Title: The Reluctant Berserker
Author: Alex Beecroft
Length: Novel (347 Pages)
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (February 25th, 2014)
Heat Level: Explicit
Heart Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥5Hearts
Blurb: Wulfstan, a noble and fearsome Saxon warrior, has spent most of his life hiding the fact that he would love to be cherished by someone stronger than himself. Not some slight, beautiful nobody of a harper who pushes him up against a wall and kisses him.
In the aftermath, Wulfstan isn’t sure what he regrets most—that he only punched the churl in the face, or that he really wanted to give in.
Leofgar is determined to prove he’s as much of a man as any Saxon. But now he’s got a bigger problem than a bloody nose. The lord who’s given him shelter from the killing cold is eyeing him like a wolf eyes a wounded hare.
When Wulfstan accidentally kills a friend who is about to blurt his secret, he flees in panic and meets Leofgar, who is on the run from his lord’s lust. Together, pursued by a mother’s curse, they battle guilt, outlaws, and the powers of the underworld, armed only with music…and love that must overcome murderous shame to survive.
Warning: Contains accurate depictions of Vikings, Dark Ages magic, kickass musicians, trope subversions and men who don’t know their place.
ISBN # 1619217430
Product Link: https://www.samhainpublishing.com/book/4923/the-reluctant-berserker
Review: It’s an interesting enough struggle to be dropped back in time to a land of barbarians, a land where Christianity is fighting to overtake Pagan religions, therefore, cleverly incorporating them. The Viking Berserker is a fighter, a warrior, the strongest of the strong, not a man to mess with…so how can he allow himself not only to fall to his attraction of men, but to his submissive desires as well? So many fabulous struggles, and I love that in my reading pleasures.
This is the emotional and political turmoil that Leofgar stumbles into…and easily ignites that Berserker’s rage. Wulfstain takes out all his frustration on the little musician that not only ignites his ire, but his lust. It’s a game of kiss or kill, and luckily, Leofgar escapes.
When the two come together again, both on the run, they pull together and explode apart many times. Each trying to understand themselves and their attraction, each vying for strength and recognition of their abilities and places in the world.
Through harrowing adventure, escape from killers, fighting for the suppressed, and finally fighting for each other, Wulfstain and Leofgar see that weakness and strength mean many different things, in the world, and to each other. That they each have unique strengths and personal weaknesses and that they complement each other making them stronger together.
The Reluctant Berserker is a long read, but there are many small adventures along the way, keeping the pace steady, and keeping my interest throughout. A fun step back in time, in some cases a historical that plays around with facts a bit, but puts me in another time and place nonetheless.