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The Shadow of the Gods

(The Bloodsworn Saga #1)

4.51  ·  Rating details ·  152 ratings  ·  127 reviews
Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world, and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from bestselling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk t
Hardcover, 496 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2021 by Orbit (first published May 4th 2021)
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John Gwynne Hi Egor, great to hear from you. To answer your question, no, this new series, The Bloodworn Saga, is not set in the same world as the Faithful and th…moreHi Egor, great to hear from you. To answer your question, no, this new series, The Bloodworn Saga, is not set in the same world as the Faithful and the Fallen. It is a new world inspired by Beowulf and Ragnarok, filled with monster-hunting mercenary bands, dragon-prowed longships and creatures that hunt with tooth and claw. I hope you will join me as I begin this new journey following the Bloodsworn as they carve a bloody path across Vigrid, the Battle-Plain ⚔️(less)

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Average rating 4.51  · 
Rating details
 ·  152 ratings  ·  127 reviews

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Mar 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I have a Booktube channel now! Subscribe here:

ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Reading The Shadow of the Gods is equivalent to witnessing a new brilliant legendary Norse-inspired epic fantasy series in the making.

“Sometimes there are no choices. We are swept along in a current not of our own choosing… I will be the current. I will be the course.”

By this point, does it still come as a shock that I ended up loving this? I’ve re
John Gwynne
Feb 23, 2020 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: fantasy
*UPDATE - The Shadow of the Gods comes out May 4th in the US and May 6th in the UK. Around a month to go.*

Here's the cover-art for THE SHADOW OF THE GODS...

I hope you love it as much as I do 😁🐉⚔️🐺🛡


I hope you like it.
Book 1 of The Bloodsworn Saga is finished. The first draft is complete...
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, fantasy

The greatest book I have ever read (not even slightly biased). Absolutely amazing viking-fantasy full of norse creatures, intense and bloody fights and a story that did not let up from the first page. I need the next one now!
William Gwynne
My brother and I will be interviewing John Gwynne (our dad) in a few days, so, if you have any questions you would like us to ask him, please comment them below!


Okay. Okay. Well

I'm speechless

This book is honestly just incredible. INCREDIBLE

The grittiest John Gwynne book so far. The most realistic. The most amazing. There is honestly not a dull moment, because it is always tense and just shocking. I cannot wait for everyone else to read this next year. Add it to your lists, get a countdown,
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Living in the shadow of dead Gods isn’t easy. In a world shattered by divine anger and jealousy, it takes everything you have to survive. And to thrive? Well, that takes a hell of a lot more. A will to win. The skills to kill and not be killed. Plus a war band of extremely dangerous friends so you never have to tackle bloody murder and life’s mayhem alone. When the high stakes competition for relics, money, and power means that you’re up against other highly-trained mercs, short of nothing but g ...more
Mar 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-releases
Since this is a new series by John Gwynne, The Shadow of the Gods was one of my most anticipated book releases this year. I’ve been eyeing Malice since 2016 but didn’t get the chance to read it. Considering the hype and praise surrounding Gwynne in the fantasy community, I was ecstatic that I was approved for an arc. I’m not a fast reader but books rarely take me over a week to finish. Especially arcs. The Shadow of the Gods took me 10 days even though it wasn’t particularly long. I wanted to lo ...more
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Rating: 10/10

Thanks to the publisher and author for an advance reading copy of The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) for review consideration. This did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

The Shadow of the Gods is a masterclass in storytelling. It is epic, gritty fantasy with an uncompromising amount of heart. A near-perfect combination of Vikings and Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom, but with a fantastical flare that Gwynne executes flawlessly.

I didn’t know a perfect book existed until I
James Tivendale
Mar 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, freecopy
I received an uncorrected proof copy of The Shadow of the Gods in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to John Gwynne and Orbit Books.

The Shadow of the Gods is a gritty and violent Norse mythology-inspired tale that features monsters, magic, vengeance, warbands, and shield walls. It takes place approximately 300-years after the Gods of Vigrið fought and battled themselves to annihilation and follows three distinct point of view perspectives as they traverse Gwynne's well-realised dark fantas
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Mar 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

The Shadow of the Gods is the new benchmark in Norse mythology-inspired stories. This is the fantasy I’ve been waiting for.

