Wood's Northlanders series tells a series of seperate stories, with longer arcs split up by shorter arcs and one shots.
This book collects four seperate stories, each following different characters and different themes.
'Lindisfarne', a two parter, explores a young boy's hatred for his Christian father, and infatuation with the Pagan invaders that arrive to decimate his homeland. It's a surprising story that feels realistic and even somewhat emotive, as you see the character come of age in a short story.
'The Viking Art of Single Combat', a standalone issue, explores in visceral detail the concept of a one-on-one duel, with two warriors from opposing camps entering the ring to fight to the death. A fascinating look at its subject matter, but lighter on characterisation.
'The Shield Maidens', another two-part arc, is perhaps the standout story of the book. This time, we see a feminine perspective, as for the first time not one but three women are the core lead characters. The story looks at how the women struggle to survive against impossible odds, and how they find strength without their husbands. A wonderful and very satisfying story with an underlining connection to Viking lore.
'Sven the Immortal', a standalone issue, provides a much-demanded follow up story to the original 'Sven the Returned' arc, following up on Sven's life now that he has become an old man, a 'husband' and a father to a son and daughter. It's a fitting follow up to the original story, providing some closure to the characters but in the end I have to admit it did still leave me wanting a little more, of Sven or perhaps even his children.
Each story has a different artist, and each one brings their own style to the stories with flair. Once again, the colours really bring vibrance to some rather grim tales.
The combination of different stories mean there should be something for everyone if they're interested, and it perhaps makes up for the slightly disappointing second volume.