The Reluctant Berserker

The Reluctant Berserker Manhood Is About Than Who S On TopWulfstan, A Noble And Fearsome Saxon Warrior, Has Spent Most Of His Life Hiding The Fact That He Would Love To Be Cherished By Someone Stronger Than Himself Not Some Slight, Beautiful Nobody Of A Harper Who Pushes Him Up Against A Wall And Kisses HimIn The Aftermath, Wulfstan Isn T Sure What He Regrets Most That He Only Punched The Churl In The Face, Or That He Really Wanted To Give InLeofgar Is Determined To Prove He S As Much Of A Man As Any Saxon But Now He S Got A Bigger Problem Than A Bloody Nose The Lord Who S Given Him Shelter From The Killing Cold Is Eyeing Him Like A Wolf Eyes A Wounded HareWhen Wulfstan Accidentally Kills A Friend Who Is About To Blurt His Secret, He Flees In Panic And Meets Leofgar, Who Is On The Run From His Lord S Lust Together, Pursued By A Mother S Curse, They Battle Guilt, Outlaws, And The Powers Of The Underworld, Armed Only With Music And Love That Must Overcome Murderous Shame To SurviveWarning Contains Accurate Depictions Of Vikings, Dark Ages Magic, Kickass Musicians, Trope Subversions And Men Who Don T Know Their Place

Spaceships and galaxy spanning empires, conversations with angels, viking villages, haunted mansions and forbidden love in the Age of Sail I love a good strong plot in an exotic setting, with characters you can admire, and a happy ending If you make a venn diagram of genres, including historical, fantasy, gay romance and mystery, I occupy the space in the middle where they overlap BTW, if you

❰PDF / Epub❯ ★ The Reluctant Berserker  Author Alex Beecroft –
  • ebook
  • 347 pages
  • The Reluctant Berserker
  • Alex Beecroft
  • English
  • 17 April 2019
  • 9781619217430

10 thoughts on “The Reluctant Berserker

  1. says:

    This is a historical novel that I would like to hold up as a shining example of what I crave when I read historicals I want to be immersed in the past, spending time with people that I on one hand understand, because of our shared humanity, but who on the other hand feel unfamiliar because their life s experiences are so very different from my own I want to see their world, live it, breathe it, try to understand it I want to try and find the parts of that world that have survived until the present day without them being presented to me on a platter I want to look at the ways their culture feels weird to me and I want to understand why it works like it does, without getting the feeling that it is because the author said so I want it to feel real because the author did a lot of research without it ever feeling like I am reading research or that the author is showing off said research I want the characters to be alive in a way that goes beyond them being marionettes in a world the author is busy showing off I want it to have a story that doesn t bore me by being loaded with era appropriate clich s.The Reluctant Berserker, despite having an awful title, is all that and on top of that it has a compelling story and it is beautifully written in a rich prose that stops just short of turning purple Wulfstan and Leofgar are interesting, alien and human at the same time One of the reasons I often find contemporary romances boring is that we all know how decent people ought to behave in our own world, there aren t that many valid behavioral choices when a person is intrinsically good So most characters in those books end up behaving exactly as you would expect them to eventually The world in this book is so different, teetering between the old Saxon warrior culture and the new Christian morals, that the character s valid choices are for the most part completely unpredictable for modern readers This leaves them in that pleasant state in which they have no clue where the story is going to go next or where it could possibly go in the end It really is wonderfully done.I ll try to explain what started bugging me as the story progressed, though One of the main themes in this book is that both men struggle with the fact that taking it up the ass is a a mortal sin in the religious sense and b a mortal insult for a warrior Yet, that is what Wulfstan craves and what he is judged for harshly by everyone that finds out, including Leofgar Wulfstan s world is one where early Christianity dominates but where not all forms of paganism have been eradicated It is a given that both characters, being Christian, have firm Catholic convictions But then the author chooses to give both characters religious epiphanies that change how they view themselves, each other and the world around them While I am not opposed to divine intervention in most fantasy novels which usually have made up polytheistic religions I am not a fan of it in that genre either Here, I found it disturbing.First of all, I don t like that it is used to make the plot take a course that would have been almost impossible without it It seems to be a very easy way to get the characters to change their mind and to get to an ending that is palatable for the modern reader Secondly, I don t buy that Wulfstan changes his opinions so radically after Saint Whatshername pretty much quotes Lady Gaga s Born This Way at him Decades of social conditioning aren t reversed so easily, I think And last, the whole Hurray for the Catholic Church vibe in the latter part of the book makes me profoundly uncomfortable That s probably projection on my part, being the child of fallen Catholics and all that, but I really don t do well with totally uncritical views of any major religions If you re a practicing Christian you may love this part of the book though And I am really curious how this book reads to non Christians Maybe this Disney version of Christianity is alien enough to them that they can view it from a benevolent distance, like I read my Fantasy novels Or maybe it reads like propaganda I don t know I am aware that it is than likely that it s my particular background that causes my discomfort in this case, but I d really love to hear from other people how they experienced this latter part of the book.For me this was a little bit like listening to a great song only to have it turn into a Praise Jesus type of Christian rock song in the last refrain Arguably still a great song, but not something I would volunteer to listen to again.

