Dark Pool Review
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When Elba’s brother, Domnall, steals some cows from a neighboring village, Finlay mac Inna, King of Alba, takes her as collateral until Domnall pays the fine. As the month draws closer to its end, Elba is convinced that her brother won’t come for her, so she talks two young lads into taking her home. Unfortunately, they’re captured by the Vikings, and Elba is sold into a forced marriage to a petulant and cruel young man.

Though Finlay found Elba to be willful and disobedient, he feels responsible for her capture, so he pulls together a team of men to go find her. Their search leads to Dublin—and a king who’s borderline insane. As he becomes more and more unstable, Finlay and Domnall fear that they may not be able to get Elba out alive—let alone themselves and their men.

It’s hard to believe that, at one time, women were considered to be nothing more than possessions—with no say in who they could marry or what they could do with their lives. But Ms. Black paints this time in vivid color as she puts Elba through unimaginable situations and brings to life ancient Ireland and the kings who ruled there.

At times, I felt like strangling Elba—but then I’d remind myself that she’s only fourteen, so she’s not old enough to act like an adult. She may be smarter than the average girls her age, but she’s still a willful young lady whose impulsiveness gets her into far too much trouble. Still, though Elba may frustrate you to the point of screaming, you’ll admire her grit and her desire not to follow the stupid rules regarding women, that were devised by men. You’ll admire her bravery and unwillingness to lie down and give up. She’s truly one of the greatest characters I’ve ever read.

Since Dark Pool is the sequel to The Banners of Alba, you’ll run across some of your favorite characters from the previous novel. While Dark Pool can easily stand alone without confusing readers, it’s still best to start with the first novel in the series, so I recommend reading The Banners of Alba first.

Ms. Black is a first-rate author—one of the best that the Internet has ever produced—so you won’t want to pass her up. Treat yourself to both books in the series; I highly recommend them.

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