This is a tale of a young norse teenager who is told the fantastical but true tale of how he saved Harald Siggurdson (Hardrada) from the flawed battle...moreThis is a tale of a young norse teenager who is told the fantastical but true tale of how he saved Harald Siggurdson (Hardrada) from the flawed battle of his half-brother. Before long he is taken away with more of Harald supports but goes without saying goodbye to his daughter Solva. Solva takes it upon herself to escape her unlikable half-brothers and step-mother to undertake a most daring and dangerous journey across continents, rivers and seas to Miklagard (Istanbul) where she knows her father will work with Harald as the famous Varangian guard to the Empereress Zoe and her husband.
The characters come across well although Sulva seems to think very poetically and deeply for one so young and sometimes this can feel a bit annoying each time the Narrator shares more of her thoughts when she sees a scene or looks upon another character. Some of the dialogue itself feels to restricted and sometimes unreal but on the whole the adventure is still gripping, the plot still has twists and turns and reveals a lot about the viking way of life, in particular from a female perspective as well as male, and I loved the ending as it adds a nice backstory to a small peice of runic graphitiy found in the Hagia Sophia.(less)
This is defintely one of several Hereward based historical novels I'd recommend. It has a movie style epic and gripping start and the characters are s...moreThis is defintely one of several Hereward based historical novels I'd recommend. It has a movie style epic and gripping start and the characters are so rich in detail and depth and the plots so intricately woven together that even Shakespeare's plots seemed simple compared to the ones in this book. It truly takes the reader into the reality of the anglo-saxon world complete with characters from simple peasant folk through monks and priests, warriors and hurscals, noble ladies and the cut-throat (literally) power-hungry men of court, including one Harold Godwinson portrayed in a light never before seen or considered but is based well within his historical context of an ailing King with no heir. There is as no suprise a lot of death, battle, sword fights, murder and gore in this novel but it demonstrates that despite the mixed and developed culture of the anglo-saxons the sword and honour in the face of death was still a powerful rule in the hearts of men, like Hereward, in particularly so due his own crazed bloodlust frenzy that arises within him when he is forced to draw blood. The story does cover a lot but it does it with great care and sadly it ends all to soon at the start of Hereward's famous rebellion against William the Conquerer. I can only hope a sequel is planned.(less)
If you have ever read Labyrinth or Sepulcher by Kate Mosse - with their blend of characters and adventure in two paralell time periods then you will l...moreIf you have ever read Labyrinth or Sepulcher by Kate Mosse - with their blend of characters and adventure in two paralell time periods then you will love this especially if you are a fan of viking heritage, history, culture and people - particularly those who lived in the beginning of Norway as a united country. It grips you from the start with some wonderful characters and clashing personalities and gives a really insightful view on what archeologists (especially female ones) must have had to cope with back at the start of the twentieth century. The story is mainly centred in historic fact (of course with a big dollop of fiction) but even when you're absorbed into the viking era chapters a wee bit of norse mythological powers and gods steps in just to remind you how much the old ways still mattered and influenced people at the time when Christianity was on the rise across all the norse countries. The characters in both time periods face dawnting challenges although it could be said that the main characters in the viking era fair worse through the many battles and trials they experience. But throughout each one you're silently there willing them to continue to achieve their goals. At some stages it seems like the tribulations of one character will never end but you can't help but sigh with relief when she survives to complete the happy ending that made history. Love and romance too is featured with the present time characters but they face more emotional challenges than those in the past where it is literally a physical fight for survival. To me this book is a perfect blend of my two favourite genres - viking history and norse fantasy although the viking history is a major part. It is a perfect read for any who admire the vikings ways, great battles, historical heroes and heroines and of course a happy ending with some lovers.(less)
This book is the perfect blend of vikings, battle and zombies. Anyone who enjoys a good battle or two, or maybe three and can handle graphic descripti...moreThis book is the perfect blend of vikings, battle and zombies. Anyone who enjoys a good battle or two, or maybe three and can handle graphic descriptions and can sit comfortably as they read about man-eating zombies, man-eating zombie ravens, man-eating zombie wolves, man-eating zombie ants and oh did I forgot to mention a collection of man-eating decapitated zombie head pit?? Well - yes this is the book for them! It starts of well with a beautiful portrayal of the idilic viking farmers life and of course the boy who dreams of escaping it all and the only way of doing that is joining a crew and taking to the whale road. However his wish doesn't come quite as he planned - first when he unexpectedly encounters one raiding party, another has already brutally murdered 99.9% of his village, his cowardly father who is exteremly suprstitious about dead people survives although everyone determines he's gone quite mad. Left with nothing to loot the later arrived warriors depart after being chased off by their brutal rivals, the Grimmsons, discover the young lad has stowed away with them. What follows is a fog cursed race across the sea to escape the rivals only to end up quite lost at sea, have a strange encounter with a drowned sailor's arm (think of the hand from the Adams family but on a boat) and end of up in a land where death comes in the form of friend and foe alike, and more, as hinted at the start. The nature of a vikings life fits well the characters as they struggle to understand what is going on in the strange land they find themselves