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Blood Eye (Raven #1)

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  3,323 Ratings  ·  256 Reviews

The first book in a thrilling Viking trilogy that launched the career of acclaimed historical novelist Giles Kristian - who's now confronting the tumult and devastation of the English Civil War in The Bleeding Land...

For two years Osric has lived a simple life, though he is feared and shunned for his mysterious past and blood-red eye. When raiders from across the sea rans

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Published (first published February 26th 2009)
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Jeffrey Keeten
”As if conjured from the spirit world, a dragon emerged, a wooden beast with a belly of clinkered strakes, which flowed up into its slender neck. The monster’s head was set with faded red eyes, and I wanted to run but I was stuck to the rock like the limpets, fixed by the stare of a great bearded warrior who stood with one arm around the monster’s neck. His beard parted, revealing a malicious smile, then the boat’s keel scraped up the shingle with a noise like thunder and men were jumping from t ...more
Paul O'Neill
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
If you love norse mythology or history you'll love this. A tight story with a great main character. This was so much better than I thought it would be (all other historical fiction books I've read were rather pants, looking at you Hilary Mantel and your f***ing: colons:!!).

I will be reading the next one very shortly. Meanwhile I'll say a prayer to Odin, the All-Father that he spares me for the time being!
Fun book! This was a solid 3.5 stars for me but I rounded up to a 4 to avoid Loki's wrath.

One of the most intriguing aspects of this book wasn't the violent combat, which was fun, but the lure of the sea and Norse way of life that seduces young Osric. Ack, I can almost feel the sea spray in my beard ... err peach fuzz.

This quick-paced, danger-laden story made me want to be a Norseman, even though I'm only 5'7" 150lbs. If you've got a problem with that then tell it to me axe.

Get your copy here: h
Two Reviews, Oceans apart
I decided my review of Raven: Blood Eye by Giles Kristian, would not be complete unless my review of it in 2011 was brought to the table too.
So, this is a review of two parts. Two reviews of one book, but years apart. In the name of equivalence.

I have a confession. I rarely reread. I know many people that love rereading old favourites, or books they have not read for a long time or books they want to try again to see if they feel differently about them, but I hardly e
S.J.A. Turney
May 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was doubly surprised by Raven. I bought it, in all fairness, because I'd spoken to Giles on twitter - he's a really nice fella - and it had a cool cover. There. Admission of guilt.

I've got 3 viking sagas sat in my bookshelves, all unread, because I obsess over the Roman era and I have trouble with Viking culture, because I've always thought they didn't have one. So it took me a long time to get around to braving Raven. So that was my first stumbling block: not been keen to launch into viking t
John Snow
I had high expectations, but the book was a bit disappointing. Not that Kristian doesn't write well and he certainly displays a wide knowledge of Saxons, Vikings, and Norse mythology; somehow I felt at home in his world. It was the way the story is told that disappointed me.

In the book one event follows the other - first this happens and then this - in a uni-linear and repetitive pattern. In each second chapter or so the author seems forced to put in a big fight or a battle; after some time it b
"The Good, The Bad And The Unbelievable."

One of the most important aspects of telling a story are characters. I certainly find myself often drawn to characters as well as a good story. Both really come hand in hand, so to separate them seems strange, but from a critical appraisal point of view it occurs a lot. My main problem with Raven: Blood Eye was the characters. What I did enjoy was the story. I'll get to both shortly.

When it comes to historical fiction, a lot of authors tend not to take
Not quite sure how to rate this one, going to mull it over first.

*note to self from future self: there's no time like the present to review a book, otherwise years later GR will botch your status and you'll forget ever reading it and then when you realise you have already read it you won't remember how much you liked it and if you wanted to actually continue the series... argh.
Guy Haley
I won't bang on about the plot: Young man meets Vikings, is taken in, finds he is a natural killer and has bloody adventures in Southern England in the 8/9th century. That about sums it up.

