Brandyr, the Viking, is having a really bad day. What started as a trip to an alehouse has turned into a nightmare. He is poisoned and taken as a thrall, a slave to a widow, Katla, whose husband was killed by Brandyr’s father.
Katla is intrigued by her new slave, but is being pressured into marriage by her brothers. She has to decide between three potential husbands in order to secure the safety of her land. She agrees to meet the potential husbands, but really would much rather have Brandyr in her bed than one of her suitors.
Katla, who had a rather unhappy first marriage, is happy to have the pleasures of the flesh with Brandyr, though it is not acceptable to marry a thrall. Through a series of twists and turns, it becomes clear that she is not willing to live without him—nor is he willing to live without her.
Throw in some battles over land (Brandyr is a fire mage, with the gift of being able to control fire. This helps him in his quest to deal with invaders), a motherless baby, and a leperous king and you have the makings for this adventure. I confess that the relationship between Brandyr and Katla was the best part of the book (it was nice to see the man in the subservient position instead of the woman). The give and take as they negotiated their relationship was fun to read.
The weakest part of the book for me was the setting. Since the story took place among the Vikings, I would have liked a little more detail to differentiate the time and place of the novel. Truthfully, for the first third of the book, I thought the action took place on an imaginary planet. (The fire mage storyline only reinforced that thought.) As the story progressed, the Viking setting became more important, but even if the story had taken place on another planet, the story could have progressed in the same fashion.
Lord of Fire and Ice is a hot, steamy romance that is at its best when the focus is on the couple at its center—Brandyr and Katla. I enjoyed reading about how these two strong personalities came together. When the focus changed to other plot elements, I was not as entertained.
*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Regina