The Road to Vengeance (The Strongbow Saga Series #3)

The Road to Vengeance (The Strongbow Saga Series #3)

4.6 29
by Judson Roberts, Luc Reid

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In this third installment of the Strongbow Saga series, the Danish attack on Western Frankia continues. But as the invading Danes push deeper into the heartland of the Frankish kingdom, the mighty Frankish army, which far outnumbers them, gathers.

The Strongbow Saga is an epic tale of one man's unstoppable quest for justice and vengeance that carries him across the

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In this third installment of the Strongbow Saga series, the Danish attack on Western Frankia continues. But as the invading Danes push deeper into the heartland of the Frankish kingdom, the mighty Frankish army, which far outnumbers them, gathers.

The Strongbow Saga is an epic tale of one man's unstoppable quest for justice and vengeance that carries him across the 9th century world of the Vikings. In The Road to Vengeance, Halfdan continues to gain experience, and win renown, as a warrior. But he will have to survive many dangers, from the Franks as well as from those within the Danish army who seek his death, in order to fulfill his vow of vengeance.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy DaPolito
In 845, Halfdan, a teenage Viking warrior, returns to Ruda (modern-day Rouen) with Genevieve, a Frankish nun he has taken prisoner. Though he began life as a slave born to a Danish chieftain and a captured Irish noblewoman, he was freed at his father's death and is now fighting under Hastein, a Viking captain who values Halfdan's skills with both bow and sword. His ultimate goal is to avenge the death of his half-brother, Harald, assassinated by another half-brother, Toke. Halfdan is a sharp strategist and a fierce fighter, yet he dislikes what he considers unnecessary killing and does his best to protect innocents who get in the way of warriors. Genevieve, his captive, is the daughter of Count Robert, ruler of Paris, but the two young people eventually cultivate a deep friendship and an understanding that both of them have been enslaved, for Genevieve's father has given her to the church against her will and she must return to the abbey when the count ransoms her. Both also believe deeply in honor. Halfdan is determined to keep his promise to avenge his brother and to permit no harm to come to Genevieve. Genevieve, though she doesn't want to be a nun, will not renounce her vows. Halfdan spends much of the book developing his warrior skills in bloody battles and fighting or eluding the men sent by Toke to kill him. Near the end, when he and Genevieve meet again in Paris after a Viking attack on the city, both realize how much they love each other and how hopeless their situation is. This compelling novel ends with the celebration of the Viking victory and Halfdan's defeat of one of his enemies in a duel fought in front of Hastein, Ragnar the warrior chief, and the rest of the Vikingarmy. The book is the third in the series called "The Strongbow Saga," and the ending points toward more voyages and adventures to come. Reviewer: Judy DaPolito

Product Details

Northman Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.68(d)
Age Range:
14 - 17 Years

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The Strongbow Saga, Book Three: The Road to Vengeance

Chapter One

What Is His Plan?

An arrow whispered out of the dark and thudded into something solid. The sound startled me awake, and I reached out, frantically searching for my weapons. My hand hit something—I could not tell what—that fell over with a loud clatter.

"Hush!" a voice nearby said. "They cannot see us, but they are shooting at sounds."

The voice—it was Tore's—pulled me the rest of the way from my sleep, and I remembered where I was.

The Gull, the longship of Hastein, my captain, and the Bear, Ivar the Boneless's ship, were anchored, lashed side by side, in the middle of the Seine River. We were deep in the heart of Frankia. Dusk had been falling when they'd plucked me from the riverbank, where Frankish warriors had surrounded me. Deciding it was too dangerous to try to navigate the unfamiliar waters of the Seine in the dark, Hastein and Ivar had decided to wait the night out in the middle of the river, as far as possible from Frankish archers lurking along the shore.

Tore and Odd were crouched nearby, their bows strung with arrows nocked and ready, peering between the shields lashed along the side of the Gull.

"Do you see anything?" Tore whispered.

Odd shook his head. "No," he answered. "The shoreline is too far, and the shadows from the trees along it hide too much. He is somewhere over there, though," he added, pointing slightly upstream with his free hand, "judging from the angle of the last arrow that hit the side."

