Norway 785 AD. It began with the betrayal of a lord by a king . . .
But when King Gorm puts Jarl Harald's family to the sword, he makes one terrible mistake - he fails to kill Harald's youngest son, Sigurd.
On the run, unsure who to trust and hunted by powerful men, Sigurd wonders if the gods have forsaken him: his kin are slain or prisoners, his village attacked, its people taken as slaves. Honour is lost.
And yet he has a small band of loyal men at his side and with them he plans his revenge. All know that Ódin - whose name means frenzy - is drawn to chaos and bloodshed, just as a raven is to slaughter. In the hope of catching the All-Father's eye, the young Viking endures a ritual ordeal and is shown a vision. Wolf, bear, serpent and eagle come to him. Sigurd will need their help if he is to make a king pay in blood for his treachery.
Using cunning and war-craft, he gathers together a band of warriors - including Olaf, his father's right hand man, Bram who men call Bear, Black Floki who wields death with a blade, and the shield maiden Valgerd, who fears no man - and convinces them to follow him.
For, whether Ódin is with him or not, Sigurd will have his vengeance. And neither men nor gods had best stand in his way . . .
Review by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer
Set in 8th century Norway, this new Viking tale by bestselling author, Giles Christian, is a wild ride of bloody fights, battles, and aggression, clearly portraying the violence of the medieval Scandinavia era. Full of unusual events and deaths, this is a story that will hold your interest from its gripping beginning to its startling end. Fast paced, this story of a blood feud is filled with fascinating, realistic characters whose dialogue is rich and crude, sarcastic and funny. My favourite besides the main character, Sigurd, is definitely Olaf, a wizened, battle-hardened warrior and father figure.
After the violent loss of most of his family and village at the hands of a treacherous jarl and an oath-breaking king, the young Sigurd is bent on revenge. Against all odds, and without riches or troops, he slowly gathers men willing to face off against these powerful killers. Their travels bring to life the brutal, ruthless way of life lived by the Vikings.
Brilliant prose, vivid descriptions, and compelling characters weaved around a heart-pounding plot make this a must read. If you are a fan of the series, The Vikings, then this book is for you. An ungentle tale filled with ruthless brutality, a roller coaster of emotion, and a quest for revenge filled with blood and heartbreak.