  2. says:

    Amazing This book will be in my year s best for sure.First, I want to say that as a writer I admire good writing, especially as I read so heavily in m m romance where the writing is often just serviceable and not exactly the point That s not to denigrate any author, because my own work doesn t always soar like the eagles, only to say that when I find a book where the writing is as good as any book I ve ever read, I m very impressed.I love this author s way with prose and there are so many wonderful and original analogies in this book Here are just a few of the dozens I highlighted For when he looked up, he saw that all the clouds had drawn apart The night was on them full, and acres and acres of sharp stars were poised to fall on him with killing cold.This disappointment was strange and ungrateful in him, he thought, tasting at the back of his throat like blood from a nosebleed.In his frustration, Wulfstan s sodden maze of pleasure drunken thoughts turned into a sack full of snakes.I could go on, but that gives you an idea I am wary of books and I have seen some reviewed lately where the author s voice becomes so over wrought and egotistically poetic that the story is lost in a vomit of flowers, but that is certainly not the case here The story and plot are always driving forward with the strong prose supporting it but never detracting from it.As for the story plot itself I don t read a ton of historical fiction, but when I do, I like it to feel authentic and take me to a time and place I know little about and make me feel like I m there This book achieves that The attitudes towards homosexuality, the touches of witchcraft and religion, the characters of the scobs or musicians, all felt very true to the time and I enjoyed the texture a great deal There was action and angst and miscommunication in the plot, but thankfully the miscommunication was not overly done and neither MC was overly weak or fearful of saying what they wanted The plot was rich and fast paced enough that it kept me reading til the end Like many contemporary m m romances, the ultimate theme is a common one accepting who you are Nothing really new there, yet the journey to it was unique enough that I was happy Your father If he has any wisdom, would accept that our wyrd is woven for us in our very nature, and all our choices only tend to that end Better to accept fate joyfully than to fight it, for it will win no matter what we do The romance was quite good too both MCs were beautiful and appealing and I loved the twist of their contrary natures and how beautifully they fit together.I would give this book than 5 stars for the great writing and research, the fast paced plot and taking me to another time, but I do have one nit After 380 pages of waiting of our MCs to finally consummate their relationship, not giving us another paragraph or two of description at least felt a bit stingy on the author s part The sex is basically fade to black I don t need pages of detailed erotica, but wanted at least to be inside Wulfstan s head as he finally got his wish and experience his joy and pleasure.Also, I will say, it is confusing the attitude portrayed about homosexuality in the book In this story, it was acceptable for a Lord or warrior, or any older man, to keep and use a boy for sex, quite openly, but somehow incredibly shameful for any man to take it up the ass So any boy or slave who was or had been so used was reviled as womanly and weak, the ultimate insult, and would never be free of such a reputation even once grown This may or may not be completely historically accurate in the culture portrayed in this book which was ancient Saxony But if accurate, the attitude is confusing as hell I can understand the idea that a man allowing another man to f ck him would be considered weak and shameful to a warrior society, but the easy acceptance and common occurance of a Lord having a homosexual relationship with a boy lover for years when women were freely available in the hall is less believable In my research into medieval England, though men did use boys thus, it was not open and was typically in a situation like travel or battle where women were not available as an alternative But whether or not it was 100% historically accurate for ancient Saxony, it worked for this plot and anyway, there were touches of fantasy in this as with the witchcraft , so I can accept it in that light It just left me curious Thanks for a great read, Alex Beecroft I need to go get False Colors now.

