coast of Ireland would chObsession. Treachery. Revenge. Redemption. Certain themes resonate across the centuries. Odin’s Shadow is the first book in a series of three about a young Irish woman and the two Viking brothers who love her. The novel is set against the harsh backdrop of the Viking era in the 9th century, a time when the sight of a Viking longship sailing up the coast of Ireland would chill the blood of any man, woman or child. One young Irish woman, however, is not afraid of these Northmen, and a fateful encounter with one of them changes the course of her life forever. Selia is a girl on the verge of womanhood, frustrated by the confines of her gender and resentful of the freedom her brother boasts of. She is intelligent and resourceful in a time when neither is valued in a female, and longs for an escape from her sheltered existence. Selia is fascinated by the tales of Viking raids told by her maidservant, and her hunger for independence is fed through the stories of heathen ferocity she hears at the woman’s knee. A decision to sneak to the city’s harbor to view the Viking longships leads to an encounter with Alrik Ragnarson, a charismatic Viking warlord whose outward beauty masks a dark and tortured mind. With the knowledge that her father is about to announce her betrothal to a man she doesn’t love, Selia marries Alrik and within a day is on the longship bound for Norway and a new life. As Selia’s relationship with her new husband grows, her friendship with his brother Ulfrik grows as well. The tension mounts between the two men, and as Alrik’s character flaws come to light Selia begins to have misgivings about her hasty marriage. Ulfrik’s desperate love for Selia causes him to reveal a secret from the past that threatens to destroy them all, and Selia is left to make a heart rending choice between the two Viking brothers....

Title : Odin's Shadow
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Format Type : Kindle Edition
Number of Pages : 308 Pages
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Odin's Shadow Reviews

  • Regan Walker
    2019-03-17 18:58

    Great Storytelling in this First in a 3-Part Viking Saga!This is Riley’s first novel and it’s a great one. Set in Ireland and Norway in 876, this is the story of Selia who, along with her twin brother Ainnileas, were found in the woods when they were two and raised by a kind Irish merchant. One day when Selia is 15, she decides to go to Dubhlinn (despite her family’s wishes) hoping to see the Finngalls, the warlike Vikingers and their ships. While Selia is watching the Finngalls, one of them, Alrik Ragnarson, is watching her. Alrik follows her home and tells her father that she will come with him when he sails to Norway, either as his wife or as his thrall. Though her father is distraught, he would rather see her a wife than a slave and consents to the marriage. Alrik is a brute who at times can be vicious, and at times tender—definitely a disturbed individual. His Norwegian name is Alrik Blood Axe (sorta describes him well). Though Selia is small in stature and not much of a match for the powerful jarl, she finds Alrik attractive and thus endures his rough ways, trying all the while to avoid his temper. On the way back to Norway, she develops a friendship with his half Irish brother Ulfrik, who teaches her the Norse language. Unlike his brother, Ulfrik has softer ways and seems more intelligent, more stable. He is aware of Alrik’s seeming madness when angered and tries to protect Selia.When Selia learns Alrik has murdered children in the past, she tries to escape, unsuccessfully, and in the process, Alrik and Ulfrik learn a secret about who she really is, but neither tells Selia. Meanwhile, Selia suffers from spells where she remembers an attack she and her brother once experienced.I found this story exciting and captivating. I could not put it down. It is well told and obviously based on solid research, which I so appreciate. Riley does not spare us the brutality of the Viking warriors who were quick to kill to take something they wanted. And her characters reflect her understanding of human psychology so there is great depth here. It is unusual story in that the tale does not end with this book, but continues on through the next two, but you can still enjoy this one while waiting for the next.I highly recommend this story to all you Viking romance lovers. There’s no fantasy here, no paranormal and nothing modern to distract. It’s a pure authentic Viking saga and, in my opinion, great storytelling!Note: Selia’s story is told in 3 parts and ODIN’S SHADOW is only the first. For the whole story, you’ll need to read the next two coming in late 2014 and 2015: A FLAME PUT OUT and OATH BREAKER, as I plan to do.