I like Vikings, for a whole parcel of reasons. I studied them at university, and married a lady Viking. I've had this lying around for aged and fancied something Norse. Blood Eye adequately captures the spirit of the era and is overall entertaining, but there are some major issues with it.

Firstly, although the
Robin Carter
May 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Vikings...A period that just screams to me to read it, if Rome is blood and sandals, then Vikings is Sea , Sword and sudden violence.
My exposure to Viking historical fiction has been limited so far, but I'm trying to catch up, I thought Robert Low had managed to reach the pinnacle of the sub genre with the oathsworn, and then out comes the raven series to take it one step further.
The writing has true power and pace, but what also come over is a true love of the subject and the characters that th
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of medieval novels, historical fiction
Giles leads readers into the grim yet fascinating world of middle age england through the character of Osric, a young man with no memory of his past apart from a blood ruined eye. His world is disturbed by the appearence of a group of norse traders unsettling him and his common folk. Yet the peace is further disturbed when the local priest tried to posion the Jarl Sigurd and Osric forewarns the Jarl of this trick. A fight ensues and men are killed yet Osric is spared only by the quickeness of hi ...more

Dedication: Raven is for Sally, with whom I have crossed oceans

Opening: The hearth is spewing more smoke than flame, seething angrily and causing some of the men to cough as they hunker down amongst the reindeer furs.

Raven: Blood Eye

First in a series and it will be my last; it was with great relief that I reached the end. Immature writing, puerile attempts at humour, and with an obvious goal of pandering to Cornwell fans.


Dark Faerie Tales
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: An historical voyage of an orphaned young man destined for Norse greatness.

Opening Sentence: It was April.

The Review:

Blood Eye begins where all good sagas do; humbly. It starts with an orphaned boy that is not truly accepted in his small village and yet does not know to want for more. When a twist of fate and chance encounter puts him along the path to his true destiny, he begins a long and treacherous journey to greatness.

Though this story
Mr. Matt
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hf-vikings, 2013
Osric is a young man with no memories of his life beyond the past two or so years. His distinctive blood-flecked eye made him an outcast among the Saxon people of his village. When Norsemen come to his village they set off a chain of events that unlocks his hidden past and Osric becomes the Raven, a Nordic warrior following Sigurd the Lucky. The band gets tied up in an adventure involving Saxon politics, a mysterious Christian relic, Welsh savages and a beautiful young Saxon noblewoman. Good tim ...more
Old-fashioned blood and guts Viking saga written with a modern sensibility - explicit description of violence including disembowelings, curses, sexual innuendo and violence - first in a planned series about a mysterious boy with an unusual blood eye and some weird capabilities; though the book stays within the "real world", the fantastic elements are implied and they may or may not show up

Osric/Raven the narrator - narrating in old age, so we know he survives his trials - has been found withou
Edit: currently rereading. (August 2013)
Below review was written when I first read the book in 2012..

This book was a bit of a disappointment for me. It looks the goods. Seemed promising out of the gate, but overall, it simply felt a bit flat.
The author can write well enough. There was no amateur writing to be had here, but the story, for me, was just words on a page. Nothing of note happens in a hurry through the meat of the book. Seemed to be a lot of standing or sitting around doing not much o
Dec 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't give a lot of "fives," but this book is definitely better than a "four."

I saw this book reviewed as "unputdownable" -- very fitting!! A friend encouraged me some months ago move this title up on my to-read list. I wish I had.