beached at as well as survive with the few remaining locals. Eventually the warriors pull themselves together and vow to avenge all their fallen comrades in an endless battle through the zombie filled landscape to the source of the curse in a quest to stop it once and for all - even it if means death for themselves. Everything up until that very point when victory is in their hands and the presumed culprit is lying maimed on the floor is brilliant - what isn't so good is the unconventional and uncomfortable way Tony Venables introduces a small 'sci-fi people from the future' aspect to the plot in order to explain why people have suddenly started rising from their graves to feast on the living. It is that which will urk some true historical viking fans who will quite happily believe vikings vs zombies but not vikings vs scientists from the future and a time machine they then use only to visit the future which is more zombie filled then they current past erm I mean present, well whatever era the story is set in. But on the whole it is a very entertaining and sea gripping read, chapters are short, sweet and well packed with action and the characters have great depth to make the reader will them to survive against every zombie surge (although I must admitt the character of Atli tended to get forgotten towards the end but the leader of the crew Bjolf remains prominent all the way through.) Definitely a worthy buy for those who like horror but with a bit of an unusual twist to the typical werewolves and vampires.(less)
This book to me personally contains enough captivating storytelling as Runemarks by Joanne Harris and enough fascinating character depth as Ice Land b...moreThis book to me personally contains enough captivating storytelling as Runemarks by Joanne Harris and enough fascinating character depth as Ice Land by Betsy Tobin - and until now they were my 2 top favourite for all time norse fantasy books - they have now just been joined by the masterpiece that Mike Vasich has created in Loki. With each chapter you can feel his passion for norse mythology come through and the way he weaves the legends and myths so seemlessly and beautifully into his personfications of the Aesir and Giants and even right into the very landscape of Asgard and Jotunheim itself is genuinely mind blowing. Although the whole story of events leading up to and including Ragnarok revolve around Loki's fortunate or misforunate role and explore his own characters evolution almost as he learns about his true heritage it also revolves around his opposite, Odin, the All-Father and reveals in a new light the curse and blessing of knowing what has happened, what will happen and what must happen. Mike also interprets the myths in interesting new ways in particular the binding of Fenrir and how Loki's daughter Hel became rule of the Underworld kingdom. Each is so unique and different but also in a way fits the puzzle of his magnificent saga that even deep rooted norse myth lovers have no problem with accepting the small but significant changes he has made. And in these small changes he himself explores the origns of such myths and why they are told as they are and not how events actually unfolded in his world version of Asgard. I loved the way he portrayed Yggdrasil and it's awesomeness, the Norn's with their collective insight into past, present and future and the Valkyries with their spectral ability to shift instantly from one position to another. The only tweeny weeny problem I did have was with his depiction of the einherjar, Odin's army of loyal undead warriors. It irritated me slightly with the way Mike decided to make them truly undead without the ability to magically heal so when they fought and lost a leg, they really did loose it. It might have suited the aspect of death that accompanies Odin but surely after mellenia of years fighting there would hardly be any undead warriors left in any kind of fighting fitness? After all no warrior can fight for eternity perfectly without being hit, cut, stabbed, wounded and mortally wounded?? I kind of read over this as they didn't feature an awful lot until the end and even then there is no specifics about their physical condition just the way they died. Otherwise this book is a 100% MUST READ FOR ANY FANS OF NORSE MYTHOLOGY! Mike Vasich really does pump new blood and energy into the old gods and their old tales.(less)
This is very much a norse fantasy book for children about 12-13 I'd say but it still has some fascinating character including the bully, victim and vi...moreThis is very much a norse fantasy book for children about 12-13 I'd say but it still has some fascinating character including the bully, victim and victim's friend, some nasty teachers and a very lovable dog. The author does give some good background to each of the characters to show why they are like they are so it does help them deviate from being sterotyped. The story outline does have some similarities to the way Kate Mosse writers her books in which a series of characters follow an almost parallel arc across different period of history and time. This I thought would help keep it interesting for the child reading and does help add drama and tension as the plot unfolds. Within the prologue which sets the scene for the entire story during the viking times in a scandinavian settlement in England the author does try to show the reader the none stereotypical view of the vikings although some of the language used by the Viking Odin Priest did worry me as it hinted he could read and write when in fact most Vikings were illiteratre, some such as Priests may well have used runes but only as a divination tool not for actual documentation also the phrase "spritiual development" was far too modern for such an era to even be thought of let alone used. I also felt a bit uncomfortable with the way each character developed an "epiphany" like state about themselves and life. I can see how they might realise the truth of reality and how people aren't always nice and how being with the incrowd isn't always good and how to stand up for what's right instead of allowing wrong to occur e.g. the bully vs victim YET it kind of spoils the essence of courage each of them finds in realising and accepting such truth. All in all it is a very entertaining and gripping plot with a very unexpected twist at the end and like all children's books it ends with a happy scene despite some strong brutality in the more tense scenes.(less)