  • Carol *Young at Heart Oldie*
    2019-03-13 18:58

    Ms Riley kept me totally riveted with this Viking tale of intrigue, betrayal, jealousy, hatred, dark emotions and powerful passions.Alrik and UlfrikSeliaAlrik is a dark and seriously flawed hero…more of an anti-hero. He’s cold, cruel and devoid of all human compassion…a man who can kill in cold blood without remorse. As the story unfolds, Ms Riley gradually reveals the fears and insecurities that lurk beneath Alrik’s fearsome exterior; his fear of what he might do when he succumbs to the uncontrollable fits of temper; his fear of going mad like his father did; his possessiveness towards Selia and jealousy of her friendship with Ulfrik; his belief that he is unworthy of love; his fear of allowing himself to care about Selia and being rejected and humiliated. In the moment when he finally tells Selia he loves her, I felt there might just be a chance of redemption for this broken man.He let his breath out and lifted his head to look at her. “I’m sorry,” he slurred, “for what I did to you… there is no way to make it right. I’m so sorry…” Selia nodded , stroking his hair, as Alrik lowered his head to her breast again. “I love you so much , Selia. Every day it was torture to not come after you.”I like how Selia is conflicted in her feelings towards Alrik veering between attraction and revulsion when she learns exactly what sort of man he is. She questions the failings in her own character but recognises an affinity to this volatile, unpredictable man. She believes that there is something dark and uncontrollable inside herself which causes her blackouts and terrifyingly real waking dreams, not realising they are the result of traumatic events in her past. Her description of her love for Alrik seems to capture her emotional turmoil perfectly.Her love for Alrik was a shadowy, desperate thing springing from the depths of her soul.Ulfrik is the complete opposite of Alrik. He has a conscience about killing women and children. Due to the fate of his birth, he has never quite fitted in and isn’t truly accepted into the family circle. Although he is Alrik’s half-brother, theirs is an uneasy relationship and there is always that underlying tension simmering between them. This finally boils over when Alrik sees Ulfrik comforting Selia after one of her blackouts.I really felt the pain of his unrequited love for Selia and her rejection of him when he offered to marry her and claim her child as his own.The sharp little fingers that were wrapped around Ulfrik’s heart sliced deep, ripping and tearing, until the bloody thing was rent from his body in a brutal jerk.The secondary cast of characters add dimension to the story; Ainnileas, Selia’s brother who can charm his way out of most situations: Hrefna, Alrik’s kind and understanding aunt; Ingrid, Alrik’s volatile daughter; Grainne, Selia and Ainnileas’s mother so obsessed with revenge to the point of madness.Ms Riley paints a vivid and often harrowing picture of the brutality of that era such as in the blood-curdling attack on the merchant ship or Alrik’s ferocious and bone-shattering attack on Skagi. She also weaves fascinating glimpses of Norse customs throughout the story.Hrefna paused. “Making clothes for a man can be… almost magic… it can bind him to you. A woman’s thoughts and the words she speaks while she is making the clothes will influence the wearer. It is a very powerful gift.”This is an exciting and powerful debut novel and I look forward to reading the continuation of Selia, Alrik and Ulfrik’s story in the next two books – A FLAME PUT OUT (late 2014) and OATH BREAKER (2015).REVIEW RATING: 4.5/5 STARSThis review is also posted on my Rakes and Rascals blog:

