Trish's Reviews > The Road to Vengeance

The Road to Vengeance by Judson Roberts
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's review
Mar 27, 2009

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Read in March, 2009

** spoiler alert ** I still think it's strange that good fortune should shine so much on the character who has pledged his life to avenge the death of his brother. He's not just out to kill one man, but the one man in addition to all those who helped do the evil deed. It's a different view of the world that the Northmen share that they trust fate and do not understand how their enemies worship a god that has been dead for hundreds of years. Even the title "The Road to Vengeance" supports the idea that Halfdan is on a glorious and righteous quest. What happens in reality is that vengeance and hate eat a man alive, especially when plans are thwarted. The author succeeds in making us believe that Toke must die for the crimes he committed. In real life, I'm glad I don't have to judge or take action on those who choose evil over good. When I read, however, I'm longing for the confrontation. Halfdan is lead by his close attention to his gutt feelings and strong grip on honor. He's not enjoying the killing, so we hope he'll survive the bad dreams he is having. I like Halfdan — he's like Jason Bourne or Jack Bauer — unstoppable. That part of the book is predictable because without him there will be no more books. Still, I was worried for him wondering how he would get out of each predicament when the odds always seem stacked against him. In this book, two things threaten to undo him... an epic battle and the daughter of a count who is also a nun.

I actually stopped and wondered if I should let Sarah read this one because of how the nun recognizes what she is about to do is sin and then says, "but I don't care" while dropping her clothing. The chapter ends there without any details whatsoever. Then I remembered that Sarah has already read this book before me, so now I have to talk with her and make sure she understands that the nun broke covenants and it's a bad thing even though we want the nun and Halfdan to be together. I wondered where the author could go with this, and I predict that Halfdan will either repeat the history his parents lived, or the nun will stay a nun. Either way, Halfdan will win. He's the hero.

As for the epic battle, I appreciate that these books are historical fiction. These events have actually happened with a few liberties to help the story along. I like the historical notes given at the end.

What I liked most about this book is how it brings me closer to the confrontation I am anticipating. I feel like the author is milking it for all its worth, but appreciate that it is in keeping with how everything happens in the story... it takes time to traverse a river or receive a message by horseback. Things take time. It's a good thing that these books are quick reads.

What I disliked most about this book is that Halfdan does not worry for his sister at all. I guess he has had no choice but to go on this war campaign, but I suspect that when he finally reaches his father's home there will be a lot more for Toke to answer for.
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