Thorkell and his warriors stuff their faces at a local inn and bemoan the winter that has put a stop to their glorious fighting. Then, they get word that Askelaad is holed up in a village north of them, and Thorkell rallies his men for a fast march to catch up. Askelaad puts Thorfinn on duty guarding prince Canute, which is how Thorfinn discovers Canute can cook. The Ear hears Thorkell's troops approaching, but it’s a little too late. They've only managed to build three sleds, which isn’t enough to take all their loot and people across the difficult snow-covered terrain. Askelaad decides to set his plans in motion, including robbing Canute of his most faithful servant. Some of Askelaad's men start to defect, hoping Thorkell will have better luck, but Thorkell has no place in his ranks for turncoats. Then, Askelaad's men start to fight against Askelaad, but his exceptional strength and fighting abilities keep him alive until Thorkell finally catches up. Despite his assignment to watch the prince, Thorfinn crashes back into the throngs of warriors, demanding the right to kill Askelaad himself. Thorkell challenges him to a duel for the honor of killing Askelaad, and reveals he knows much about Thors as he parries Thorfinn's attacks.
The way Yukimura weaves together current storyline with flashbacks is masterful. Most of the flashbacks occur during the fight scene between Thorfinn and Thorkell, making the scene feel longer and more brutal. Even though we all know what happens to Thors after volume one, learning more about him and learning about his life in this twisted timeline is still thrilling and engaging. However, this volume is exceptionally violent. There is torture as a man has the tips of his fingers cut off, an axe slices thru the skull of a horse, a man’s severed head is used as target practice, and of course, tons of men fighting and dying in "regular" combat. Yukimura's meticulously detailed drawings means the violence is really emphasized and realistic, so this might need to come with a trigger warning for patrons on torture and animal cruelty.
Sara's Rating: 10/10
Suitability Level: Grades 10-12
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
ISBN: 9781612624228 (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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