  • Emma
    2019-03-20 18:34

    I'm sorry, folks; this is NOT a romance, NOT a fairy tale, THERE CAN BE NO HAPPY ENDING, because this is a heartbreakingly tragic story of mental illness, superstition, cruelty, paranoia, and misogyny. This novel is incredibly disturbing, and I shudder to think what the author's life is like, or has been like, and how she came to think of this grotesquerie as "romantic." The characters are like one-dimensional manifestations of hatred and fear and simpering non-femininity. Oh, did I mention it's ridiculously demeaning to women? This is about the "romance" of a dangerous abusive relationship. I would think it was a satire on the marginalization of women's rights if it wasn't marketed (un-facetiously) as a romance. This is why the women's rights movement still exists; because men all think we have these violent rape fantasies. This reads like an episode of Criminal Minds.**spoiler alert** (As if you'd ever want to read this book.)So the main character (Selia) is a foundling, living with her twin foundling brother, their adopted father, and his former servant in iron-age Ireland (maybe the iron-age part is why the author thought any of this in the least bit appropriate, because the story turns out to be barbaric). She sneaks off to Dublin, where she encounters a Viking (Alrik), and is immediately enthralled. He follows her back to her home where he corners her in the woods and assaults her, almost raping her all the while insisting that he doesn't want to hurt her. She tells him to marry her. (You can read that sentence again; I'll wait.) When she bolts (y'know, like a normal person who's just been assaulted alone in the woods by a total stranger from an entirely foreign--and terrifying to her--culture) he leaves her alone for a bit, then kidnaps her father and brother, forces them back to their cottage at swordpoint, bashes his way into the house, kicks the shit out of her father, throws her nursemaid against a wall, and proceeds to "ask" (still at swordpoint) her father for her hand in marriage. He says he's taking her one way or another; one way is that he takes her as his wife; the other way being that he takes her as his thrall (read: sex slave). Her father agrees to let her marry him, because otherwise she's a whore, chattel, flesh. This terrifying violent stranger then carries her away (literally, he ties her to his horse) and takes her to the home of the local priest. He says to his companion (his brother, Ulfrik) that he "wishes her to be pleased." The priest refuses to marry her to a "heathen," so Alfrik casually cuts his throat, then forces Selia to say her vows in front of the dying man, a priest that has been in her community and she knows well, and trusts, a man who is now bleeding out on the floor. Ulfrik leaves the cottage and Alrik unceremoniously rapes her on the kitchen table. Also, she's a virgin. Was a virgin. He spirits her away to his dragonboat, where his crew--who are clearly suspicious of this new arrangement (because, duh)--is waiting, and they set sail. Ulfrik becomes her only friend and confidante, as he is kind to her. Along the way it becomes startlingly clear that Alrik is a highly unstable individual (I might suggest in the style of paranoid schizophrenia, though I am not a psychologist/psychiatrist) as he beats almost to death a member of his crew for suggesting that Selia is less than faithful; also, he almost skewers his brother, because he's a man and Selia is a woman. At one point she runs away and almost dies, and when Alrik and Ulfrik find her they realize that (here, let me save you the whole friggin' book) when she was a child Vikings razed her village and Alrik killed her father, almost killed her, then raped her mother (this guy seems awful fond of rape) in front of her and her brother. Ulfrik just stopped Alrik from killing her, by the way, and he has borne the stigma (to his fellows) of his apparent "softness" in battle since. They don't tell her (which of course, why would they tell her, they're homicidal sociopaths?). They get to Norway and Alrik's homestead, where it becomes increasingly apparent that he is dangerously unstable, as his family members tell Selia that they just sort of let him hide out in the forest when he's in a murderous rage, and they've been doing this basically all his life, because it's better than him killing his brother, or his daughter, or some random person who happens to be walking by. It comes to light that Ulfrik's mother was an Irish slave (remember, Selia is Irish) that Alfrik's father "favored." Then Selia falls in love with Alrik. (My mind is completely blown at this point, but, okay, Stockholm Syndrome...) They have passionate bouts of lovemaking, in which he almost kills her several times. She and his daughter have very violent differences, and Alfrik almost kills the girl several times (his daughter, though fifteen or so, has clearly inherited his mental instability and acts like a spoiled toddler with no comprehension of her actions). Selia realizes she is carrying his child, and basically everyone (including her) thinks that bearing the child will kill her (although this is only a problem for about five minutes). Her brother shows up out of the blue, and it turns out he only got an Irish crew to sail with him by promising her hand to an eighty-year-old man, who has offered the sailors triple pay to kidnap her and bring her back for him to drool over (his impotence was discussed earlier). Oh yeah, she finds out from her brother that her father had a heart attack immediately after she was kidnapped and died; the Vikings knew this and kept telling her her family was "unharmed." A great gathering is planned and many neighbors come, bringing their horribly misused Irish slaves to help with the preparations. While the festivities are going on, she begins to have a seizure (oh, did I mention she's got PTSD or something from Alrik almost killing her as a child?) and Ulfrik and her brother hurry her away from the crowds. Alrik hears this and, in a murderous rage, tries to kill Ulfrik, who is literally holding her hair back while she vomits. Ulfrik manages to get the upper hand in the fight, and--finally acting like a human being--tries to strangle his brother, when Selia comes out of her stupor enough to steal his belt knife and hold it to his throat. He lets Alrik go, because it's unwise to argue with knives at your throat. Alrik angrily sends Ulfrik away "never to return" and Selia flips out at her brother, also ordering him away. Then Alrik yells at Selia, again almost kills her, and stalks away. Later she suddenly feels ill and runs out to the woods, bleeding from between her legs. It's clear she's miscarrying. Magically one of the Irish slaves, a woman, appears and tries to soothe her/asserts that miscarriage is "for the best." This slave turns out to be her mother, whom she thought was dead, but was actually taken as a slave by Alrik, then sold to one of his relatives (again, as a sex slave), and has been maniacally plotting to kill Alrik for the sixteen years of her captivity to another Viking, because Alrik (specifically "Alrik," not "Vikings") killed her husband. Selia is violently ill and is confined to her bed, waited on by her mother and brother, until she is well enough to move, when the three of them will relocate to Ulfrik's house until they can sail back to Ireland. During this time it becomes apparent that Selia's mother blames her for her father's murder (WHA???) and that she's trying to kill Selia's unborn child. Oh, and Selia, too. Selia believes that her mother poisoned her wine to try to get her to miscarry, but no, surprise, it was one of Alrik's Irish slaves that may or may not also be pregnant by him (but she might be pregnant by Ulfrik, because it was a threesome). This is revealed by Ulfrik when he comes to "check on" Selia, but Ulfrik doesn't want his pregnant slave, he wants Selia. With no preamble he kisses her and almost rapes her, but she manages to push him away. He offers to go back to Ireland with her, to marry her, and to raise the child as his, but she yells at him and runs away. She runs into her mother, who grabs her by the hair and threatens her life and her baby with a sharp stick, screaming at her that she's the reason her father's dead. The mother ghosts when the screaming brings the brother, who doesn't believe the distraught Selia that their mother threatened her life, and then also blames her for her father's death. Then she trudges (miles, apparently) back to the main house, where she finds Alrik, reeking of alcohol and excrement, drinking himself to death in her absence, and promptly sits on his penis. Because, folks, this is not a tragic horror novel of depravity and cruelty, this is a shameless bodice-ripper, and the main character always ends up with the hot bastard, even if he's a total sociopath and he has almost killed her multiple times.Here's why I read to the last: I couldn't wrap my head around what I saw as the inevitable ending: misery and tragedy. I thought to myself, "surely the author has to resolve this somehow, and everything turns out alright in the end." (I was genuinely curious to see how she would do that...) News flash: she didn't, and it doesn't. It was truly morbid fascination that kept me reading, because I couldn't imagine that the story wouldn't end well, but I also couldn't imagine how it could be saved. It was like watching a train wreck; you can see the inevitable conclusion, but you just can't fathom that it won't end up okay, so you're spellbound. If that's what the author was going for--fascinated horror--then she accomplished it. I am so freaking glad I didn't pay money for this book (found it as a freebie).I feel like this should be read in some abnormal psychology class or something.

  • Carra
    2019-03-01 23:38

    Normally when I read historical romance, it's usually based in the 1700's or 1800's. Odin's Shadow was set in the 800's so I had to adjust my frame of reference to account for how women and men's roles were viewed then. Once I did that, everything worked a lot better for me.The author has painted quite the intriguing world, and I found myself drawn in very quickly. Descriptive, fascinating and full of rich history, I found myself staying up way too far past my bedtime to finish. The story was filled with twists and intrigue that kept me guessing, and I was never quite sure until the end where many of the characters stood, and who was tricking whom.The characters were diverse and well developed-not just the leads of Alrik and Selia, but the secondary characters as well. And while Alrik does do some things that are unforgivable from our present-day point of view, in the context of the time period, the setting and the people, he is actually seen as a brave warrior and conqueror-and by the end of this book, we see there's more to him than you'd expect...hidden behind the hard, battle-worn front he puts forth.With not knowing who is really on Selia's side, her and Alrik's muddy pasts, the shocking return of a particular character and all that comes from that revelation-I found myself unable to put this story down. I found myself empathizing with characters I didn't expect, and both liking and disliking the same character at different points in the story as different plot elements were revealed.This all makes for a compelling read, one that I give 4.5 stars. I can't wait to read the next in the series to see where this is headed!

