The Wolf Sea
Thomas Dunne Books — St. Martin’s Press (340 pages, Hardback, June 2008, First published in Great Britain by HarperCollins, $24.95)
Reviewed by Bill Ward
This follow-up to 2007’s The Whale Road, Robert Low’s debut novel of grim Viking adventurers questing for the lost horde of Attila the Hun, is a continuation of the story of the Oathsworn and their new and untested leader, Orm Rurisksson. Orm, still a teenager, earned a reputation as a ‘deep thinker’ amongst his Viking crew and was their choice for leader with the death of Einar the Black — the man who had led them on a doomed expedition to the very ends of the earth in the first book of this series.
The Wolf Sea begins in Miklagard — the Norse-termed ‘Great City’ of Constantinople — with the theft of the jeweled saber Orm rescued from the Volsung horde in The Whale Road. Valuable in and of itself, perhaps even magical, the saber is also the key to finding Attila’s silver because Orm has carved its hilt with runes that will act as a guide should the Oathsworn ever return to the steppe. It turns out the saber has fallen into the hands of their old enemy, Starkad, who also seeks the fabulous treasure but has no idea that he possesses the key to finding it. Starkad is convinced that Martin, the venal priest that journeyed with the Oathsworn in their quest for Attila’s tomb, knows the way to the treasure and he sets off to the Holy Land to find him — with Orm and the Oathsworn in pursuit.