I was lucky to be alive; lucky to have returnedunharmed from the dangerous scouting mission our army's leaders had sent me on. I could still feel the fear of knowing that the time of my death was upon me. Yet once more, against all odds, I had survived. Once more, for reasons known only to them, the Norns had chosen not to cut the threads of my life, but instead had kept me alive and a part of the great pattern of fate they were weaving; the fate of all men and of the world itself. I had survived, but my death had felt so near and so certain that I could not shake its grasp from my heart.

Late the following afternoon, we reached Ruda, the Frankish town along the river that our army had captured and made its base. I did not want to return to the home of Wulf, the gruff Frankish sea captain, where I had been billeted before being sent out on the scouting mission. If I'd been alone, I would have gone to the palace, where the rest of the Gull's crew had made their quarters. But I was not alone. I had a prisoner.

When I pushed the door of his house open and stepped inside, Wulf, who was seated at the table in the main room, scrambled to his feet. For a moment he was speechless with surprise. Perhaps he'd thought—or even hoped—that I was dead. Quickly enough, though, he recovered both his wits and his voice, and began protesting loudly.

"I was not expecting you to return here. The town is calm now, and at peace. We no longer need your protection."

What he said was true. Most of our army was encamped on an island in the river just upstream from Ruda, rather than in the town itself, and Ragnar, the army's war-king, had forbidden our men from harassing the town's citizens. Soon enough we might be facing the main Frankish army. Ragnar did not want a hostile populace at our backs to deal with, in addition to a besieging force, if we had to defend ourselves from behind Ruda's walls.

"Why have you come back here?" Wulf continued. "Why do you not stay with the rest of your captain's men in the count's palace?"

Bertrada, Wulf's wife, was standing behind him, wringing her hands, an anxious expression on her face. I knew she could not understand what he was saying—Wulf was speaking to me in my own tongue, rather than the version of Latin spoken by the Franks. But his anger was obvious from the tone of his voice. No doubt she feared I might take offense. In truth, I was beginning to.

I pointed behind me. "I have come back to your home because of her. She is my prisoner. I need quarters where she will be safe." Surely Wulf could understand that. A woman—particularly one as young and comely as my captive—could not be housed in a hall filled with hardened warriors.

"You are concerned for her safety?" he exclaimed, and rolled his eyes—an insolent gesture which angered me. "Is this not a woman you stole? If her well-being worries you so, why did you take her? Surely she would have been safe if you'd left her with her own folk!

"I am running low on food," Wulf continued. "So long as your fleet is on the river, and our land is under attack by your army, I am unable to take my ship out—I am unable to trade. I can earn nothing with which to buy food for my own family. I cannot afford to feed two extra mouths. She is your problem. She is not my concern."

Genevieve, my prisoner, was standing just inside the doorway, slumped back against the wall, staring at us dully. She had stumbled from fatigue several times during the short walk from the river to Wulf's home, and looked as though she might fall asleep on her feet at any moment.

I felt almost as weary as Genevieve looked. I had been close to exhaustion before Hastein and Ivar had rescued me, and had slept little since. The Franks had been angry at losing Genevieve when they'd believed her rescue was assured. The archers they'd sent creeping to the river's edge had kept up a steady, if ineffectual, fire at us during the night. No one on board either ship had been hit, but after having been hunted for several days by the Franks, the occasional whistle of an arrow passing overhead, unseen in the dark, or the thud of a low shot striking the side of the ship had been enough to keep my nerves on edge, and had made sound sleep impossible.

The Strongbow Saga, Book Three: The Road to Vengeance. Copyright © by Judson Roberts. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Over his long and varied career, Judson Roberts has been a police officer, federal agent, organized crime prosecutor, and private investigator. He is also a descendant of Rollo, also known as Rolf or Hrolf, the Viking leader who in 911 AD entered into a treaty with the King of the Western Franks and was granted the lands located around the mouth of the Seine River which eventually became known as Normandy, after the Northmen who settled there. He lives on a small farm on the edge of the Cascade Mountains near Eugene, Oregon, where he is currently working on the next volume in the Strongbow Saga series.

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