  • Diana Febry
    2019-03-17 17:55

    I highly recommend this book to fans of historical romance. A very clever concept, good writing and characterisation make this an intriguing read. By setting the story in the time of the Vikings the author gave herself a great deal of freedom to explore the emotions of a "romance" that might not be so acceptable in contemporary times against a background of exciting and interesting events. The story felt fresh and unpredictable as the story progressed.A naïve but headstrong Irish girl is forcibly taken by a Viking warrior back to Norway as his wife. All the main characters are a mixture of good and bad but it is those who hide their flaws the best that add the surprising twists to the tale. In conclusion an interesting tale with a heady mix of love, loyalty, passion, cruelty and betrayal.

  • Jessi
    2019-02-26 21:55

    3.75 StarsSelia rebels against her fathers wishes to marry someone she doesn't want to and runs off with 2 Viking brothers. She marries Alrik, however this brother Ulfrik also has feelings for her. One brother is kind and caring, while the other is a bruit and womanizer. Selia has to deal with the consequences of her decision. Her estranged mother shows up and turns her world upside down even more. I enjoyed the book. My only issue was it started out a little slow, but a few chapters in it picks up the pace. Overall it was a good book.

  • Tanaka K
    2019-03-17 19:54

    Odin's Shadow is my first book by Erin Riley and what a debut it was for me. Trust me when I say this that I do not read books like this but I ended up reading this book and I was simply stunned at how I enjoyed reading this book so much. It totally pushed my reading boundaries which I find so cool these days. That I am willing to try to read books I do not usually read. It is a totally unique and very different. I like different.Odin's Shadow reminded me of Vikings, this popular TV show I watch and it was an experience to read about books of that era. While most historical romance books tend to be not historically accurate, this book had some historically accurate facts which made me love the book more as I was reading. I found myself transported into the world of Vikings. I got to experience the savagery and the action in this book. It was totally captivating. I was truly in awe of this book.The characters were so different but yet intriguing. They each told quite a different story which was so interesting. I was a bit confused with the POVs but I loved how the characters each had a special story to tell, I loved Selia but at times I saw her as a bit naïve you know. She did have a strong personality but there are times when I felt that she needed to wake up. Alrick was different in the sense that I did not see him as the hero but more as an antihero. He was harsh and had so much rage that was considered dangerous. I liked that about him. His dangerous side, his commanding side and his take charge attitude which I found kind of hot lol. But he was too quick in his anger that he was often blinded by it. He was that one character you would love to hate but still love.Overall, I really loved this book because I got to learn a lot about Vikings and also about Ireland in the 800 A.D which I found so fascinating. I can't wait to find out more in the next book.ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review.

  • Christopher Downing
    2019-03-03 19:59

    Complicated souls make great reading! This historical novel was intense and had me engrossed at the get-go. Given the era, the bad guys are really bad and the good guys are… well, kinda bad too! I mean, these are Vikings we’re talking about. These guys know what they want, and they take it by any means necessary. And that means I was eagerly turning pages, intrigued by the coming expose into Viking culture. I give big kudos to Ms. Riley for the research that undoubtedly went into this historical fiction.On the other hand, there was depth here. In fact, the two lead characters, Alrik & Selia, make choices that are unfathomable to me, indicators that they are complicated, error human beings. Good. I don’t enjoy reading the stories of saints.Great book. I recommend it to fans of historical fiction and everyone else too!

  • Janice Hougland
    2019-03-19 23:58

    Oh my goodness, did I ever get a wonderful surprise when I read this first book of the author’s Sons of Odin series. I was astounded by the action and excitement of this Viking story, complete with a wild berserker (Alrik), his early Norwegian settlement, the number of thralls (captured slaves) that worked his holdings, his fascination for the captured Irish girl (Selia) who became his wife, and the feuds that occurred within such a vast, wild settlement. The descriptive narrative was so realistic that I started feeling and thinking like Selia and living her tumultuous life. I simply could not put the book down once I started it. And now I know there are more books to the series to be read to find out how Selia finds contentment and love…and I’m so excited about that!

  • Jessica
    2019-03-21 19:50

    5 stars!!Really in the mood for Viking books right now and I'm so glad I found this one! It's a wonderful book with amazing writing and she was really able to set the scene for the various events that take place in the book. I wish the author would have put more effort in the sex scenes and the main characters a bit more though - it would have made the book even better because I don't like when the main H just "magically" falls in love with the main male character. But still a great book. Can't wait to read the others

