By James L. Nelson

Fore Topsail Press, 2013

321 pages, $12.99

ISBN 978-1-4848-7893-4

When Viking longships come out of the mist, gliding silently to a landing on the Irish coast, the raiding Norsemen are thinking only of the expected plunder promised them in the village of Cloyne. However, instead of gold and silver, they find a hidden Irish army waiting in ambush. The Vikings have been betrayed.


So begins the second volume in Harpswell author James Nelson’s excellent new series, “The Norsemen Saga,” which takes place in 9th century Ireland, a period of bloody unrest in the Dark Ages of medieval history.

“Dubh-Linn” continues the story of Thorgrim Night Wolf and the Vikings as they raid, trade and expand their settlement from their newly captured port, Dubh-linn (Dublin). Thorgrim is a respected veteran who wants to return to his home in Norway, but he needs money and a ship.

The Vikings are in a precarious position at Dubh-linn: surrounded by unhappy Irishmen who are led by Irish kings more interested in fighting among themselves for riches and power than fighting the Viking invaders.

Thorgrim, his son Harald and a band of fierce Viking warriors known as berserkers (for their unrestrained violence in battle) are cheated and betrayed by a malicious Viking leader, tricked by clever and deadly Irish conspiracies, and forced to fight for an Irish army in a conflict they don’t care about.

Rival Irish kings and princesses lie, cajole, seduce and conspire to be rid of their own enemies, using the Vikings as pawns in a dangerous game. And Vikings are not men who forget or forgive an insult or betrayal. The Irish will pay a heavy price for their treachery.

This is a graphically violent and bloody tale, not for the squeamish reader. Fans of gritty, authentic medieval warfare will relish the skilled use of sword, battleaxe, dagger and spear.



By Tamra Wight

Islandport Press, 2014

175 pages, $16.95

ISBN 978-1-939017-35-2

Cooper and Packrat are back! This time, however, the two 13-year-old amateur detectives are in a lot more trouble than ever before.


“Mystery Of The Eagle’s Nest” is the second volume in this clever middle-grade readers’ mystery series by Portland author Tamra Wight. The first book, “Mystery On Pine Lake” (Islandport Press, 2013), introduced these two energetic and resourceful boys and their wacky, crime-solving misadventures.

Here, Wight and illustrator Carl DiRocco have created a fun, exciting mystery that smartly blends suspense with Native American lore and fascinating natural history. At the Wilder Family Campground in Maine, where Cooper lives and Packrat visits, the boys have set up a geocache course in the woods where campers can search for carefully hidden boxes using GPS locations and map orienteering.

However, criminals involved in the black market sale of protected eagle feathers and bones are stumped when their box of eagle parts goes missing. The boys find it on their geocache trail, and both the criminal boss and the illegal buyer are desperate to recover their illicit goods.

Cooper and Packrat know what the box contains, and they are threatened and frightened by the searching thugs, and worried about protecting a nearby eagle nest containing four eaglets. They fear the thugs will go after the eagles in the nest. Who can they trust?

This tale is much more exciting than the first book, with more action, more suspense and much more implied violence. Still, plot twists, secret identities and the boys’ fast thinking will keep readers, young and older, entertained to the last page. Cooper and Packrat are best pals, bright, brave and honest, setting good examples for wildlife stewardship and for doing what’s right, no matter what.

Bill Bushnell lives and writes in Harpswell.

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