Author: Miriam Newman
Publisher: DCL Publications
Buy Link: Buy The Eagle’s Woman Here!
Rating: You Gotta Read
Reviewed By: Erin
Son of an impoverished, dying Norse chieftain, Ari raids for booty and slaves so he can feed his people. Pagan himself, still he spares priests though he sells them. He’s a heathen, a murderer, and it is a sin for any Christian woman to love him. Yet when he abducts Maeve from her peaceful Irish fishing village, he may have found the one woman who can.
Reading The Eagle’s Woman was to me like sipping a rare wine. The taste, the aroma, the heady fire of the words–I wanted the sensation never to end. Ah, Miriam Newman, you are the keeper and dispenser of poetic prose. You make me drunk with the pleasure of reading.
Like the two other novels by Newman I have read, The King’s Daughter and Scion, this latest one focuses on one powerful man and the woman he has come to “own.” And like those two books, the man is strong, resilient, even sensitive; while the woman keeps herself at an ironic distance, measuring and unyielding, yet irresistibly drawn to him.
Unlike those previous novels, which were set in almost fantasy universes, The Eagle’s Woman takes place in a setting cold, beautiful and real–the ninth-century Norway of the Vikings. Newman describes longships on the rough sea, steamy sauna baths and fire-lit longhouses with the sureness of a writer who has been in those very places.
Ari is a Viking whose latest foray has captured Irish slaves for selling in Denmark. Among the women is Maeve, a gold-haired beauty who fights her captivity from the beginning as she is almost raped by one of the rude plunderers. She fights her confinement on the longship, and most of all she fights the nearness to Ari, to whom she now belongs by right of seizure. Even while struggling against him, she finds herself conflicted emotionally, seeing his compelling body and handsome face: “Well, he was a beautiful man, that was all. A beautiful, savage, murdering heathen.”
Ari himself is larger than life, almost like the majestic figurehead we imagine on the prow of a proud Viking ship. He is utterly enraptured by Maeve. Gazing on her, “His parts ached with immediate urgency.”At first he will not abuse her because he plans to sell her in Hedeby, a Danish port and center of a thriving slave trade. Later, as he begins to understand his own needs, he will not force her because he feels an honest admiration, and he respects her fighting instinct : “You could not put your heart in a woman’s hands. It was like handing a razor to a child–they would only cut it out without meaning to.”
The pace of the novel is swift and sure. The author takes us from the longship to Ari’s home in Norway; and from there to a distant coastline where Maeve has been brought as a captive again–this time by Ari’s malevolent half-brother.
At last Newman moves the reader to a long-awaited consummation of her characters’ passions, until finally Ari murmurs to his woman: “I want inside you. All of me, inside all of you.”
Here’s to beautiful writing, and to a satisfying love story. I raise my glass to you, Miriam Newman, and to your latest triumph The Eagle’s Woman.