  • Charity Rowell at On My Kindle
    2019-03-12 01:40

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.Niall, an Irish widower and merchant who recently lost his wife during childbirth, discovered two children by the stream behind his house. Feeling unsettled by their appearance, he cautiously approaches the pair to discover that they are twins; a boy and a girl. After approaching the twins, Niall sees the dead body of a woman who he assumes is the twins' mother. Hoping that the children have kin in the town that he lives in, he takes the children with him to search for their next of kin; however, no one knows who the twins are or where they came from. Resigned to keeping the children with him until he investigates the matter further, he runs into his former servant on the street. His hopes of pawning the twins off onto her are crushed when she volunteers to return to his house to help him care for them. After a fortnight, Niall is unsuccessful in finding the twins' kin. He realizes that their mother may have been running from the invading Viking force that plunders villages, enslaves the Irish people, and kills women and children. Instead of taking the twins to the orphanage, he takes them to the local priest to baptize them; he names the boy Ainnileas and the girl Selia, and raises them as his own.Sixteen years later, Ainnileas is an apprentice merchant under Niall; he has been to the city and seen the Vikings on the docks. He brags to his sister about it, and Selia is determined to see these Vikings for herself. Seeing an opportunity to slip her guardian's leash, she heads to the city to see if the stories that her guardian told her about the Vikings. At the city's docks, she encounters a Viking who contradicts what she was told; she dismisses the encounter as nothing more than a story to tell her brother. The next day Selia finds out that Niall is arranging for her to be married to an elderly man. She is disgusted by this, and ponders this development as she collects firewood for the household; not paying attention to her surroundings. She is jerked out of her reverie by the sounds of an approaching person, and finds herself face to face with the same Viking, Alric, that she encountered at the docks. He expresses his interest in her; either as a willing lover, or a slave. Selia sees an opportunity to avoid the arranged marriage and seizes it by insisting that Alric marry her before taking her away from her family. Alric agrees, and Selia soon finds herself in unchartered waters as she travels to husband's homeland and learns more about her new husband.I don't normally seek out romance novels, but I am glad that I was able to review Odin's Shadow by Erin S. Riley. Riley captured my attention from the beginning of the book until the very end. I enjoyed how the protagonists' pasts were seamlessly blended into the plot; there weren't any awkward flashbacks to the past, or rambling explanations of past events. The love scenes were spicy, but not so over-the-top erotic that I couldn't read them without blushing. I also appreciated that the foundation of the story was strong enough to stand on its own without the romance; the love scenes served to enhance the story, rather than carrying the story. I was pleasantly surprised by Odin's Shadow. I expected a clichéd story with rather over-dramatized love scenes; what I got was an enchanting and spicy story that I am anxious to read more of.

  • K.S. Marsden
    2019-03-04 00:44

    Selia, a young Irishwoman, whose fear of the foreign Finngalls is only matched by her curiosity of them. Unfortunately she catches the attention of Alrik "Blood-Axe" Ragnarson, who takes her by force for a new life in Norway.I really enjoyed this book. The last time I enjoyed this type of book, was when I first read The White Mare ten years ago when I was living in Ireland.Riley has written a book that is perfectly balanced between the brutal reality of the time, and Selia's story. You can tell that the author has done her research on the era and locations; yet manages to write in a smooth and entertaining style that never feels like it's giving a lecture.The characters all have depth and their own histories and secrets. I loved how it slowly delivered the answers to all the questions. Then somehow Riley manages to turn the plot on it's head and you realise that you were asking the wrong questions!Selia starts off as a very naive character. She has been very sheltered all her life by her father Niall. His beautiful daughter has been kept away from the advances of men, and is not allowed to travel to Dubhlinn, or even the local market alone, for fear of what might happen. So it is no surprise that Selia has a rather distorted, romanticised first opinion of the handsome Alrik. He is so different to the boys from her village. She sees him as her escape from a marriage to an elderly suitor; and an answer to the sudden desire she feels.It is interesting to watch how she evolves through the book, into someone who is initially distracted by the new world of intimacy that she has been awoken to, and finally into someone that is ready to hold her own.Alrik is a bastard. He is a viking, unflinching in violence. He often threatens his new wife with physical abuse, punishment for not obeying him, or for the imagined flirtations with other men. His bouts of rage make his family and men tip-toe around him, careful not to set him off. And when he does fall off the edge of sanity, they do their best to avoid him and make excuses for their leader.The story reveals his darknesses, every time his character seems to be reaching redemption for the previous crime.I never felt that he was romanticised, he is written in a very unforgiving light, which is so refreshing that it doesn't dissolve into a fluffy romance.I'm looking forward to the rest of the series, as it teases at the end of the real truth of Selia's life.

  • Jennifer Sage
    2019-03-13 23:56

    **No Spoilers**Wow, this author has blown me away with this series. I read all three books in a few days and I can't say enough about her talent. Miss Erin, you have a reader for life. To be writing 9th century in a way that makes me taste, touch, feel, and smell the world that was created in such an authentic way, was stunning. I'm not a historical romance fan usually, but I'm so glad I stumbled upon this series. This author did her research, and it shows. Selia's journey was one of immense love, harsh realities, and was sometimes brutal in its telling. But it HAD to be brutal at times. We are dealing with 9th century Vikings, and the fact that she kept it so real was the reason I loved it so much. I walked with Selia the entire time, feeling her pain, her deep love, her losses, her joys. I was able to do that because this author is that amazing. I'm not much of a historical romance reader, but give me ANY book that captures my heart and soul within its pages, and it doesn't matter what genre it is. I love GREAT STORIES. This woman has some serious writing chops, and most definitely knows how to spin a tale.Complaints: NONE. Technically the writing was beautiful. The sexual content was less than I'm used to, but in no way was it closed door. It was very hot. Come on, massive Vikings that growl and turn into sexual heathens when aroused? Hot. LOL. Wait, I do have one complaint. I wanted MORE. Please, please, please write an Epilogue and tell me more of the "after." You know what I mean. Please? High praise to Miss Erin S. Riley for the Sons of Odin series. These books are 1,000% Sage approved. **This work is not for anyone under the age of 18 due to sexual content and violence.

