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The Crimson Shield

(Gallow #1)

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  506 ratings  ·  43 reviews
Fantasy needs a new hero. Meet Gallow - Truesword, Griefbringer and trouble for anyone who crosses him.

I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords a
Paperback, 336 pages
Published July 11th 2013 by Gollancz
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Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  506 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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May 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: review-copy
4.5. Wow. Hell of an ending. Definitely one of the better books I've read this year.

Several months back I was looking through the catalogue for Gollancz and one book in particular caught my eye, and it was Nathan Hawke’s The Crimson Shield. Notice anything different about the cover when compared to others? The title and author aren’t there – they’re on the binding. And with a cover that beautiful, it’s both a bold strategy and a no-brainer. Hawke, the pseudonym of Stephen Deas, author of The Mem
Robin Carter
Jun 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
I literally begged to get my hands on this book, if you’re not sure why then look again at the cover art. Art in every sense of the word, so much so that Gollanzc have taken the brave and innovative step to not have the authors name or book title on the front cover. This truly is one of the finest book covers I have ever seen, I only wish this was a hardback, and I could buy the original art work.
So is this new book any good?
Oh yes! Its a fantastic blending of fantasy and historical fictio
Tom Lloyd
May 29, 2013 rated it really liked it

A good, uncomplicated Viking-ish fantasy - A great mix of bloodied axes and brave warriors, an honest hero and the war that gets in his way, so all good stuff! You've got a good hero who's moving on from his violent past, three opposing sides to ensure the mayhem keeps going apace and some engaging side characters inspired by Gemmell or Erikson to add to the fun. It wasn't perfect - Arda, one of the few women, gets relegated to a voice in Gallow's head for most of the book, the world building is
Kirsty Bassett
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was ok
I cant decide if I like this book or not.

In some ways it was sooo good, the battle scenes were just epic and gory.

And yet the worldbuilding just doesnt seem that great.

My main issue, where are all the women?!

Arda is the only one we hear of, and even she is only in the book for a shory span of time, the rest is in Gallow's thoughts of her.

I honestly dont know how the forkbeards, vathan or marroc procreate, I mean the lack of women is just astonishing.

Oh wait ive just remembered there are two
Jay  The Crippled God
The third star is awarded for the book belonging to the Fantasy genre "my Fav" and not for how good it was for it wasn't gripping (story nor otherwise,) lacking in humor, or epicness and mainly, the ending was just ugh.

The most interesting part about the book is the concept/idea of the Weeping God. I always had a feeling within me about the existence of such a deity and guess what, my feelings got embodied.

save your harsh comments for This review sucked just as bad as this book did xD ahahahahah
Jul 02, 2013 marked it as started_finish_later
this seems to be S. Deas as N. hawke so it is a must when in the mood for it
Deborah Ideiosepius
This book is really quite brilliant in many different ways: It ticks all the boxes for a vivid, exciting Viking story but it does this without ever mentioning Vikings, How?

Our protagonist, Gallow, travelled to the land in which we find him as part of a raiding party/invasion force. His people are known among themselves as Lohsir and to the people they are invading as forkbeards. So, a rose by any other name may smell as sweet, but a bearded, axe wielding, longboat riding force of men who raid fo
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books, 2013-reads
Bloody and intelligent; stunning and emotional,
It does not happen very often that I really hate a character like Prince Medrin Twelvefingers!!

Full review in progress
Steven Poore
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, the-grims
It's no secret that Nathan Hawke is Stephen Deas is Nathan Hawke. No secret either that this, the first in a trilogy, owes as great a debt to David Gemmell as it does to our modern image of Vikings. But Gallow does seem to be a name mostly unspoken in fantasy circles, and that's a damned shame - here's a hero who deserves a much wider audience.

Grim and gritty, but not grimdark, The Crimson Shield skates between all-out battles, skirmishes, door-to-door fighting, and siege-and-plunder as it tells
Bradley George
Oct 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I wasnt too sure whether to give this novel 5 stars or not - I've just come off the back of watching Vikings and I've never read any of Stephen Deas' (Nathan Hawke) novels. I've always been a massive fan of Gemmell's Drenai books and was pleasantly surprised that this novel reads along similar lines yet stands on its own.

Many have criticised the lack of world-building however I found what was built was suitable. This novel is a rip-roaring fantasy/action. It was not meant to be Jordan-Epic.

Mar 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Would give 3.5 stars if I could, but doesn't rise to a four-star.
I did enjoy this book a lot, and began book two as soon as I finished this one.
This took a while to hook me. I struggled early to identify with and embrace the characters. Once I did, though, it was an easy read. By the end of the book, I was keenly interested in what was happening with these people. Not on the edge of my seat or anything, but interested and concerned.
The world-building was sketchy and lacking. I seldom felt immers
Craig Slater
Aug 01, 2013 rated it liked it
A Viking influenced Grim Dark Fantasy tale, reminiscent of David Gemmell, Joe Abercrombie, of the newcomer Snorri Kristjansson.

It's essentially a tale centered around Gallow, who has, for reasons that become obvious as the story progresses, forsaken his fork-beard ways (Vikings) for a more civilized and settled way of life (blacksmith, farmer, father), but is caught between 3 waring factions and has to make some difficult decisions and take some bloody actions.

He's trying to do the tight thing
Dave Argrave
Sep 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good read. Very enjoyable.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2018, discarded
DNF at 60%

This book is a failure in every regard, and I say that as someone who has quite liked Stephen Deas's The Memory of Flames series. It's trying to be grimdark, but it's not. It's trying to be fantasy, but it's not. It's trying to have an antihero, but it doesn't. It's trying to be mysterious, but no one (namely me) cares enough to be interested in the sort-of-kind-of-not-really element of mystery.