Now I have not yet published my work-in-progress book on Amazon Kindle but I do intend to one day but Odin-son: The Beserk Saga has shown to me that y...moreNow I have not yet published my work-in-progress book on Amazon Kindle but I do intend to one day but Odin-son: The Beserk Saga has shown to me that you must get the formatting/layout of the text right and most importantly readable before hitting the "publish" button. This book demonstrates the lack of aforementioned qualities of a good kindle book. From the beginning even the brief title and copyright details are all in mixed up case lettering, including each chapter heading, the dialogue is quite often all put on the same line which doesn't help the reader work out who's talking, on many pages the text is completely right aligned making it look awkward, when the story changes location/time/characters position there is no gap between the different paragraphs so you'll be reading about Character A in place B to suddenly find yourself in the next paragraph with Character C in location D which may well and often is across the seas and in a different land; and the WORST thing is repeated instances of this "sentenceswithoutspaces" aka sentences without spaces which makes it look like gibberish and uncomfortable to read. Sadly these fatal formatting errors which the author or editor or whoever is responsible for releasing this book somehow FAILED TO FIND AND CORRECT. This book should showcase for wanna-be-kindle authors as HOW NOT TO PUBLISH A KINDLE BOOK.
However, despite these cringe worthy mistakes the story itself, if you are persistent and determined enough to read through despite all the above, is truly fantastic. It suits the name saga as it covers many years, many lands, many people, many interwoven plots and agendas and reveals a great deal into the nordic psyche of viking raiders and an old irish kingdom before Ireland was one united country. It involves betrayal, theivery, kidnap, honour, cowardice, love, murder, treachery, courage, bravery, revenge, blood feuds, friendship, loyalty, plenty of bloodshed, great battles both between individuals and with armies, epic heroes and memorable villains. Each time the narrator switches location/time to follow a certain group of characters there is always an enticing mini cliffhanger on the latter scene which encourages the reader to read faster to return back to the orginal spot to learn what happened next and it is only that feast of cliff-hangers which pulled me through the rest of the book against such frustrating errors. I recommend it to those who can be drawn into a story despite superficial errors within the text and those who believe they must finish a story once started.(less)
This book is a must read for fans of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy as it combines both in a fantastic explosion of forgotten gods, curse...moreThis book is a must read for fans of historical fiction and supernatural fantasy as it combines both in a fantastic explosion of forgotten gods, curses and spells, shamans and priests, ghosts and murder, love and revenge. It all begins from the day Cleopatra is tricked into believing her lover Mark Antony is defeated in battle and he is tricked into believing Cleopatra has completed the suicide pact she made with him. Of course when Cleopatra learns the truth it is too late to save Mark and the conquerer Augustus goes on to rub her nose in it which only makes her more pissed off as you would expect. So she makes an even more dangerous pact with a blood-lustful god of Sekhet who claims Cleopatra's soul and lives on in her spirit giving her body strange powers and strength. It then of leads of course to the famous scene where Cleopatra is 'killed' by a a cobra but how can anyone die if they have no soul? She of course espcapes from her own tomb thanks to her new enchanting relationship to creatures of the night like snakes and bats. Augustus does his best to keep the rumours of her rising from the dead a secret but it has seriously spooked him enough to send out his soldiers far and wide to 'hire' powerful mages, shaman and forgotten Priestesses to protect him from whatever sorcery Cleopatra yields in her undead form. At first Cleopatra merely wants to rescue her children from being royal hostages and escape to the south but after witnessing the death of one of the sons she bore with Mark Antony revenge and Sehket surge forth in ways beyond human imagination. And so the story rolls on as the magic and power of Cleopatra's will and Sekhet's hunger for blood do battle across land and people with the sorcerers hired by Augustus (although each has their own motive and story to accompany they're powers) taking many lives both innocent and guilty to the god of death, Hades but will this endless savage quest for honour and revenge reunite Cleopatra with Mark and her son the way she hoped? Although the first half of the story is truly seat gripping, heart wrenching and bone shaking in the gore and savagery of the new Cleopatra half human half god, it does lead to a bit of an unrealistic but gob-smacking battle of roman legions and the powers of gods from up high and down below as each part of this complex tale tries to accomplish their own agenda against each other.(less)
This book may at first reading seem to be directed more towards the teenage reader but it deals with some deep adult issues of power, ove, freedom, ru...moreThis book may at first reading seem to be directed more towards the teenage reader but it deals with some deep adult issues of power, ove, freedom, rules of society, right and wrong and more importantly childhood. This of course is all discussed through some very fascinating characters (although having read first person narrators for so long it took me a while to adjust to this omniscient narrator) and set within the 'backwards' seeming village society and reclusive world of Stonewylde. A place set in the Dorset countryside with all the majestic beauty and dark magic that lingers within the New Forest today. A place where the powers of the early druids still rule the hearts and minds of the villagers and Hallfolk (the aristocracy of Stonewylde) today. The entire story was captivating right through to the end and I finished it within five days eager to grasp my hands on the three books which follow this wonderous tale. If you love the old ways, star crossed lovers, twists and turns and ancient powers and a web of secrets in a world set within our own but follows the ways of centuries past then you will LOVE this book as much as I did.(less)
Warning: this book contains A LOT of adult material.