  • Sahara Foley
    2019-03-18 20:56

    When I first started reading this book, it reminded me of the old bodice-rippers I used to read when younger. You know, the young girl that falls prey to the dashing bad boy, pirate, or in this case, a Viking. This tale doesn’t have the sexual tension and heat of those types of stories that got us all hot and bothered. No, this story has substance, an actual plot and relatable characters. I fell in love with Selia, and felt her dilemma of being married off to a man old enough to be her grandfather. But, her father had his own reasons for making that type of match. Because, you see, Selia has a huge secret that no one must discover. Actually, Selia and her twin brother, Anniileas, are both big secrets. Their adoptive father, Naill, found them alongside a creek, beside a dead woman. Who was the woman? Were these her children? Where did they come from? This story has so many hooks built into the storyline, if just kept me turning the pages. Especially when we get to know Alrik Ragnarson and his dark past. Will he repeat the mistakes of his father? As Selia comes to terms with her rash decision to marry Alrik, she found finds herself attracted to Ulfrik, her husband’s brother. When Alrik’s dark nature emerged, I found myself on a roller coaster about the man she should be with. I liked Ulfrik, but there was a hidden side to him too. What are his true motives for Selia and his brother? All the ugly truths are revealed at the Gathering, and I don’t blame Selia for running. Ultimately, I feel she made the right choice. Time will tell. I really enjoyed the adventure Riley took me on, and I’m so glad it didn’t turn into a bodice-ripper. If you love historical romances set during the Viking era, you will love this book. I give it 5 feathers, and I can’t wait to read more of this series.

  • Tabitha Barret
    2019-03-23 17:35

    I received an ARC of this book in return for my honest opinion. Personally, I loved this book. It is a Historical Romance set in Ireland and Norway in 876 A.D. during a time when Vikings sailed in their dragon ships in pursuit of anything they could claim for themselves, supplies, weapons, and slaves. The Finngalls were fierce warriors under their Hersir (warlord), Alrik Ragnarr, who was a cruel man plagued by a dark past. He sets his sights on Selia, a young Irish woman who has a strange condition that she desperately tries to hide from everyone. He refuses to leave Ireland without her, but foolishly, Selia doesn’t understand the kind of man that Alrik is until it’s too late.The love story between these two characters is at times strained because Alrik keeps his feelings hidden, but Selia loves him enough to bridge the gap between them. He is a hard man who is prone to violent outbursts, but his feelings for Selia tend to calm him. There are moments when you see that Alrik is trying to change for her, but he is not a man accustomed to change. Selia must be strong for both of them, if the relationship is to work.Ms. Riley has created a world fraught with dangerous men, and even more dangerous women, as Alrik and Selia fight to stay together while the people closest to them try to tear them apart. She has created a dark, frustrating man who is fearful to allow anyone to hurt him and a woman who loves him unconditionally. While the book ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, the reader hopes that these two lovers can get past their own personal demons to build a future together.The story is more than just a romance; it involves betrayal, deception, and dark intentions that make for a very interesting read. I am looking forward to the next two installments to see if Alrik can forget his past and become the man that Selia believes him to be.

  • Peg
    2019-03-14 19:45

    Odin's Shadow is a riveting, fast-paced and extraordinarily well- written historical fiction novel. It is also the first Viking novel that I’ve ever read, but it certainly won't be my last. Looking for a brief diversion from my current project, I picked up this book. Wow, that was a mistake. I found myself tossing my project to the side and deciding to take a frightening, but all-engrossing Viking journey instead. Although I found the Viking's behavior shocking and ruthless, I didn’t want to put the book down. My world faded away as the tale, Odin's Shadow became my reality. It’s raw and violent, but true to the nature of the Viking culture. I found myself mesmerized. Although, I despised the behavior of the Vikings, I couldn’t stop reading about them.Selia, an Irish young woman, was enchanted by the beautiful Viking War-Lord, Alrik. She never expected him to come to her home, though, and snatch her from her family. The Vikings raided the Irish twice a year, killing or taking them as slaves and stealing their goods. Alrik didn’t take Selia as a slave, though. He made her his wife. Alrik’s dark side was so twisted and black that even his brother feared for Selia’s life. Although petrified of Alrik's rage, Selia eventually fell in love with him and was able to calm him by reaching his brokenness with her own. The book is brilliantly written with several complex layers and subplots.  I found the characters, believable, fully developed and unique. I love finding new favorite authors, and Erin Riley is now one of them.  I highly recommend giving this compelling story a read. Kudos to Ms. Riley.

  • Amanda Masters
    2019-03-22 00:33

    This Book Was Given To Me By The Author In Exchange For An Honest ReviewThis was an amazing read! I love stories about Ragnar and his family and Erin doesn't disappoint in this chilling and romantic tale! Alrik Ragnarson is a brutal yet intriguing Viking who plunders Selia's home and family and marries her. His brother is the Ulfrik of a more genital nature befriends her and tries to help explain why his brother is the way he is and of the Ragnar curse upon his family.I couldn't get enough of this book it had me hooked from the very start! so much drama and history all rolled up together! and Alrik's mood swings! wow! I have never seen anyone go from fine to stark raving mad so fast! talk about was good for him though and I believe that they made a great pair. I can't wait to read more to the story, I found every inch of it fascinating.I really liked Ulfrik and I felt sorry for him a lot having to play second fiddle to his brothers madness all his life couldn't have been easy. He took the brunt of his anger time and again to help others and he really was a good guy beneath it all. I wish good things for him and I hope he gets it in the next book. The Harpy of a daughter of Alrik's is another story, I hope they keep her well away from Selia's brother! that it wouldn't be deserving for the both of them to be stuck I kind of like him.Erin did a smashing job on this one and I can't wait to read more! if you haven't gotten your copy do so today!

