The Last Viking
Vikings are fun, aren’t they? Bring one to the present? What a great idea! When I read a blurb about The Last Viking, I knew I had to read it for myself. The Viking was all I could have imagined. Although I would not trade my dear husband for anything, I found myself thinking, Now why can’t I have one of those? Sandra Hill did a wonderful job making Geirolf larger than life. I just wish the heroine had been cut from the same cloth.
When Professor Meredith Foster arrives home one stormy day from work, she finds a glorious, mostly naked man in her house who insists he is a Viking, and who is making himself right at home. At first, she thinks that he is a practical joke sent to her by her grad students at the Medieval History department at her college – they are building a real Viking longboat as a summer project. She soon discovers that Geirolf actually believes what he is saying, and he has the artifacts to prove it. She reserves judgement and hires him as a project leader, for Geirolf is actually a shipbuilder from the year 997. Although Meredith thinks Geirolf is rather dimwitted, he surprises her by catching on to 20th Century technology and culture very quickly.
Geirolf has an ulterior motive for building a longboat. While he is helping Meredith with her project, he is also building a small longboat for himself so he can attempt to return to his time. Although he is quickly falling for Meredith, he has made an oath to his father – he must return an artifact to its rightful place in hopes that it will end the famine back home during his time. So he builds his boat, learns all he can about 20th Century life, and works on lowering Meredith’s defenses.
Sandra Hill captures a Viking fitting into the present day perfectly. I learned much about Viking culture. Geirolf makes a wonderful hero – he is almost overwhelmingly there throughout the book, adjusting, and yet not loosing what makes him a Viking. I loved his affection for Oreo’s, and Tim Allen of Home Improvement fame. I loved how he continued to try to prove that Vikings are indeed the best at lovesport. I loved his reaction to pantyhose. I loved how he continued to call Meredith Merry Death throughout the story. I loved his zest for life, his huge appetite for everything.
There were also a few things not particularly delightful about this book. I just could not warm up to Meredith – she didn’t >b>do anything other than say No a lot, whimper, pant, moan, and tremble with passion. There were a few moments when she started to act like a strong independent human, but immediately went back to the panting and moaning. Arrgh. I kept thinking to myself, You only have a few weeks – what the heck are you waiting for? She was almost insubstantial, a mere shadow to Geirolf. I wish Sandra Hill had given me something to demonstrate why Geirolf would have been so smitten with her, but no such luck.
The Last Viking is funny in places, very passionate in places (with only a bit of purple prose – why is it that authors like budding nipples?), touching in places, and hokey in places (a Home Improvement episode in the book comes to mind). If you don’t mind weak heroines, the hero makes this book definitely worth the read.