Book Review – Council (Helga Finnsdottir 2) by Snorri Kristjansson – historical fiction

Here’s the blurb;

“After five years on the road, Helga has finally settled near King Eirik’s court in Uppsala, where she’s well-regarded as a healer. She’s even in a relationship, of sorts.

But life is about to get a bit more exciting, for King Eirik has summoned all those who owe him fealty to the King’s Council and tempers are already flaring. The body of an unknown boy is found near the river, but with delegations from all over the country arriving and rumours of an imminent attack, there are more important things to attend to than the death of a nobody . . .

Only Helga suspects murder, until a second body makes it clear that someone is intent on breaking up the King’s Council – and that a traitor walks among them . . .”

Council by Snorri Kristjansson is not an ‘easy’ read, but rather a worthwhile one.

Beginning a few years after the events of Kin, the start of Council is a little jarring. I imagine those lucky enough to read Kin and then head straight into Council will not have the same problem of trying to remember who everyone is, and what happened in the previous book.

Which begs the question, do you need to have read Kin to enjoy Council? Possibly not, although it does add to the background story of the main character, and Kin is an excellent book, well worth reading.

Council is deeply ingrained in the day to day lives of the people of Uppsala, and there are many factions and people to come to know, although the story threaded through it is not complicated. The hints of events in the wider world keep the reader hooked – references to Hedeby and Harald Bluetooth.

Yet, it is in the final stages of the novel that the story really comes alive. While some of the book had been a struggle – I was disappointed that it ended when it did, although it does hint at much more to come for the main character.

I have a feeling this might be a ‘bridging’ book, between Kin, and what might happen to Helga in the future, and I find the possibilities exciting.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for my review copy.

Council is available now.

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