  • Jonel Boyko
    2019-03-07 21:51

    This is an action packed historical romance that I definitely took notice of. Riley develops her plot in such a manner that readers become invested in the plight of the main characters. I appreciated the fact that things weren’t easy for them, but neither did we find a ‘Romeo & Juliette’ tragedy looming. The history behind the setting is sound. It’s not a textbook. It’s accurate to the point where Riley takes creative licence with it to create her fictional tale. I thoroughly appreciated that. I did find Riley’s writing to be choppy at times. It broke up the flow of the story. That said, it also allowed me to take a closer look at Riley’s intriguing characters. Riley brought her world to life in a vivid manner that allowed me to picture each aspect of it.The intrigue amongst the characters is what held me most captive throughout. Right up until the end I was trying to guess what side of the fence certain characters stood on. It was great. The character development was in-depth without going overboard. I appreciated the staggered character development. Not only does Riley not bombard readers with loads of information all at once, rather allowing us to get to know the characters gradually, main characters are much more developed than the minor characters, allowing for a great contrast. As a whole, this was a great read. Riley takes historical romance and makes it her own with her intriguing Vikings.

  • S.J. Higgins
    2019-03-09 23:37

    I can add a new author to my list of favourites. Erin Riley simply blew my mind away with this refreshingly original tale. A gripping storyline with surprising twists which kept me on the edge of my seat. Just when I thought I had a handle on the story and felt sure I knew where it was going – another left field twist would leave me reeling. This was an entertaining read packed with drama, action and shock value. The characters are well developed, the heroine is naïve and tough and battles with the moral dilemma of loving a man so terribly evil. I love that she stands up to her brutish, Viking husband when everyone else including his family fears him. Alrik is a murderous Viking who makes no excuses for his barbarian ways. I kept wondering how the author would possibly be able to redeem him to readers. Yes, there were times when I was sympathetic towards him even when I knew I shouldn’t be - which is a testament to the author’s writing ability. I do wish that some of the things he’d done would come out as horrible misunderstandings so I could forgive him but alas, it was not so. That being said, it is one of those reads where you feel as though you are living the story and I loved that.I can’t wait to read the next book in the series. Do yourself a favour and grab a copy of this book. It’s a must read. Brilliant.

  • Sarah Stuart
    2019-03-04 18:54

    This is a very readable and utterly amazing story told mainly by the heroine, Selia. History is one of my passions but I’ve rarely found a historical novel that uses an accurate background so well. I found myself living in Ireland in the ninth century and understanding the fear of Viking raids that mothers used as warnings to stop children wandering. It doesn’t prevent rebellious Selia from going to look at a fleet of Viking Longships when she should be shopping close to home. When she meets Alric Ragnarson, a Viking Warlord, Selia is dreading her betrothal to a man sixty years her senior and impotent: instead she finds herself attracted to the charismatic, golden-haired, God-like figure who towers over her, hating and lusting for him when he forces her to marry him and travel north up the coast of Norway to his home.The story gains pace still more… a bloody battle at sea to capture a cargo of wine… graphic sex with easily-angered Alric whose male beauty hides a dark, tormented mind… dangerous friendship with Alric’s illegitimate half-brother…The blurb promises obsession, treachery, revenge and redemption: add passion, drama and shocking, unguessed twists! “Odin’s Shadow” delivers it all, in spades.

  • Mary Blowers
    2019-03-23 19:49

    Odin’s Shadow, by Erin S. Riley, was an enjoyable read with plot twists and turns. Fate made the best of things for Irish Selia, orphaned in childhood with her twin brother, when they were found by an adoptive father to care for them. He was a merchant and provided an adequate living for the children, until Selia was compelled to go off with a warrior captain of the Finngall race at 16. She insisted he marry her rather than make her a slave, and the strong willed man complied--though he killed the priest.Thus began Selia and Alric’s battle of wills, among strangers, and far away from her home and family. He was a fierce man and frequently reminded Selia to “do as she was told.” She watched as he abused others, even his own teenage daughter, and despaired that she had married a wicked man. Worse, more than one person told her he would kill her in one of his fits of rage. She feared him, even while she loved him, and loved him even while he lied to her and refused to trust her.Odin’s Shadow is a complex tale of simple people in tricky circumstances. I was pleased to see some Christian principles in the story. But will Selia survive? Will she see her brother again? Watch for the surprise as the plot thickens and heats up—much like a pot of Irish stew.

  • C.N.
    2019-03-02 17:46

    I read the second book in this series and just had to come back to see how it all began. This is a thrilling saga that is more than a romance between people, it is a great insight into life and living in the days of the Vikings.Selia and her brother are foundlings, brought up by Niall but also Selia is over-protected by him as Niall is terrified the foundling daughter he has come to love will die an agonising death in childbirth as did his own beloved wife. When he arranged for Selia to marry an old man who is impotent, she tries to come to terms with this, until she sees the handsome Viking Alrick. There is instant chemistry between them, leading to Selia accepting him as husband after some persuasion. What she doesn't know about Alrick is something she must face as it comes to light.One of the things I love most about this story is how Selia grows and evolves with the circumstances happening around her. I was also fascinated to learn more about something that was in the second book. Can't say what as it would be a spoiler. This is a gripping story that I loved. I am going to be looking out for more from this author.

