In the third volume of the fascinating Northlanders series, Brian Wood takes readers on new adventures into the world and history of the Vikings. What makes Northlanders such an interesting and original series are Wood’s storylines, beginning in the first volume with Sven, but then taking readers on different tangents and facets of the Vikings. The series is like a full history course on the Vikings, all told through the medium of the graphic novel.
In Blood in the Snow, Wood begins with the monastery at Lindisfarne, one of the richest and favorite areas to attack and pillage, exploring the way of life for some Vikings, consistently attacking and ransacking for more riches. In the second story, “The Viking Art of Single Combat,” Wood tells the tale of a battle between two champions, between two families who have been at war with each other for generations. After this battle, they will be at peace for a little while. As these two war veterans face off, the reader sees their world and their lives through their eyes, understanding what they hold dear, and why their revenge is so strong.
In the third tale, “The Shield Maidens” – which deserves some awards – Wood tells the story of three Viking wives who are trapped and under attack from a hoard of Saxons, and how they work together, use their strengths, and miraculously escape, separated, with their lives, and their reunite years later. In the final tale, “Sven the Immortal,” the reader sees a Sven now old but still strong, who must fight for his family and his life one more time.
The Northlanders series just gets better with each volume, keeping readers hooked with interest and wonder at what story Brian Wood is going to tell next, what journey he will take the Vikings on, and what battles will be waged. Well researched, this series is one of the best there is being written today in the world of graphic novels.
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Originally written on May 18 2010 ©Alex C. Telander.
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