In all honesty, this book had as good a chance as possible of becoming a favourite of mine, for I am without a doubt an ardent reader and supporter of John Gwynne and his books, having read and loved all of his previous works. Both The Faithful and the Fallen and Of Blood and Bone are masterpieces in my est
The Tattooed Book Geek (Drew).
As always this review can also be found on my blog The Tattooed Book Geek: https://thetattooedbookgeek.wordpress...

John Gwynne is one of those special types of authors, an author who makes you remember why you originally fell in love with a specific genre and then further solidifies that love you have. He is one of my favourite fantasy authors, his The Faithful and the Fallen series is incredible and my all-time favourite fantasy series and his subsequent follow-up trilogy the Of Blood and Bone
Mar 06, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, fantasy
The previous series were love at first sight from the very first pages. With this one, it took me half of it to get into, but after that it flowed and I was entranced.

Three main characters with different upbringing (although one still has their secrets yet to be revealed), driven by different motivations, are caught in a turmoil which we have barely got a glimpse of in this first volume; it felt like we are just being prepared for what is to come.

The worldbuilding is awesome, with rune magic a
The Coycaterpillar Reads
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing

Never has there been a more impossible review to write. The Shadow of the Gods, a book that has not only captured my imagination but stolen my heart with the range of differing but equally loveable characters. Some you love to hate and some that carve a big gash across your chest with glistening sharp axe. The storytelling is magical but brutally real, the atmospheric worldbuilding enraptures you, you can feel the raw and biting waves as you travel with these Nors
David S Meanderings)
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: norse, 2021-release
4.75 stars rounded up

“I am blood. I am death. I am vengeance.”

Thank you so much to Orbit Books for this early copy in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this did not affect my review in any way.

This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2021 and it did not disappoint. John Gwynne has created a Norse inspired world of gods and monsters, warriors and thralls, love and loss that quickly grabbed me and held my attention until the very last page.

In my opinion, where Gwynne really shines in
Mar 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
4.5/5. This is my very first John Gwynne. Thank you to Netgallery for giving me the chance to read it early.


- Found family
- Grumpy adult adopts/travels with kids
- Monsters and monster battles
- Feminist themes
- Multi POV
- "Runaway slave" arc
- Magical/special humans
- Revenge story
- No/minimal romance

The Shadow of the Gods is a Viking-inspired fantasy epic that tells the story of three people.

Orka is a loving mother and wife whose child is kidnapped- one of many in her village. Furio
Nils | nilsreviewsit
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
5 stars isn’t enough!

Fantasy fans, John Gwynne is back and this time he’s brought all the monsters with him.

The Shadow of the Gods is the first book in The Bloodsworn saga, a Norse inspired tale of blood and vengeance. In a world where gods have fought and died and in their wake opened a pit unleashing monsters of land, sea and sky, surviving is no easy task to say the least. The lands of Vigrið and the Battle-Plain are a perilous place to call a home, it is a place where Jarls plot t
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
All the stars!

Sometimes, fate lines up and you receive an advanced reader copy of a novel that is one of your most anticipated books of the year. And sometimes, fate has it, that you realize as you read the words that form sentences and paragraphs that transform into an unforgettable story, that the book you hold in your hands is one of the best ones ever written.

John Gwynne’s new novel, The Shadow of The Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga #1) is an epic fantasy set in a Norse-inspired world filled with
Apr 14, 2021 is currently reading it
In the last half year, i read everything that Gwynne wrote and I am adding this one to those books soon!

ARC provided by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange of an honest review.
Library of a Viking
Mar 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
“Death is our constant companion, a whisper in our ear, but when you see a friend fall…nothing prepares us for it, even though we’ve waded through a river of the dead.”

The Shadow of the Gods is set in Vigrid, a Norse-inspired world, and is the first book in the Bloodsword Saga.

Let me first start by saying that I am from a small Nordic country called the Faroe Islands, and I know how to speak Faroese, Danish, and I can read Swedish and Norwegian. Furthermore, I have grown up hearing about Nordic
Alex Nieves
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ARC provided by the publisher—Orbit—in exchange for an honest review.

Another solid book by one of my now favorite fantasy authors, John Gwynne. We follow a unique and interesting cast of characters with the 3 main POV's of Varg, Elvar and Orka.

