Swords of Ansgar

A Windflower Saga Novella

Fiction - Short Story/Novela
86 Pages
Reviewed on 05/23/2017
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Author Biography

Aleksandra Layland is a retired civil engineer and federal civil servant who worked primarily for the United States Air Force as a senior installation engineering manager responsible for buildings, airfields, infrastructure, fire protection, and emergency preparedness. She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Western Caroline Islands where she helped build school classrooms and cafeterias, low income housing, and simple village water distribution systems.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Ray Simmons for Readers' Favorite

Swords of Ansgar is a novella in the Windflower Saga series of novels by Aleksandra Layland. It is short and to the point, only 86 pages, but fans of this series will love it because you get to see major and minor characters from different times in the saga. I like stories set in a medieval type setting. I like the focus on family and duty. I also am a fan of warfare in these time periods. Life seems more intense and to acquire a skill takes more time and dedication. In other words, a book like Swords of Ansgar is made for a guy like me.

I liked Swords of Ansgar for a lot of reasons, but two things especially stand out. The first is the focus on family. So many stories about feudal families end up pitting father against son, brother against brother, brother against sister, etc. This is kind of sad to me, but I get that it is totally realistic and that is how it is sometimes. It was pleasant to read the opposite side of the story. A tale where the entire family pulls together. A tale where people end up accepting and being happy doing the job that fits their personality, regardless of whether or not they might lose rank. This can make a big difference in whether a family is happy or not and Aleksandra Layland makes it seem like a natural thing. A good plot, great characters, and a rich background to draw from make this a good novella.

Lit Amri

Succinct and poignant, Swords of Ansgar (A Windflower Saga Novella) by Aleksandra Layland features two protagonists who aren’t mentioned in the novels of the Windflower Saga series. The first part of the novella follows the life of Keridwen Rose of Ansgar, called Keri Rose by her family, one of the daughters of Kimberlee of Ansgar and Iolyn. The second part tells the story of Kimbria ‘Kimmy’ Ke’ilani, an Ansgar descendant and the daughter of Queen Ronwen Korelani. These two protagonists are separated by time, but connected through bloodline and Ansgar’s love of the Helvellyn sword and its unique style of swordsmanship.

Some authors tread the line between young adults and adult readers, therefore making their work accessible to more people. For me, this is one of those books. The number of characters can be overwhelming at first, but Layland ensures that Keri Rose and Kimbria’s roles as the lead heroines shine through. Even though some parts are slightly slow, overall the plot lines are properly paced and this novella is written with clear-cut and vivid prose. I’m ambivalent about the arranged marriages aspect in the story, but it’s not a pressing issue in this fictional tale. In a way, Swords of Ansgar is a perfect introduction to readers who haven’t read the Windflower Saga series, as both stories, particularly the story of Keridwen Rose, gives some significant background details regarding the main characters. On the whole, this is a good, light read from Layland and might lure new readers to the Windflower Saga.