OK first things first. Really nice cover! at first glance obviously you see the viking helmet but the actual level of detail on it when you look closer is really impressive and catches the eye well.
Alsoat 680ish pages it's a large book that you can really stick your teeth into, equally enjoyable was the fact the whilst it is Theodore Brun's 2nd novel it isn't essential to have read the other one, I hadn't and I followed this stories plot line with only the odd non-essential details missing.
This book had a lot to live up to, with the publication quotes drawing comparison to the likes of Bernard Cornwell,and the endorsement of a great viking saga writer Giles Kristian. As such I was worried it might be over hyped,despite really enjoying the first impression.
I'm pleased to say the Mr Brun has hit the mark with Erland's tale of the conflicts in Scandinavia at the start of the 8th Century.
It isn't a location or time period I'm very-well versed in but I felt this book would appeal to the informed and clueless of the events at this time as the level of subject knowledge is apparent throughout without dragging the story down.
The story focuses on a blood feud between 2 rival peoples in Scandinavia and how the conflict crosses generations. Erland is a wanderer with a mysterious past who finds himself sworn to the king on one side of the conflict, who in his old age is striving for a peace instead of dying in Glorious battle for a place in viking heaven. Needless to say after assassinations,skirmishes and a wedding peace isn't too be found and the rest of the blood-thirsty characters in this story quickly get to the torturing and fighting you expect from a viking historical novel.
Little bits of mysticism thrown in but nothing major, this is very much a people focused story written by someone who know's their stuff and if you enjoy fiction based on Viking's I think you'll love this.
Lots of action, lots of fights,lots of intrigue, and a book that starts bloody and ends bloody. I absolutely loved it and I'm going to go hunting for a copy of his first novel .
As with most events of this time little detail is actually known. Even the historical sources we have are more myth than historical fact, and the author fully acknowledges this in his notes whilst still writing a neat story clearly inspired by the possible events at the time. I found it entertaining and believable.He clearly knows the subject matter he is writing about.