Although the story depicts a world I'm not familair with featuring various types of mythical being...moreWarning: this book contains A LOT of adult material.
Although the story depicts a world I'm not familair with featuring various types of mythical beings under the name Lore etc I did find it easy to slip into and the overall story arc does keep you gripped into this paranormal tale of seperated lovers. It was handy having the definitions and explanations for various names and terms at the start.
However that is far as my praise goes as there quite a few things that I simply found wrong and didn't agree with - primarily with relation to Norse Mythology. Firstly the Valkyrie character of Regin (a slightly nordic name although her sister valkyrie had the unnordic name of Lucia) is depicted is having claws that protrude from her fingers not just when she's angry but also when she's in a lustful mood and I cringed with disgust at the idea of those said claws 'curling' when she's in such a mood. I did like the idea she plays with Lightening as a weapon or electricity depending on how you looked at it - but you ever saw one example of this in the entire book. I understand creative licence an all and I know there is little documentations on the specifics of Valkyries but if you create them with too much imagination they drift away from the core of their characters as female warriors. I feel Kresley has done this. Secondly her lover is described and called several times as a Viking in the book which makes sense with his berserker powers BUT both he and his Valkyrie lover refer to ODIN AS WODEN! WRONG WRONG WRONG! Any true northman and valkyrie would call Odin - Odin! Only the Anglo-Saxons called Odin, Woden due to the Saxon heritage. I don't understand how Kresley Cole could ever get Woden and Odin mixed up especially when the symbol of two ravens in flight is used heavily throughout the book and the fact that she is using a character from the NORSE PANTHEON not Anglo-Saxon pagan beliefs.
Over all if you like paranormal romance, paranormal adventure and seeing how many times a writer can give the private parts of a woman and man different names then you might enjoy this book but if like me you know at least the good basics about norse mythology then don't read this as you will be bitterly disappointed. I almost regret buying it as I seem to know more about Norse Mythology than the author. (less)
If you like a fine saga about a brave and noble warrior defying the fates and gods against all odds on a journey filled with trials of unbelievable po...moreIf you like a fine saga about a brave and noble warrior defying the fates and gods against all odds on a journey filled with trials of unbelievable power and strength and of course bloodshed then Chronicle II - Land of Ire in The Raven and The Wolf series is the perfect book. The overall arc of the story may not be as complex in plot as Chronicle I Blood Oath but Christopher still fills it with historical action on land, around the great city of Jorvik (aka York) and now at sea on a raiders ship destined for the shores of Ireland including a special visit to the Isle of Mann which was greatly influenced by the Vikings. Where Christopher offers the reader an intriguing new view upon the types of crews which manned such raiding ships. In other historical tales I've read the crews of course are a mongrel mix of different nationalities but are often depicted as brothers in arms prepared to die for each other. But in Chronicle II the reader glimpses the forgotten conflict such a motley crew brings especially when different motives, agendas and forces of will clash for the command of such a fine vessel. The overall plot of the story is definitely character driven due to the circumstances involved. This leads to Chronicle II feeling more fast paced in its actions and plot twists whereas Chronicle I spanned many years of Wulfric's life. I do highly recommend it to those who've read Chronicle I and both to those who have yet to discover this new talent from America. Because from the events in Chronicle II the climax yet to come and hinted at for Chronicle III is going to be epic and extremely dramatic.(less)