This book is stuffed full of all the Vikings goodness you could ask for: jarls, violence, bloodeagles, beards and language I can't even begin to read or comprehend. There is absolutely a great foundation here that is beaming with detail and lore.

I'm eage
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing

I received an Advanced Reader Copy from Orbit books in exchange for an honest review. It is a rare experience in life when a novel renders me speechless and in awe of what is to come. Only two authors have had this effect on me and they are the pillars of the fantasy genre: George R.R Martin and Brandon Sanderson. John Gwynne has done this to me on THREE separate occasions upon the completion of his books and the Shadow of the Gods brings it up to four. De
Craig Slater
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Wow. What a ride.

Three POVs, all of which are fleshed-out and interesting, weave through a world steeped in Viking (Nordic?), history, myth and saga. The wood carvings made flesh.

I really loved how John bleed the myth into the "modern world", making it a real, tactile thing. The shadow of a saga that could rip your throat out.

The tone is grim and bloody, but only so much as is needed to get through the cold hard world.

Fight scenes are hard to write, but these flow. The many hours he's spent
Jake Bishop
Jan 11, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: planned-for-2021
that cover though, so epic
Apr 14, 2020 marked it as in-possession-to-read
My life is simple. I see John Gwynne. I click “want to read”. I go to sleep until the book is released. Why is that so hard for some people to understand?
Arundeepak Jayaseelan
Mar 01, 2021 rated it it was amazing

First of all, thanks to the author and publisher for approving my ARC request.

The Shadow of the Gods is Probably one of the best first entry to a fantasy series till date.

The author sets the tone of this norse inspired epic in the first chapter itself... Beautiful to look at and Brutal to live in...

Entirety of this book is told through 3 POV characters: Orka, Elvar and Varg. Each character with an unique voice. Even though Orka and Elvar's characters were absolutely fantastic to read my favou
Janelle Garrett
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
*Thank you to Orbit for this ARC. All opinions are my own*

I've heard John Gwynne's name tossed around here and there as being one of the premier fantasy writers out there. I've never read any of his stuff, so when the opportunity presented itself to get hands on his newest release coming in May, I jumped on it. After finishing this novel, I can certainly see why he has the reputation that he does.

The Shadow of the Gods is a sweeping Norse epic tale, the type that makes you feel all the things.
Wick Welker
Apr 03, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fav-sf-f, fantasy
A promising, if not predictable, start.

I'm a big John Gwynne fan. I've read both the prior 7 books of Faithful and Fallen and Of Blood and Bone and enjoyed them thoroughly. I was excited to sink my teeth into his newest endeavor, The Shadow of the Gods . The cover art alone was completely jaw dropping and the Norse mythology certainly had me excited to dig in.

The world building is absolute if not a tad tedious. Chapter by chapter, a new world is opened up to the reader full of mercenary war-ba
S A M | The Book in Hand
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Hello Bookish Beings!

As usual this review an be found HERE and all my other reviews cane be found HERE

Today I am finally going to review John Gwynne’s newest book The Shadow of the Gods.

I would like to thank Orbit for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review, receiving this by no means influences my review but if you don’t know already I am a HUGE John Gwynne fan so…This review is likely no shock.

Here are a few things you can expect from this book:

A Norse inspired epi
Jan 15, 2021 marked it as to-read
Shelves: i-need
Probably my most anticipated book of 2021, can't think of anything else that comes close. ...more
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My thanks to Orbit books, John Gwynne and Netgalley.
I haven't even the words to describe what a standout this story is!
For me, the book cover best describes my thoughts! That little person, standing on the mound against the big bad! That's how this felt!
This was pure adrenaline.
I never read much Viking stuff. Love the show!
This is based on Nordic mythology. But even more.
This book made me tense. It is grimdark at its most hurried, no breaks, kill, maim, and die.
It was freaking fantastic, and
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I am the author of epic fantasy series The Faithful and the Fallen, Of Blood and Bone and The Bloodsworn Saga. I'm also a Viking re-enactor and enjoy nothing more than standing in the shield wall with my three sons, who are as passionate about swords and axes as I am (when I'm not stuck in my coat of mail; it's harder than it looks).
I live on the south coast of the UK with my beautiful wife, thre

Other books in the series

The Bloodsworn Saga (2 books)
  • Untitled (The Bloodsworn Saga, #2)

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