  3. says:

    Well I loved this Beautifully written, beautifully thought out, really moving Beecroft does an amazing job of conveying this half pagan half Christian world, and the complicated web of unfamiliar thought and belief Wonderful vivid setting, too, and absolutely gorgeous main characters, with depth and complexity to the antagonists as well as the protagonists Loved it.

  4. says:

    2 Expectations Let Me Down Stars First and foremost, before I delve into my issues with this book and go into Hulk rage mode, I do have to commend Ms Beecroft for her wonderful world building It s very clear that she hit the books and did a lot of thorough research for this novel You were truly transported back in time I actually had to turn to good ole Wikipedia a few times to look up terms that I didn t understand or know what they were referring to I definitely don t use words like scop, wyrd, and seax on an everyday basis or ever, really but the Anglo Saxons certainly did When you are reading a historical fiction, and you have to do some extra digging around because you run across something you don t understand, then the author is doing something right Ms Beecroft truly did a magnificent job with bringing this world of Saxon warriors and Vikings to life centuries later.However, the world building is pretty much the only part I enjoyed of this book I went into this novel with the mindset of an M M romance reader I didn t think that was entirely foolhardy on my part since the blurb promised a love story between the two MCs Unfortunately, for me at least since I expected and wanted it, this book was not a romance at all and was of an epic adventure with some gay MCs Warning The rest of this review contains deserved excessive use of synonyms for the term douchebag since this particular reviewer felt the need to vent her frustrations due to the unbelievably vexing douchebaggery of one of the MCs.Ok, so, the MCs were apart for most of the book until up to about the 60% or so mark because so many other obstacles and obligations got in their way and forced them apart They first meet in the beginning of the book when Leofgar pushes Wulfstan up against a wall and kisses him They don t see each other again until much later when extenuating circumstances force their paths to cross again.When the MCs did find their way back to each other, I now wished it hadn t happened at all Why Because, as was mentioned above, I hated one of the MCs with the passion of a thousand burning suns Leofgar was an annoying little twerp who was constantly bemoaning the fact that he was not seen as a man by the warriors due to his elven like beauty that left men desiring him only as a bed companion I get how that would grate on your nerves, dude I really do, but your incessant whining just got on my last nerve, and, frankly, my dear,I really liked Wulfstan as a character He was a fearsome warrior, yes, but he also had a gentle and caring nature underneath Also, he had a desire that brought him great inner turmoil The thing he wanted the most in the world was to be held down and dominated by another man However, this is an extremely shameful need because he would then be seen as soft and weak as a woman This was around 900AD, so of course there are going to be some shitty gender stereotypes Moving on After he crosses paths with Leofgar again, he takes a chance and tells Leofgar about his desire to be dominated as if he were a woman Leofgar, the little asshat that he is, tells Wulfstan that he will not lay with him like that because he doesn t want to dishonor Wulfstan by letting him be used as a woman I know that everyone else in the story thought that way I just didn t expect one of the MCs to have such simpleminded thoughts as well, and it really chapped my ass This was about the 80% mark, and I completely checked out of the story and skimmed the rest of the way The MCs were separated by forces outside of their control for the first half of the book I get that, so I am not fuming from that What I am incensed by is the fact that when the MCs finally reunite in the second half of the book, one of them cough Leofgar cough insisted on acting like a douchebag who treats poor Wulfstan horrendously and calls his desires, albeit in a roundabout way, vile Leofgar does realize the stupidity of his opinions and actions later but it is too little, too late by then for me, and I just didn t give a shit any about him or the story.I just don t understand what Wulfstan saw in Leofgar at all except his beauty and the fact that he wanted to dominate Wulfstan Leofgar really was an irritating piss drinking son of a sow and a shit witted coward Yeah, that s right I m using your insults against you, Leofgar What are you gonna do about it, you obnoxious turd Also, there is only one sex scene between the MCs, and it happened at 91% Mind you, I was waiting for the smexy times to start for the entire book since they were practically promised in the freaking book blurb with the whole thing about Wulfstan wanting to be dominated However, when we finally get it with only 10% of the book remaining, the whole interaction is basically summarized and glossed over, which equates to there being no steam in this book whatsoever.I thought that after having to put up with that nitwit asshelmet Leofgar for the entire book, I would be rewarded with the smex No such fucking luck Argh I would say only to try this book if you want some great world building with an epic adventure feel and don t mind a wanker MC.Otherwise, avoid After all of that being said, however, I would still read another book by this author since she did have phenomenal writing and terrific world building.

