Book review: The Terror by Giles Kristian
review by Becky
An exclusive straight to digital short story which also includes the first chapter of Giles Kristian's God of Vengeance
AD768, Avaldsnes, Norway
Jarl Harald's mead hall thrums with life. His people have gathered to feast on meat and mead and listen to the old tales. But the village skald, with all his talk of heroes and kings, will have to wait his turn. It is Harald himself who will hold them all spellbound this night. For the jarl has his own story to tell: a tale of adventure and courage. Of honour and of how friendship can be forged in fire and quenched in blood.
It is a story of love, too.
And of The Terror.
Available on Amazon.com: The Terror: A Short Story
This is Giles Kristian's first fully published short fiction and fits snuggly before God of Vengeance which leads ultimately to the Raven Trilogy.
The title is the most un-nordic of his viking historical fiction so far and the cover immediately made me think of haunted woods, siedr magic and angry volva's cackling on a stormy night. But it also made me think of a very important question - what could possibly be a 'terror' to a warrior-like northman? Who is willing to sail the seas without guarantee of his return? Who is ready to charge into battle without guarantees he will live to see victory?
My answers were shame, dishonour, betrayal - more inphysical things, virtues that all the northmen held close to their hearts.
I am not entirely sure if I am happy or not that these virtues weren't explored within The Terror, although they do feature heavily within his earlier Viking books. The Terror - is a tale with a twist in the tale and a cover and title that don't fully match with the content within I feel.
Without giving too much away the tale is about Sigurd the Lucky's (God of Vengeance/Raven)father, Jarl Harald and is a tale from the days when he was young and trying to prove himself. It involves a most unusual challenge which sets him and his friends against something indeed called 'The Terror' but I will leave it for curious readers to discover what the Terror actually is/was.
There is some battles, fighting, danger, excitement and thrills and quite a surprising amount of nudity in a way most readers wouldn't expect. The language as always with Giles is evocative, enchanting and well-crafted but as a reader who quickly devoured his earlier Viking works The Terror left me a bit empty - it didn't make a huge impact. Whether that's due to the nature of it being a short story or because all in all the story was fairly straight-lined, also perhaps due its compact nature.
But for readers new to him, his world, his characters and his talent I believe it makes a good enough taster of what readers can discover in the books following this little prequel.
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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