by Laura VanArendonk Baugh
When Euthalia’s father trades her to Viking raiders, her best hope is to be made a wife instead of a slave. She gets her wish – sort of – when she is sacrificed as a bride to a god.
Her inhuman husband seems kind, but he visits only in the dark of night and will not allow her to look upon him. By day Euthalia becomes known as a storyteller, spinning ancient Greek tales to entertain Asgard’s gods and monsters.
When one of her stories precipitates a god’s murder and horrific retribution, Euthalia discovers there is a monster in her bed as well. Alone in a hostile Asgard, Euthalia must ally with a spiteful goddess to sway Odin himself before bloody tragedy opens Ragnarok, the prophesied end of the world.
“This vivid storytelling is entrancing and kept me up all night.”
“The blending of the Greek and Norse myths was amazing.”
“This book is a study in balance. It mixes Norse folklore with an original tale. It shows without reservation both faults and virtues in all of its characters. It handles mature content with class, and the narrative style flows perfectly in and around the material in a way that seems simple and effortless. It’s got adventure, action, romance, magic, and elements of history, all woven together into one smooth tale.”
CIR: What inspired this particular spin on Greek and Norse mythology?
BAUGH: For years I’ve wanted to do an Eros and Psyche tale, but I always pictured it during the Viking age. I cannot explain to you how this happened in my head. Writers are weird. But, I think it came out pretty well.
CIR: What was your favorite part of writing this story?
BAUGH: A number of the Norse pantheon surprised me with their depth and departure from many traditional or pop culture portrayals. I’ve been getting reader feedback that they really appreciate the complexity of what are often flat superheros or villains, too. That was a lot of fun to discover.
CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
BAUGH: I was blending two complete and completely different mythologies while adhering to a particular mythological story line, but in a wholly new setting and a parallel set of plot reversals. This story really kicked my butt for a few months before I could get up momentum again!
CIR: What other books, movies or shows might you compare to this story?
BAUGH: The obvious answer is Until We Have Faces (CS Lewis) and any of the many Norse gods borrowings, but I think this has its own feel.
CIR: What themes do you address in this story?
BAUGH: Sacrificial love, trust, feminism, jealousy, power and agency in hopelessness.
CIR: What message do you hope your readers take away from this book?
BAUGH: Love matters, and you have more power than you think!
CONTENT ADVISORY: A married couple has a love scene that begins “on screen” before the chapter closes for privacy’s sake, and there is a fight scene involving disemboweled intestines. Neither are graphically portrayed, but they may not be suitable for all readers. PG-13