  5. says:

    A young bard with the countenance of an angel and a fierce berserker, proud and unpredictable Their paths cross, a catalyst, setting in motion a series of events that drive them both Beautiful language that lures one in is probably one of my favorite aspects to the story The day s voices had fallen silent, and now the town was filled with the whispering of the sea.The turf was soft beneath them and smelled of ancient heather and dust long ago vanished summers in a time of giants.The grave was a black stroke on a green page behind him, as though God had drawn a line to end the tale of Anna.The jangle of Fealo s harness was like a dropped plate on a flagged floor as he tossed his head up and snorted, the only sound in a world struck dumb So, I was seduced The tale unfolded much in the way one would expect of a medieval story Measured in pace, never harried, understated, and of course, a journey I also found out that my Middle English was incredibly rusty, but it was nice to fall back into it Some great details for weapons and armory to trades to construction are so quietly laid down during the story telling And the friction between pagan and Christian beliefs and their overlap was nicely done A thoroughly enjoyable read This is not a wild sex a thon of rape and pillaging, but a deliberate story and quite chaste in the carnal aspects Favorite quote Are you so very perfect yourself, son, that you must make yourself the right hand of God s judgment

  6. says:

    I ve found Alex Beecroft s The Reluctant Berserker to be a compelling and complex novel that skirts around the obvious structure of m m narrative to tackle some deep concerns about identity, religion and self perception.The two protagonists, Wulfstan and Leofgar, are both very well rounded and presented with flaws and shortcomings that contribute to making them human and believable.Wulfstan is a reluctant warrior, intimately troubled by his desires and deep nature while also finding himself stifled by conventions and the structure of courtly life Leofgar, an itinerant musician, is proud and stubborn, fiercely clinging to his freedom and unwilling to accept any protection or relationship that could involve a form of submission.In many ways, I ve found the characters to be equally alien in their medieval sensitivity but also attuned to modern concerns when it comes to assessing personal identity, boundaries, fears etc.In particular, the constant overlapping of religion and superstition, paganism and early Christianity was a very intriguing aspect for me and I really enjoyed the way the author tackled it throughout the story.Plunging the reader into the unsettled and mutable world of Medieval England, Beecroft constructs a story that sees its MCs often separated, either by circumstances or misunderstandings and arguments.The way Wulfstan and Leofgar follow each other, then get separated then again reunited is conducted in a self assured manner and kept me glued to the page until the very end.I also really liked the quality of the writing, which is sensuous and poetic in equal measure.In some ways, this novel reminded me of one of my favourite books, Harper Fox s Brothers of the Wild North Sea The atmosphere of early Christianity, the constant danger of medieval life, the depth of the main characters, are all elements I was really happy to find in Beecroft s novel.Really recommended