Engaging, fast-paced, gritty; everything I love in a historical fiction title. I felt like I knew the characters well, along with the world in which they lived. The author draws the reader in from the beginning. The battle scenes were detailed, without being gratuito
Georgina Ortiz
Jan 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Didn't want to compare with B. Cornwell's The Last Kingdom, but I guess it can't be helped. There were some (very forgivable) similarities. Good enough for me to look forward to the rest of the books in this series.
Marko Vasić
Da ne znam da je "Krvavo oko" pisano u vreme nastajanja Kornvelovih Saksonskih priča, rekao bih da je plagijat. Međutim, u biografiji pisca ističe se da je i sam veliki poštovalac Kornvela. To se izrazito oseća kroz čitavu knjigu. Ove savremene hronike o vikinzima znaju da budu čiste promašene teme - da se pisac bavi nepotrebnim filozofiranjem i da ne ume da dočara atmosferu koja je potrebna takvom žanru (kao, npr. Simjonova u "Maču mrtvih"), te čim to primetim odustajem od čitanja. Kristian, is ...more
Lisa Yarde
Nov 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
At the dawn of an age of Scandinavian raiding throughout Western Europe, a young man rediscovers a forgotten heritage that links him to a proud band of Norse warriors in Blood Eye, the first of Giles Kristian’s Raven trilogy. Swept up in their quest to find honor and glory in battle, Raven tests the limits of his endurance and finds companionship among these resilient but brutal warriors.

Raven does not know the name his parents might have given him at birth, where he was born or whether he has a
Dec 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very Viking, though the author never uses that term at all. A good view of the Old Beliefs as well as what Christianity was once like. Bloody in many parts, as a life lived by sword and spear would have been. I liked it enough to allow no space between this and the next in the trilogy.

We know from the outset that Osric--or Raven as he is soon renamed--survives to be an old man, telling his tales of battle and glory. That in no way detracts from the adeventures that soon follow, as we discover th
Reggie Kray
Feb 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Remarkable debut. Very reminiscent of Cornwell’s Viking series.
Zoltán Gecse
I wrote a short review (in Hungarian) at my blog:

In nutshell:
While the base concept is very good, the storyline is totally unbelievable. The two main Raven and Sigurd are two untouchable action heroes.

The description of the scenes and the details of the battles a little bit poor, and we don't know almost anything about the characters. The changes in Raven life are too fast, but he'll be the center of the events and a respectful member of the hoard of the
An astounding start to a series I must now consume as if Odin himself has willed it!

Full of characters you'll invest in completely, this book carries with it an authority that makes it all the more 'real'.

Fast paced and full of incident it remains a story of fellowship, even tho at times the actions of the fellowship seem ruthless they are a team, a band of brothers if you will.

I've already discussed this with Giles but if this book/ series is not adapted into an HBO format series or film franch
Dec 19, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is awful. I picked it up as I loved Bernard Cornwells Saxon series so much I thought this may tide me over. However it is a c grade rip off of Bernard, even the main character is a poor copy of my beloved Uthred. The plot is so thin it just doesn't add up in key parts yet the Norse folklore is so laboured that you are screaming out 'Ok! I get it!'I actually abandoned this at the very end when Raven just casually becomes a rapist with no context. Boo!
I can't understand the higher ratings of
Charles  van Buren
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well told tale of ninth century Norsemen and England, December 3, 2017

Verified Purchase(What's this?)

This review is from: Blood Eye: A Novel (Raven: Book 1) (Kindle Edition)
Blood Eye features a boy of approximately sixteen years who has no past, no memory more recent than a couple of years, a newly discovered ability to speak Norse and a remarkable affinity for weapons handling. The implications being that he is a Norse boy who was injured and lost in England. There seems to be no other explanat
James Cox
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book a lot. There are great characters and the viking setting was fantastic. I'm already looking for the next book in the series because I have to find out how this ends.
Lettlest underholdning med raskt tempo. Mangler litt kjøtt på beinet, blir litt mye av det samme om og om igjen.
Richard Myers
Dec 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book

I didn’t want to put this book down. The action moves quickly and the descriptions of what’s going on are so good that I can see them in front of me. A great Viking story that everyone needs to read.
Michael Nystad
Sep 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gift sent from Odin himself! Viking mayhem delivered at a roaring pace.
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Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired GILES KRISTIAN to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin's Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by that brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also ...more
More about Giles Kristian

Other books in the series

Raven (3 books)
  • Sons of Thunder (Raven #2)
  • Odin's Wolves (Raven, #3)

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“Pagan or Christian a man is never happier than when he has emptied his balls and drunk his fill.” 1 likes
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