Review of The Raven and the Wolf Series by Christopher Spellman
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.
The Raven & The Wolf: Chronicle II - The Land of Ire
The sequel to The Raven & the Wolf trilogy's 2010 debut novel Blood Oath, Land of Ire continues the dramatic saga of two Anglo-Danish brothers on the isle of Britain embroiled in a bitter, dark age blood feud
As an avid student of history Christopher Spellman's interest gravitated toward the 'Dark Ages' of Post-Roman Europe with an emphasis on England during the Viking Age. A habitual reader of Icelandic Sagas, his writing reflects the sort of evocative themes of that turbulent era.
. Available on Amazon.com: THE RAVEN & THE WOLF: Chronicle II - Land of Ire
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 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.
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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