It happens every once in a while. You discover something that is really special, that should be incredibly successful, but unaccountably, isn’t. A very well read friend made me aware of the fiction of Lars Walker. He writes mostly about Vikings during the period when Christianity contended with pagan religions, but he also has a contemporary novel (which happens to deal with Viking lore!).
I cannot give a high enough recommendation to Lars Walker’s The Year of the Warrior. I had to wait for it, but it was completely worth the wait. The narrator of the story is a young Irishman taken captive to sell as a slave by Vikings. They give him a tonsure to make him look like a priest so he’ll fetch a higher price. A newly converted Viking nobleman buys him because he needs a priest for his village. The Irishman decides to play the part of the priest in order to survive and the action flows from there.
Wonderful historical saga. Interesting insights about the Christian faith and its relationship to political power. Some beautiful battle sequences, too. Fully developed characters. Worth reading in every way.
So why the lack of bestseller status? I have a guess. The Lars Walker novels are published by Baen, which really specializes in sword and sorcery/science fiction. The covers of the Walker books have that look to them, but they are actually much deeper. I think the normal Baen reader is disappointed by the lack of standard genre stuff when they buy the book. But you, dear reader, will not be disappointed. You shall be blessed.