Review of The Blood Oath Series by Christopher Spellman
The second book of this series is out! (Land of Ire) and Becky has reviewed that too! Here
It is early in the 10th century. England has crowned a new king - Æthelstan the Faithful of Wessex - who has endeavored to unify all the realms of the isle under one rule.
But unity is not always won through bloodless means.
For Wulfric and Hereric, brothers of dubious descent who have fled their native kingdom of Northumbria under circumstances they shall not fully comprehend for many years, the prospect of unity is as strained as that of England itself. Forced to endure a bloody, timeless pact, they are sworn as protectors of one another. But the gods and Norn-maidens of their religion have another fate in store for the two kinsmen.
Their oath in jeopardy, the brothers embark upon diverging paths that by fate will force them to decide where their loyalties are strongest. As a coalition of discontented Scots, Britons and an opportunistic Viking kingdom in Ireland gather to challenge the authority of Wessex's overlordship, the paths they have chosen are destined to draw them into the upheaval that shall become England's greatest struggle.
The Norns are weaving the black threads of doom, ravens are circling low above fallowed fields and the gods are set to unchain the wolves from their dens.
The Raven & the Wolf: Blood Oath is a tale of Dark Age betrayal, of kingdoms in conflict and the destiny that shall turn the fields of Britain into a sea of blood.
This book is such a labour of love, passion and interest nearly every page is crammed with details surrounding the characters, the time, the setting that it is impossible not to be drawn into this fuedal mystery and quest for vengence set near the end of the 10th century under the reign of King Athelstan.
Over all not a great deal occurs just following the character from one trial of persecution, betrayal and fight from survival to the next but there are some moments within it all where peace is felt for the reader not just the character and we get a glimpse of the possible happiness and love and friendship found within those living through this rather turbulent period. The reader also becomes witness to how a brotherhood of men can be forged in the spilt blood of survival, the strength of alliance and the quest for justice which is quite unqiue for in other historical novels involving vikings or anglo-saxons this brotherhood is often discovered in battles on distant continents and at sea on their travels - this all takes place in this book on land and within the small feuding kingdoms of Mercia and North Cumbria.
In summary this is one giant saga of complex and dazzling proportions depicting how family feuds in that era just don't effect those directly involved but those of their ancestors and how the cause of these blood feuds which tear families and communities apart can often end up repeating itself and all through the quest for vengence against an offence that took place many, many years before. The beauty of this saga being told is not that it focuses on majorly big important historical events (apart from the ending) but it shows how life goes on around those turning points in history and really shows in gritty and neat detail how the lives of the common people from thrall to earldoreman are effected and are drawn into these pivoting points of the past.
This book is one that will be enjoyed by fans of the Anglo-Saxon or Viking era but I must warn you it is a lengthy read but by the end it will prove worth it. Just hope the sequel in this chronicle series can stand up to the benchmark the first has claimed.
Book 2 of this series is out (Land of Ire) and Becky has reviewed that for us too. Read it right here
Want to adventure throught the lands of the Vikings? The height of the Vikings is an amazing period of time and there is a lot of great fiction that is based on historical facts from that period and place. Rebecca Wilson has written a guide to the genre and to some of the best works in the genre.
If you are fascinated by the subject of Vikings you should check out her blog at: http://www.soulchaserbecky.blogspot.com/
You can follow her on Twitter @soulchaserbecky.
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