  • Ellie Midwood
    2019-03-24 00:48

    Ok, I’m obsessed with this book! I love historical fiction genre as a whole, but this one is just a masterpiece, seriously. It’s not just the setting, taking you back to the times when terrifying and mysterious Finngalls were raiding the shores of Ireland, it’s the main characters that pull you right into the story, and make it impossible to put the book down.I was absolutely fascinated with how the main love theme was played out: Selia, an innocent Irish girl just coming of age, basically gets snatched up from her own family by a Viking warlord, and her growing attraction mixed with fear for her new husband was just masterfully written. Haunted by her own demons, Selia is trying to understand what lies behind Alrik’s volatile temper, and soon finds the way to his carefully guarded heart with the power of her love. I loved the dynamics of their relationship, I loved the mystery behind Selia’s childhood fears, and I loved the way the story unraveled in the end, it was just brilliant! I’m definitely getting the second book in the series, because I just have to know what happens to my new favorite characters next.

  • Deba
    2019-03-14 20:41

    I totally agree with Regan Walker when she states, "I found this story exciting and captivating. I could not put it down. It is well told... Riley does not spare us the brutality of the Viking warriors who were quick to kill to take something they wanted. And her characters reflect her understanding of human psychology so there is great depth here. It is unusual story in that the tale does not end with this book, but continues on through the next two, but you can still enjoy this one while waiting for the next.I highly recommend this story to all you Viking romance lovers. There’s no fantasy here, no paranormal and nothing modern to distract. It’s a pure authentic Viking saga and, in my opinion, great storytelling!" I could have not said it better. This was not usually my genre, but I was given this book for free for my honest review. So glad I got a chance to read it, I have finished thik, and now I can not wait till the other ones come out.I will update my review when I have completed it. Thank you Erin S. Riley for a great story, Keep them coming. : )

  • May Sage
    2019-03-25 22:40

    I tried it out because of the amazing reviews, although it's not my usual genre; I thought I knew exactly what I was stepping into... Boy, was I wrong. Viking/Barbarian prose is usually a bit awkward because the authors try too hard to get an old feeling, that just doesn't suit their writing, but Ms. Riley has a modern, clear, well constructed thing going; it makes it easy to get into. What definitely make you understand that it is a Viking romance is the behaviour of the characters. To be frank? Some thing seemed a bit "wow, wait a minute... Really??" But I liked that: it made the book gripping, unpredictable - two things that romance generally aren't. I would recommend it to people who are tired to sweet nonsense; because frankly? There isn't a lot of that there. It's not for the faint hearted, though... Altogether, we have a good characterisation, although I don't really understand Selia, a great style, and a gripping plot... What else could you ask for?

  • Erin
    2019-03-05 20:35

    Throughout this book I have laughed, gotten really pissed off (in a good way that shows I like the book and can't stop reading long enough to cook pasta without burning the house down), and I have had to take a pause reading, just to think about what I would do if I were in that situation. I didn't know what to expect walking into this one, but don't let the cover fool you into thinking this is just some cheesy romance novel because it isn't. Its truly a game of chess being played before your eyes if you can recognize the pieces. Each character was in some way moving another character into a different position for their own benefit, and each character had secrets that were truly treacherous, harmful, or just plain interesting to discover. I think main themes that can be seen clear as day are family, culture, love, deceit, and strength. Check out my full review here:

  • Teri Donaldson
    2019-03-03 23:48

    I have never read a book about Norse Vikings before. This one really opened my eyes!The story centers around Selia and her relationship with Alrik. I won't detail the plot as many reviewers before me already have.This author really did her research for this one. The images the words presented to me were very real. This is not a happily ever after fairy tale. It is raw, real and gripping. The characters are not always likable. At times, I wanted to throttle Alrik and shake some sense into Selia. Selia's love for Alrik was undeniable which at times was very difficult to understand. There are many twists and turns which keeps you wanting more as you furiously turn the pages. You get to the end and you think wow, what just happened. Time to download book 2 to continue with the adventure!

  • Kat Loves
    2019-03-05 22:34

    This book was so gripping I read it in one day simply because I couldn't put it down. I'm not a huge fan of books set in the past, but this one wowed me so much that I will now look at them in a different light and I will definitely be devouring more books from this author as soon as I get my hands on them. This book has so many twists and turns that it will leave you breathless and speechless but wanting more. The characters are so well written that i felt like I knew them all and i had some I loved and some I disliked immensely but throughout the story my opinions changed as more was revealed about each character and what they have been through. I recommend this story to anyone who likes a story that is not all roses and sunshine but drama and action and of course a healthy dose of love thrown in somewhere.

  • Molly
    2019-03-05 17:50

    A powerful historical romance set in the late 9th century Ireland. An Irish woman is about to be married to the man her father chose for her when she is 'rescued' by a Viking who 'persuades' her father to let him marry her instead.Told from her at first somewhat naive point of view the love story takes unexpected turns. The romance part is particularly well done, you can feel the passion and the inner conflicts as she falls for the man who forced her hand, but remains ambiguous.I loved the way the book uses as much original language as possible. I recently started watching the Vikings on TV and found Riley very capable of instilling the same excitement for the era in me as the TV series.Great characters and attention to detail make this very worth your while. A must for fans of Viking literature and powerful romances.

  • Ronesa Aveela
    2019-03-22 22:44

    Odin's Shadow tells the story of a young Irish girl who sets off to Norway with a Viking lord. It was an era when women were bartered to husbands, and were virtually no more than slaves, the property of their husbands. She fears her beserker husband, and yet learns to love him despite his flaws. It seems the only thing that redeems him is her love. One quote from the book says this well: "Her love for Alrik was a shadowy, desperate thing clawing up from the depths of her soul."The story delves into the psychological aspects of the Beserkers, a topic the author is quite capable of exploring and giving the reader her perspective of what caused these fearsome men to break out into savage rages. The story is well thought out and complex, and has unexpected twists. If you're a lover of historical novels of any time period as I am, you'll enjoy this story and its authenticity.