Review: Under the Midnight Sun by Lore Graham

The eldest son of Thunderhill's warrior-kings, Otto Johanson lives for battle but has forsaken love since the death of his partner three years ago. Still when the Midsummer festivities bring nomadic reindeer herders back to town, Otto can't help but notice the handsome, if sullen, Lukas.

Tension rises between them during the annual tournament, but when a terrible attack devastates Thunderhill, Otto and Lukas must put aside their burgeoning rivalry to embark on a dangerous quest that may be the town's only hope of survival.

Truly a well thought out novella bridging history, fantasy, and magic!

If you like the show Vikings, then I don’t think there will be any problem gobbling this up. Who can say no to a Ragnar-like character who’s a heartbroken warrior prince that doesn’t want to write off love but is still grieving? Not me!

Otto is well respected and next in line to the throne of his clan, and for every Midsummer, their nomad allies join them in celebration and friendly competition to show off their prowess and various skills for bragging rights. When Otto spots newcomer Lukas, he doesn’t quite know what to think of the surly warrior, and these two clash immediately. However, the festivities are cut short when they’re attacked by the fierce magical fiend Ursa Magnus (yes, it’s basically a giant blood thirsty bear) and Otto knows he must hunt it down and kill it instead of waiting for the beast to return to wreck even greater havoc.

Thus the mission begins as Otto, along with clan sorcerers and volunteer warriors (including Lukas), set off in search of the terrible creature. Slowly, Otto and Lukas get to know each other better and a burgeoning respect starts to grow between them as they face difficult challenges and sad sacrifices. These men are hardened, they know loss and death and pain, yet bravely forge on to live only to fight another day. Survival of the fittest is the ultimate at play here so it would also behoove them to act on their feelings and grab what little happiness and warmth they can glean from a world hell bent on testing their mortality from every angle.

Why this garners such a high rating is because my interest never flagged, and I loved this story’s setting of harsh survival in a Nordic context. This was fast paced blending an impossible quest and how two men, who definitely got off on the wrong foot, slowly open their hearts up to each other - all the while bringing the action, hurt comfort, and the sexy with a very satisfying conclusion. Well done Lore Graham. This was a wonderful win!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

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