These three novels in the series Kindred of the Sea, by C.J. Adrien, are aimed at a young adult/teen audience:
The Line of His People (Book 1)
France, 799 A.D.
Northmen sacked the monastery at dawn before anyone had awakened. They burned the village and slaughtered all who stood in their path. The relics of Saint Philbert were lost and the island was abandoned by those who once dwelled there. Sixteen years later, a monk named Abriel who had survived the attack as a boy is sent to recover the relics to help restore the reputation and legitimacy of Saint Philbert. What he discovers on his journey changes his life forever. Northmen had colonized the island in the absence of the monks. They hold the key to finding the relics, but they have greater plans for Abriel, plans that will take him to the North to find his destiny.
The Oath of the Father (Book 2)
France, 822 A.D.
Abriel Haraldsson is prey on the run. He was injured in combat and taken by his men to the nearby monastery of Saint Philbert to be healed. With the best of intentions, the monks faked his death and took him away to a far-off island to be reconverted to their faith. Believing the king to be dead, suitors from the north descended upon the island of Herius with the intent to marry Queen Kenna whose small kingdom had grown wealthy from its salt trade. The powerful warlord Turgeis—known for his prowess in battle and lust for blood—set his sights upon the queen. When a messenger from afar returned with news that Abriel had survived his injuries, the warlord set to sea to ensure the king would never return. Thus began the hunt.
The Lady of the North (book 3) will be released in the Fall of 2016
Read an excerpt from The Oath of the Father
Chapter 1: Island of Herius, Summer 822 A.D.
A raven sat still on the lowest hanging branch of a bushy pine tree near the village well. The evening setting sun glared in the creature’s eye, affixed upon the village over which it sat. Its plumage was a deep black, clean and kept as though it had not known the harshness of nature. While it made no sound, its presence caught the attention of little Asa, daughter of King Abriel. The girl gazed upon its still body from the well where she had gathered water for her mother. As she stood, the mystical village seer Oddr approached her with great suspicion. He followed the young girl’s gaze to the tree and then to the raven. Oddr removed his dark hood to look upon the bird with a deep stare. His brow sank over his dark brown eyes. The raven’s head turned slowly and fixed its eyes on Asa. As the raven did so, Oddr shouted in its direction and opened his arms wide to scare the bird away from the village.
“What are you doing?” Asa screamed as she chased after Oddr, her blonde locks flowing in the cool island breeze.
Oddr paused and turned eerily toward the girl. He stepped back and eclipsed her with his shadow, his black cloak a deep, endless void into pure darkness.
“Find your father,” said the seer in a deep, tonal voice. “Do this now, girl. It is a matter of life and death.”
Asa picked up the bottom of her brown farm dress to free her ankles and dashed across the village to the salt marshes on the outskirts of town where she found her father raking salt into a neat mound. Abriel, the recently chosen king of the island, worked hard with his people to earn a living. Drenching sweat had caused his tunic to cling uncomfortably to his skin. Out of the corner of his eye, he caught a faint glimpse of his daughter running frantically in his direction. He set his wooden rake against the large salt mound beside him and began to walk toward his daughter with concern. Asa ran into his arms.
“What troubles you, Asa?” Abriel asked, surprised by his daughter’s sudden appearance.
“Oddr,” she said sternly, gazing with her ocean blue eyes at her father. “He wants to see you. He is frightened.”
Abriel paused. The island of Herius had known peace for many years without trouble, but Oddr was not one to ignore in his warnings. Seers communed with the gods, an ability they used to foresee and foretell future dangers. Abriel took his daughter by the hand and walked her back into the village with a comforting, calm composure. They passed together through the northern gateway wedged within a row of wooden palisades the Northmen had erected to protect themselves from the threat of outsiders—especially the Franks. They lived within the kingdom of Louis the Pious unnoticed, but Abriel knew of the Franks’ lust for conquest, and therefore asked his people to construct defenses as a precaution.
Oddr had not left the tree where he had seen the raven. He sat frozen at the well, his eyes affixed upon an empty branch of the largest pine tree in the village. Abriel released his daughter’s hand and grasped Oddr by the shoulders.
“What is it?” Abriel asked quietly.
“A raven,” replied Oddr with a tremble in his voice. His gaze remained fixed. “It sat there,” he said as he raised a bony finger to point, “on that branch.”
“Why is that so bad, father?” asked Asa naively. She clasped her hands nervously as she spoke. “It was a pretty bird. I’ve never seen one like it.”
“Ravens do not live on this island,” said Abriel with deep concern. He released Oddr and turned toward the tree pensively. Calmly, he stroked his neatly groomed red beard as he thought over the significance of what Oddr had seen. The evidence was clear. “A Northman ship is near.”
“You have few allies among the kings of the North,” Oddr said ominously.
“Muster the warriors,” Abriel said in response. He gently pulled on his tunic to separate the wet fabric from his skin. “I will scout the beach with Cnut and Ulfr. If there are indeed Northmen on our doorstep, we will want to offer them a warm welcome.”
C.J. Adrien is a French-American author and scholar with a passion for Viking history. His Kindred of the Sea series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Bernard Cornwell and Ken Follett. Follow C.J. Adrien on Twitter (@), on Facebook (facebook.com/cjadrien), and on his website www.cjadrien.com. You can also follow his book series, Kindred of the Sea, on Facebook (Facebook.com/kindredofthesea) and twitter (twitter.com/kindredofthesea). For a more detailed bio, visit http://cjadrien.com/author-bio.