Askelaad and his forces, including Thorfinn, have become entwined with the Danish forces laying siege to England in the early 1000s. They first try to invade London, but a turncoat Viking is helping fortify London’s channel. Askelaad sends Thorfinn to bring back the head of this traitor, Thorkell, but Thorfinn only succeeds in cutting off a few fingers. Askelaad’s forces then save the Danish prince from being captured by Thorkell, and all they can think about is the reward from the king for saving his son. Askelaad leads his men into Wales where he has some allies, and we learn more about his lineage, which is impressive and surprising. Thorfinn is assigned to guard the prince, but Thorfinn can’t get over how weak and feminine this prince is.
This story goes into a part of history that I know hardly anything about, and I’m really curious to find out more about the Danish invasion of England and how the Vikings played a role in that. This definitely doesn’t feel like a history book, though. Yukimura inserts some maps every so often that shows where Thorfinn has been in England, and they represent where the Danish forces went during this invasion of England. Yukimura also borrows some names from history, as Thorkell is a real Viking who was part of the Danish siege on England. While history is tangled all throughout this story, Yukimura also weaves a complicated, beautiful story of a very conflicted young man who is tasked with doing some pretty horrible things on the off chance he will finally get to avenge his father. Thorfinn is a wonderfully dark-and-twisty character who readers will fall in love with.
The drawings in this series are incredibly detailed and beautiful. Yukimura mixes lots of heavy lines with subtle, soft lines, and there is a lot of texture to his illustrations. Everything is detailed - characters, their clothing, their surroundings, their weapons. Characters are so expressive and the art is so immersive that it'll take some time picking through all of these panels for the beautiful gems.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Publication Date: January 21, 2014
ISBN: 9781612624211 (Hardcover)
Tags: Rating: 10/10, Suitability: High School, Manga, Action Adventure, Historical Fiction, War, Kodansha
I've been reading manga and comicbooks for years. Now, I write reviews and other helpful things for School Librarians, teachers, parents, and students.
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