Title: Immortal Warrior
Author: Lisa Hendrix
Genre: Historical PNR/Year 1095
Series: Immortal Brotherhood/Book 1
Published: November 2008
From the back cover ~
He came to England in search of treasure. Two hundred years later, he’s found her…
Ivar Graycloak is a brave warrior, a man known for his strength and integrity. He is also a man with a terrible secret. Long ago he was part of a Viking crew cursed by an evil sorceress to live for eternity as were-creatures. An eagle by day and a man by night, Ivar has lived a solitary existence for over two centuries. Then the king orders him to marry.
Lady Alaida is everything a man could want in a bride—intelligent, spirited, and beautiful—and their wedding night is a balm to Ivar’s lonely spirit. Then a seer brings him word of a dark vision, one that makes Ivar vow to stay away from his lovely wife forever. But now that Ivar has sampled Alaida’s passion, her humor and warmth, he is enthralled. His traitorous body-his very heart-longs for that which hecan never possess.
Lady Alaida may surprise him yet, though, for she has a power of her own-a power that will either destroy everything they hold dear or ultimately set them free…
I've had this book for a while, two copies as it turns out, more on that later. I even blogged about it here. (Got the part about them being men only at night wrong.) Why did I waited so long to read it? I'll blame the TBR pile and my fellow bloggers who keep recommending such wonderful books that I can't keep up. :) But when I remembered that the second book was coming out I thought it was a good time to start the first. Boy am I glad I did! What first caught my attention about this series was that it was historical as well as paranormal. It's the magic that makes it PNR. A witch cursed the nine Vikings so some must take animal form during the day and some take that from at night. That twist makes things more interesting IMO.
It's the year 1095 and Sir Ivo de Vassy (Ivar Graycloak) has been alive for over 200 years. Years in which he has spent the days as an eagle and the nights as a man. It hasn't been easy for him to keep his secret, he's had to move often, never staying long in one place to make friends or have any kind of real home. Lately, he has been spying for William Rufus, England's current king. Being an eagle during the day allowed Ivo to listen to conversation he would not have had the chance to had he been in his human form. An eagle as a spy... cool. The King had no idea how Ivo was able to get all the information he did but he was very pleased with it. So pleased that he sent Ivo to the north, giving him land and a bride.
Lady Alaida ~ I liked her a lot. She was smart and confident. Even when she was shaking with fear on the inside she still held herself together on the outside. She was bold at times with her words and not afraid to use her intellect to keep her people and her home safe and out of harm's way. She realizes quickly that she is in no position to do battle with Ivo. Not that she wants to wed him but she can hardly tell him no since it's by William's order and her grandfather is currently his prisoner. So she makes the best of it but doesn't make it easy on Ivo. Of course when he has to leave each morning before sun-up that only adds to the tension in their relationship.
Ivo and Alaida together were even better. Their love story was bitter sweet since Ivo knew he wouldn't be able to stay for long. He figured it was only a matter of time before he must leave before people would start to question why he was never there during the day. Alaida and Ivo both came to care for each other but for Alaida it was difficult because she didn't know where Ivo went during the day. He told her he went hunting and that basically it was none of her concern. She knew he didn't hunt everyday - he rarely brought back any kills. She tried not to let it bother her that he left every morning but it bothered her deeply and kept her from trusting him.
Even though this is the first book in the series the world building and rules were woven into the story quite well. It's not as complex as some PNR series but there is the history of the men and how they have survived all these years that is covered. We learn through conversations and internal dialogue between Ivo, Brand and Ari how they came to be cursed and what they have been doing these past centuries. There is also a distinct feel for the time period. From the descriptions of the clothing to the workings of the keep and building of a castle. Everything gave the feel of that period. There were in fact a few things I needed to look up, it's been a while since I read anything set in this period. Overall, I certainly got the sense that the author did her homework on the time period.
Brand and Ari are two of the nine cursed and keep in close contact with Ivo. They both journey to Alnwick to see this land and bride that Ivo has been given. Spending time with Alaida and getting to know the people of the north. Sir Ari is the storyteller of the group and he keeps a journal of what happens to the men. Brand was the leader of the Vikings and the one that killed the son of the sorceress, bringing about the curse. He carries a heavy burden and spends his time searching for the sorceress. The relationship between these warriors was remarkable to read. The way they looked out for each other, had the others backs. They did this even with Ari human during the day and Brand and Ivo human at night. They still maintained that bond of brothers in arms.
The changing from man to animal doesn't affect each warrior the same. Some maintain more of what you could call their human perception. While others seem to become the animal completely and are dangerous because of it. Brand for one becomes the bear during the day and when he changes back to a man he doesn't remember what he did as a bear. Where as Ivo, while in his eagle form, is aware of his surroundings as they relate to his human side. He even spends time follow Alaida when she travels so that she refers to him as "her eagle."
The nine different animals that the men take the form of are: Eagle, Bear, Raven, Bull, Lion, Horse, Wolf, Stag and Dog. I like the fact that Hendrix went with some of the less traditional weres like the Stag, Bull and Horse. The Bull ~ LOL. I can't help but grin when I think of that one. Sorry. ;)
The progress of the love story, the search for the sorceress and a way to break the curse drove the story line. I was surprised at how fast I read this one. I seem to read historicals the slowest of the various genres but this had a quick pace that kept me eager to see what would happen next. Speaking of next, the next book in the series Immortal Outlaw was just released on Tuesday - I'm almost done with it. It's got a bit of a twist on the Robin and Marian fable. So far a very fun read. More info on Lisa Hendrix and her books can be found here.
The Giveaway ~ I mention earlier in the post that I have two copies of this book. Not sure how that happened. I had one on my TBR bookcase then I found another one still in the Borders bag. I'll blame it on the fact that it was the holidays when this book was released and things were very hectic. I have a reputation in my family for buying Christmas gifts, hiding them and then not finding them until a few months after Christmas. :)
So leave a comment on this post and I'll pick a random commenter to win the Borders copy of Immortal Warrior. The contest will run until midnight, next Thursday, June 11. Contest is open to residents of US and Canada.
Week in Photos: A Few Days by the Sea
10 hours ago