The world building kind of sucks. The character building definitely sucks--I mean Gallow is
Jim Galford
Aug 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I wasn't sure when I selected this book as to what I would get, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is a fascinating fantasy with loose historical settings. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to the next two in the series.
Natalie Rivener
Dec 08, 2017 rated it it was ok
I found it hard to related to Gallow, the main character. It coloured me entire experience of the book.
Apr 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: dustman
Pretty good read. Jumps around a lot.
Andrew Garrie
Jul 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very big fan of this book. Straightforward and violent. Not trying to disguise too much in the way of subtext and very entertaining throughout.
M Hamed
May 18, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2017, fantasy
not as bad as you might think.
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: e-book, fantasy, kobo
actual 3.5 rating from me. Enjoyable read!
Dec 25, 2014 rated it liked it
The cover has caught my eyes, as it was designed to do i'm sure, I suppose that anyone who've seen it can actually make a pretty good guess at the content of this story, for once you can judge the book from the cover.

So, the setting is pretty simple, We got a good example of a Mêlée à Trois, or three way battle between three armies, three culture and three nations.
The Vathan, tribes of horse men people have united themselves under a single leader and are planning a conquest of Marroc lands, whic
Jeff Black
May 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
I bought this book on a blind purchase based on the deadly cover art and a look at the map, and I'm glad I did, because it was a really fun read. There are a few flaws, but everything else made up for it. The dialogue is a blast. Cynical, crudely funny, full of life and personality. A lot of backstory and history is doled out in a huge dialogue chunk early in the book, and that info is important all through the series, so you may find yourself flipping back to that section periodically to remind ...more
Shane Kiely
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
Though set in a fictional universe, this feels more like historical fiction than heroic fantasy. The Supernatural components never really come to the fore (perhaps that's being saved for future installments). Though it's the first in a trilogy, with a tiny bit of tweeking this story could've worked just as well as a standalone. Essentially it's about vikings. They're never referred to as such but to all intents & purposes Gallow Truesword & his people the Lhoisir are vikings. Well Gallow ...more
Blodeuedd Finland
Aug 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Think Vikings, then again you only need to see the cover to think that. And they are a way. This is a fantasy world after all.

A world where the Forkbeards from the North hold a country across the seas. The Marroc (guess they are England then) who lives there are not happy. But that is not the end, oh no, there is a third army trying to conquer the Marroc and the Lhosir (the vikings) tries to hold them back. Yes you can guess that there is a lot of fighting.

Who to root for? The Lhosi
Benjamin Kahn
Jan 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Great read. Starts off at the beginning of a battle and just keeps going. I was a little unsure about this book since there is absolutely no information on the book itself - the front cover is just an illustration, and the back cover just has the title, the author, and the line "A good man when the blood flows ... Gallow"

I actually kept seeing the third book in this trilogy at the library which had a similar cover and lack of information, and finally got the first one to see what it was all abo
Mar 07, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
David Gemmel is one of my favourite writers and he was the first who made me love the fantasy genre, especially the heroic part of it.
Now the Crimson Shield is really very close to be like a Gemmel's book.
At least it is the closest I read in a few years together with Heroes of Joe Abercrombie.
If you love heroes, far from flawless and with many problems, but which in the end decide to do always the rightest and most honourable thing, this is a book for you.
I am a lover of such characters and I re
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Slušne napísaný príbeh využívajúci prvky heroickej fantasy, bez explicitnej mágie a bez nalešteného hrdinu. Dej nie je podaný celkom lineárne, teda ho počas čítania postupne rekonštruujeme, čo je na jednej strane zaujímavý nápad, ale vyžaduje aj skúseného autora a podľa mňa je to trochu nedotiahnuté. Hlavný hrdina je zaujímavý, ale nie je (zatiaľ) nijako výrazný, v množstve postáv sa stráca a aj jeho osudovosť je akoby vyblednutá. Najvýraznejším "fantasy" prvkom je práve nedopovedanosť a náz
Dec 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Interesting story. Deas is one of my favorite writers. His books are difficult to get in the states.

The world building is excellent and the character growth is as good as in his other novels.

I like Gallow and the back story is tied in nicely to where and why the characters are where they are.

This is a fun read. Gallow is one committed guy once makes up his mond.

Interesting story line is how Gallow has to reconcile the changes he has gone through a a person.

Characters are interesting, the battl
Gilly Pardy
Aug 28, 2013 rated it liked it
my first inspiration to read this book , was simply the cover- so bold as to have no name or title on the front, the art work outstanding.
perhaps not the right reason to read a book , but enticing all the same.
however on the inside i found the story entertaining enough, if not a little samey in parts , and hard to follow which sub character was which.
although i didn't find myself frenzy driven to finish this book, it was entertaining enough, and indeed i Will read the rest of the series- if onl
Raymond Just
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
A low, gritty fantasy tale in the vein of Abercrombie, The Crimson Shield is both well-written and enjoyable, while perhaps not overly memorable. Hawke develops his hero, Gallow, with a smooth and practiced hand, and the many actions sequences serve to showcase how good the author is at bouncing his narrative from battle to battle. It's like a good hour of television - one enjoys it while they're watching, but can't remember too much about it a few days later.
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Nathan Hawke is the pseudonym of fantasy author Stephen Deas.

Other books in the series

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  • Cold Redemption (Gallow, #2)
  • The Last Bastion (Gallow, #3)
“Sheep buggerers!" he roared. "I was only going to eat your women and rape your men until you did that!” 3 likes
“Fall on your knees and we'll let you live! A bit.” 3 likes
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