I'm a sucker for Vikings, I'll admit it, so even though there were aspects about "Fires of Winter" that were questionable, I still found myself glued to the book, unable to put it down. "Fires" is a dark romance about the proud Celtic lady who is captured by Vikings and given as a slave to Garrick the Hardhearted, a merchant with a deep hatred of women.
I say "dark" because "Fires" deals with some tough subjects: marauding and raping, slavery, infanticide, and quite a few deaths (human and animal alike). It's almost hard to find the romance buried beneath these intense subjects, but Lindsey does it - and makes you want to read more.
Brenna and Garrick are exciting together, with Brenna's iron will clashing against Garrick's cold heart. She absolutely refuses to be his slave. He absolutely refuses to admit he wants, needs, and (eventually) loves her. All they do is fight, fight, fight, but it's fun to watch. There are also other characters in this story who you end up caring for: Perrin and his slave love Janie, kind Erin from the stable, jealous Cordella, brave Dog, and so on....
That said, I have a couple issues with this book. It's easy to tell it's one of Lindsey's earliest novels, for the writing is stiff, the characters lacking Lindsey's famous humor and wit, and some of the dialogue quite cheesy (the first chapter alone is a sad cliché of girl trying hard to be boy). Also, some situations could have used a little more detail, such as Garrick's torture at the hands of the Celts and his sister's death (both are critical to the plot).
All in all, however, I enjoyed "Fires of Winter," finding it an engaging read (the details of Viking life alone are fascinating). Better yet, it is the first in Lindsey's Viking series, which also includes "Hearts Aflame" (the best!!!) and "Surrender My Love." Read this book, if not for the story itself, but for the fact that its sequel is amazing, and would be a more enjoyable read by knowing what happens in "Fires of Winter."