The Raven Series by Giles Christian
Raven, Blood Eye (First book in the series)
A Viking adventure packed with battles, blood and gore, Raven is historical fiction at its very best, and marks the debut of an outstanding new talent.
When Norsemen from across the sea burn his village, Osric, a carpenter's apprentice, is taken prisoner by these warriors. Their chief, Sigurd the Lucky, believes the Norns have woven this strange boy's fate with his own, and Osric begins to sense glorious purpose among this fellowship of warriors.
Immersed in the Norsemen's world, Osric proves a natural warrior and forges a blood bond with Sigurd, who renames him Raven. But the Norsemen's world is savage and a young man must become a killer in order to survive. Raven chooses a bloody and dangerous path, accepting the mission of raiding deep into hostile lands to steal a holy book from Coenwolf, King of Mercia.
There he will find more than the Holy Gospels of St. Jerome. He will find Cynethryth, an
English girl with a soul to match his own.
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 appearance of a group of Norse traders unsettling him and his common folk. Yet the peace is further disturbed when the local priest tried to poison 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 quickness of his tongue in saving the Jarl's life. He is taken away from the land he knows of has home with the war band and so begins another new way of life for him, of praying to the old gods to calm the seas as he is brought up upon the long ships, to hunger after treasure of silver and jewels but most of all the importance of the bond men as warriors forge and the fatal penalty due when any man breaks such an bond as the fellowship of Norsemen.
A definite must buy and read ASAP for any fans of Robert Low and Bernard Cornwell. Giles Kristian is a new kid on the block in this genre and he is definitely as talented for telling a good saga of sword brothers as Low and Cornwell who've been masters for years.
Sons of Thunder (Second book in the series)
The sequel to Giles Kristian's acclaimed historical debut, Raven: Blood Eye, this brutal, bloody and unputdownable novel continues the story of the Viking Raven and his warrior brotherhood. Never betray a Fellowship and expect to get away with your life... Raven and his Wolfpack of Norsemen have been double crossed. The traitor Ealdred seeks to sell a holy book to the Emperor Charlemagne which will ensure riches beyond his wildest dreams. Greed drives him forward, but a band of fearsome warriors is in pursuit across the sea to Charlemagne's Frankish empire -- with the bloodiest of revenge on their minds. Slaughter is certain as the Fellowship trap Ealdred and his men at the mouth of the river Sicauna in Frankia. Sigurd the Lucky challenges Ealdred's bodyguard Mauger in an ancient duel called the holmgang, and only one will walk away with his life.
This book really does triumph as a sequel to Raven: Bloodeye. There's more drama, tension, suprises, battle and death as well a nice dollop of cunning in the new series of adventures experiecnes by Raven and his fellowship of Sigurd the Lucky. There's a even a bit of love thrown in for Raven but it has turned tainted and sour by the end of the book. And one character meets his ill-fated death by the hand of no norseman which is one of the many satisfying twists and turns Gile's weaves into his fine thrilling saga. All lovers of viking historical fiction should read this and take note of the amazing new young blooded talent that brings the lives of vikings once more into the fore of our imaginations.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Raven: Odin's Wolves (Raven 3) Packed with battles, blood and thrilling adventure, the third blood-stirring chapter in the story of Raven and his fellow Viking warriors is historical fiction at its very best.
We lusted for an even greater prize... It is the one prize that can never be lost or stolen or burnt. And we would find it in Miklagard... Raven and the Wolfpack have suffered. Good men have died and the treasures they fought so hard for have been lost. But to such men as these there is something more valuable than silver. That thing is fame -- for fame is the saga-story that a Viking warrior leaves behind when he dies. Now the sea road leads to Constantinople, which Norsemen call Miklagard, the Great City, for it is there that they might find both riches and glory.
Rebecca's Review : If readers enjoyed Raven Blood Eye and Sons of Thunder then it's an unspoken guarantee that they will go literally beserk over the third installment of this fantastic viking saga, Odin's Wolves.
In this third adventure Raven and Sigurd and the rest of the crew along with the rescued Danes set their prow beasts in the direction of the mediterranean sea and the riches of Milkagard (aka Constantinople now known as Istandbul). They will not just have to survive new and treacherous waters but the new summer heat of there foreign lands and of course their strange and alien like dark skinned natives complete with new languages, rituals and trade goods. Yet as usual achieving their goal of fame and riches always comes with great challenges, great fights and great cunning to gain the best without shedding the most blood or loosing the most dishonour. The trouble Sigurd's crew and he get into as they visit the ruined city of Rome even before the reach Istanbul is enough to give them lots of good stories to tell in their mead halls back home - but when is it ever enough for these Vikings? How far can they sail and how often must they wet their sword with blood before the price of fame and fortune becomes too high?
This final book is so rich in its detail which softly immerses the reader into the dark age world for this band of vikings, with characters who develop so much through each chapter let alone each individual book any reader can't help but have a favourite let alone admire Sigurd for his prowess as a Jarl and of course a plot that is so full of twists, turns and suprises as complex yet as beautifully planned like the intricate jelling stone carving designs, taking readers though each emotion possible that Giles Kristian has truly proven himself in all areas that make a classic masterpiece of historical fiction that readers of Bernard Cornwell, Robert Low and Tim Severin should note this young viking at heart and in blood author as a writer with true talent at writing a thrilling and captivating story but one who clearly pushes ever last ounce of his admiration and love for this fine race of adventurers, warriors and craftsmen into each type of the keyboard or drop of ink from his pen.
Giles Kristian truly has brought the world of the Vikings into the 21st Century with enough power and a touch of skaldic magic that Cornwell, Low and Severin took years to establish.
Available on Amazon.com: Raven: Odin's Wolves (Raven 3)
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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