HOME SCHOOL BOOK REVIEW
Book: Brothers of the Wild North Sea
Author: Harper Fox
Publisher: Samhain Publishing, 2014
Language level: 5
(1=nothing objectionable; 2=common euphemisms and/or childish slang terms; 3=some cursing or profanity; 4=a lot of cursing or profanity; 5=obscenity and/or vulgarity)
Recommended reading level: No one
Rating: 0 stars (NOT RECOMMENDED)
Reviewed by Wayne S. Walker
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Fox, Harper. Brothers of the Wild North Sea (published in 2014 by Samhain Publishing Ltd., 11821 Mason Montgomery Rd., #4B, Cincinnati, OH 45249). It is the “in the year 687 Christian Era, Britannia,” and 24-year-old Caius or Cai, son of a pagan chieftain named Broccus, is a monk, along with some thirty others, at Fara Sancta, a rocky peninsula on the northeast coast of Britain where he serves as an informal doctor under the kind and gentle Abbot Theodosius. However, the Vikings attack the monastery in search “the secret of Fara.” Cai’s best friend Leof is killed, as is Theo who in his dying breath tells Cai to find Addy so that he might learn the secret of Fara which will stop the Vikings. Theo is then replaced by the harsh and mean-spirited Aelfric from Canterbury. However, after another Viking raid, a young Norseman named Fenrir is left behind for dead but is really only wounded, and despite his thirst for vengeance and against the new abbot’s wishes, Cai nurses Fen back to health, and they become friends. Who is this Addy? Is there really a secret of Fara that will stop the Viking raids? How will Cai cope with Abbot Aelfric’s cruelty? And what will happen with Cai and Fen, especially if the Norsemen return?
An ad for this book popped up on a book review website that I frequently visit with this description: “Caius doesn’t feel like much of a Christian. He loves his life of learning as a monk in the far-flung stronghold of Fara, but the hot warrior blood of his chieftain father flows in his veins. When his friend Leof is killed during a Viking raid, Cai’s grieving heart thirsts for vengeance—and he has his chance with Fenrir, a wounded young Viking warrior left for dead. But instead of reaching for a weapon, Cai finds himself defying his abbot’s orders and using his healing skills to save Fen’s life. At first, Fen repays Cai’s kindness by attacking every Christian within reach. But as time passes, Cai’s persistent goodness touches his heart. “ Hey, I thought, this sounds great—historical Christian fiction set in medieval Britain, a la Brother Cadfael, with a neat moral lesson about not taking revenge. Well, not exactly. I guess that I should have done more research on the book before ordering. When it arrived, the back cover included a cautionary note. “Warning: Contains battles, bloodshed, explicit M/M sex, and the proper Latin term for what lies beneath those cassocks.” Oops! If I had known that, I would never have even considered it. I’ll have to be more careful from now on.
The battles and bloodshed are a bit graphic and gory, but then it was a very violent era. Without going into any detail, I will leave you to discern what “explicit M/M sex” is, but it is something of which I definitely do not approve. Since I already had the book, I decided to go ahead and read it, or as much of it as I could stomach (I did finish it), to see how explicit it is and what happens in the story. To be frank, it is quite explicit in its descriptions, from the very first chapter on. In addition, the language contains cursing, profanity, and, as one might imagine, even a lot of vulgar terminology. And what is really sad is that there is actually an interesting story here with elements of both mystery and adventure which is written well enough so that it could hold one’s attention even without the sexual content. However, to have that kind of sexuality in it makes it totally unacceptable to Bible believers, and especially to have it in a supposedly “Christian” contextual setting makes it even worse. Plus, there is a lot of really bad theology—I mean a lot and really bad. I would assume that one purpose of author Harper Fox in writing such books is to promote approval for homosexual behavior by portraying it as normal, natural, and “everyday” as breathing and eating. Suffice it to say that I simply cannot recommend what is referred to as “a gay romance novel” at all.