  7. says:

    5 15 19 Currently FREE via

  8. says:

    I added in one of my status updates Alex Beecroft writes beautifully You forget until you go back into one of her books It s true Every time I read one of her books I am always in awe of the prose and the overall quality of writing It will be chill tonight, he dropped down on the bench beside his friend and felt the warmth of the man s sturdy thigh against his own Will you share your cloak with me Cenred laughed and ducked his head to whisper, How little time it takes to overcome your scruples, my friend Mock me and sleep cold Wulfstan made to rise, nettled, but Cenred caught the hem of his tunic and urged him back down. This is another gloriously written book The words evocative and thought provoking Wise men said there were demons in the forest, elf folk and mound folk, ettins and earth spirits But Leofgar had journeyed in the waste place all his life and did not fear such things It was men he feared, and now he recognised the threat by the pleasure it brought when it was withdrawn.The story was fascinating The relationship s and people totally believable I loved the MCs, Wulfstan and Leofgar As individuals, they were good people with desires and needs that didn t necessarily fit the standard It was a different time, and we are worlds apart, but they felt so familiar to me As a couple, I loved them This could have been a mess in a lesser author s hands taking two characters in this period and flipping societal expectations of what who they should be How they deal with it The place of music, the place of warriors, some action, some magic, religion, forgiveness, and love, were all lovingly written Even the secondary characters are given the time to develop and are intriguing I felt completely transported to Anglo Saxon Britain in the 9th century AD That s what I want, fiction rooted in fact I prefer nothing out of place I need appropriate use of language that will allow me total immersion into another time and culture Little things big things about tradition, ideas, the people, the clothing, behaviour and expectations I definitely got it all in The Reluctant Berserker.Detailed review

  9. says:

    Alex Beecroft is for me one of the historical masters of M M romance This time she takes us back to Anglo Saxon Britain at a time when life was a fight for survival and manages to combine into this backdrop a thoroughly convincing M M romance.Wulfstan is an anglo saxon warrior and was fostered by his master Lord Ecgbert and trained in his service One evening when they arrive at their village Wulfstan hears a music that magically draws him This music came from the main hall from two musicians or scops Leofgar and his master Anna are in the hall playing for the crowds gathered there.However, with Wulfstan all is not what it seems Deep down he has a longing for a love that as a saxon warrior can t speak its name and he tries to suppress those feelings, however that proves in the long run an almost impossible task Trying to be something he isn t After a chance meeting with Leofgar and a passionate kiss with all those feelings surfacing he shuns Leofgar after nearly being discovered The fear of discovery is greater than the act itself and Anna needs to plead for Leofgar s life and both are thrown out of the village This sets them both on two very separate paths at the beginning Anna is getting frail and they both need to find somewhere to stay for the winter They find a place under the Saxon Lord Tatwine, where Leofgar promises to be his loyal servant if they can stay on his land However, the price that Leofgar pays for comfortable lodgings is a high one and when his master Anna dies his Lord comes to collect.In the meantime, Wulfstan has a brutal disagreement with Cenred his best friend which leads to a fight and Cenred s accidental death Although it was accidental, Wulfstan finds it difficult to live with the shame and guilt and so leaves his village He is also scorned by Cenred s mother Seawyn and as she practices witchcraft puts a curse on Wulfstan and starts to stalk him to see if the curse works.Then fate plays a role and by a chance meeting, Wulfstan meets Leofgar and their paths are inextricably linked Both on a kind of pilgrimage, Wulfstan trying to come to terms with his guilt and Leofgar fleeing from his cruel master and on his way to find another in the form of Anna s friend Gewis who is now a monk at the monastery of St Aethelthryth I loved the way that this plot worked out First of all they are separated, but that one passionate kiss neither can forget, keeping them thinking about each other constantly during the separation Neither believing that their paths would once cross again. When they eventually meet again after a number of circumstances brings their paths together, it is with caution Leofgar still sees the warrior in Wulfstan, strong stubborn and in conflict with himself Wulfstan soon realises that Leofgar s strength is not in his physical strength but his power with words which in Wulfstan s eyes is a mighty a weapon as any sword I love the way Alex gets exactly the characters right, balancing each other out perfectly, but not without its tension and angst as Wulfstan battles with his feelings internally In this respect Leofgar is confident and outspoken, knows his own mind and exactly what he wants from life, even if this does get him into a number of troublesome escapades His love of music is compelling and only second to the feelings he has for Wulfstan.How do you write about an M M romance in historical anglo saxon Britian Well, if I can trust anyone to get it exactly right then it s Alex She paints such a vivid backdrop and sends the reader whirling right back in time I find the backdrop and how it s described one of the most important aspects of any historical novel and Alex achieves this brilliantly, atmospheric and fitting to this time I loved the way she uses old anglo saxon words, e.g wyrd for fate destiny, wycce for witchcraft magic, scop for musician, etc However, this does not confuse the reader as due to the brilliantly descriptive writing you know exactly what these words refer to and what is meant without having to look things up on Wikipedia The research for such a novel is so important to get the facts right, traditions, behaviour, customs, attitudes, etc and here Alex displays here meticulous research in getting the historical aspects just right Another important aspect for me is the dialogues, they should be simple and easy to understand, but also reflect the language and conversations of this time without being too modern in their nature Once again Alex does this with a skill that is breathtaking, bringing the characters alive vivid, feeling, breathing, tangible and real characters although we find ourselves way back in time Also I believe they of course wouldn t talk directly about their sexuality or feelings in this time, but through innuendos and circumnavigating the subject, but leaving no doubt what is being referred to This style of writing for me was the most beautiful and poetic in many ways So what about the gay aspect in a historical novel Well, this I guess is a tricky one as it s difficult to know exactly what the attitudes were to this particular theme However, Alex portrays something that I feel is near the truth and totally believable In manyrespects they were probably not as homophobic as we would maybe think, being something that could be viewed as normal for brothers in arms or the Saxon Lord taking a toy boy for his nightly escapades I really think this would be totally within in the realms of believability and feels totally natural for this time Wulfstan is obviously having a huge internal conflict with the fact he is the tough guy warrior but his feelings towards other men could be construed as a sign of weakness Leofgar is a lot happier in his skin, being a musician and determined, seems to be in touch and at home with his feelings Eventually they both find their path together and the book ends on a HEA with a hint of adventures to come maybe I would like to think so as I would love to read about Wulfstan and Leofgar Once again and beautifully written book from Alex rich in detail, emotion and intricacy of plot A must read for all historical fans of M M Alex is guest blogging with us and talks about the way she envisaged anglo saxon England and how she manages to get the details right There is also a chance to win an ebook copy the Reluctant Berserker Draw ends 18th February 2014.

  10. says:

    4.5 starsIt s a shame this story hasn t garnered attention It s beautifully written Beecroft s descriptions are gorgeous and poetic the kind that had me reading out loud to feel the words roll around on my tongue The romance is slow burn at best and I would have liked of Wulfstan and Leofgar together as a couple But what I really loved about this story was how well it captures Medieval Britain, or, at least how I imagine it to have been Well researched, I appreciated the small details and relished looking up the occasional word but I find this era fascinating Immersive, quietly beautiful and rather poignant storytelling Recommended to fans of Harper Fox s Brothers of the Wild North Sea.

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