The Lords of the Wind – Guest Post for Coffee Pot Book Club

(The Saga of Hasting the Avenger, Book 1)

By C.J. Adrien

Book Title: The Lords of the Wind

Series: The Saga of Hasting the Avenger

Author: C.J. Adrien

Publication Date: 4th July 2019

Publisher: Runestone Books

Audiobook Publisher: Tantor Media

Narrator: Gildart Jackson

Page Length: 337 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @authorcjadrien @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @authorcjadrien @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Vikings #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub Tour Schedule: https://maryanneyarde.blogspot.com/2021/08/blog-tour-lords-of-wind-by-cj-adrien.html

(Blurb)

Orphaned as a child by a blood-feud, and sold as a slave to an exiled chieftain in Ireland, the boy Hasting had little hope of surviving to adulthood. The gods had other plans. A ship arrived at his master’s longphort carrying a man who would alter the course of his destiny, and take him under his wing to teach him the ways of the Vikings. His is a story of a boy who was a slave, who became a warlord, and who helped topple an empire.

A supposed son of Ragnar Lodbrok, and referred to in the Gesta Normannorum as the Scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life exemplified the qualities of the ideal Viking. Join author and historian C.J. Adrien on an adventure that explores the coming of age of the Viking Hasting, his first love, his first great trials, and his first betrayal.

“The Lords of the Wind” by C.J. Adrien is a gold medal winner in the 2020 Reader’s Favorite annual international book award.contest.

GUEST POST

There are many famed warriors from the Viking Age who successfully lived up to the reputation of their people, but perhaps none so much as Hasting. Referred to in the Gesta Normanorum as the scourge of the Somme and Loire, his life was lived for adventure. Although he did not carve out large swaths of territory for himself as many others had done, he built an enduring reputation as a man of great prowess, largesse, and cunning.

Hasting’s story begins as many in the Viking Age did: ambiguously. We do not know for certain who his parents were, although it is suggested in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle that he was a son of Ragnar Lodbrok. The Chronicle also suggests that he was a Dane, but that too is difficult to verify. His first raid of notoriety was that of the sack of Nantes in 843 A.D. in which he is named in the Annales D’Angoulême as being among the Vestfaldingi, or men of Vestfold. The sack of Nantes was a cataclysmic event that sent ripples throughout the Frankish Empire and marked the beginning of more aggressive Norse incursions in the region.

Hasting is thought to have spent a great deal of time in the Bay of Biscay during his early life, but mentions of him in the sources are sparse. The Chronicle of Nantes mentions he forged an alliance with the usurper Lambert to take Nantes, but the Chronicle is generally considered as having fabricated many of the details of the event. The Vie and Miracles de Saint Martin de Vertou suggests the Vikings were invited into the city for the festival of Saint John, which indicates that prior to the sack of Nantes there may have been semi-amicable relations between the locals and the Scandinavians.

With so much ambiguity in the sources, it is difficult to piece together Hasting’s life, despite his notoriety in the Gesta Normanorum and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. My novel is an attempt to give life to a character who has seldom been the focus of the main narrative despite having been the living embodiment of what it was to be a Viking. I attempt to recreate his early life, follow his journey from slave to sea captain, and set the stage for the famous events he orchestrated in his later life, which I will cover in later novels.

Primary sources attesting to Hasting’s life:

  • Gesta Normanorum, by Dudo of St. Quentin
  • Gesta Danorum, by Saxo Grammaticus
  • Histoire des Normands, by William of Jumièges
  • Annals of St. Bertin
  • Chronicon, by Regino Prum
  • Annales D’Angoulème
  • The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
  • Chronique de Nantes
  • Historiarum Libri Quinque, by Raoul Glaber

Author Bio:

C.J. Adrien

C.J. Adrien is a bestselling and award-winning author of Viking historical fiction novels with a passion for Viking history. His Saga of Hasting the Avenger series was inspired by research conducted in preparation for a doctoral program in early medieval history as well as his admiration for historical fiction writers such as Ken Follett and Bernard Cornwell. He is also a published historian on the subject of Vikings, with articles featured in historical journals such as LAssociation des Amis de Noirmoutier, in France. His novels and expertise have earned him invitations to speak at several international events, including the International Medieval Congress at the University of Leeds, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), conferences on Viking history in France, among others.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://cjadrien.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/authorcjadrien

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cjadrien

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/c-j-adrien-147a40203/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorcjadrien/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/c-j-adrien

Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/C-J-Adrien/e/B00EWTIVH4

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7546704.C_J_Adrien

Buy Links:

This series is available on #KindleUnlimited

The Lords of the Wind (Book 1) – https://books2read.com/u/mgE797

In the Shadow of the Beast (Book 2) – https://books2read.com/u/bPQg67 The Kings of the Sea (Book 3) – https://books2read.com/u/b5ol2w

LINK to Hoover Book Reviews review:

To the Death

(Viking Chronicles #2)

by Martin Lake

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The Viking army is about to face its greatest challenge, the Kingdom of Wessex. King Æthelred and his brother Alfred are determined to wage war to the death.

The Great Viking Army has conquered Northumbria and East Anglia. Two English kingdoms remain independent, Mercia and Wessex. The sons of Ragnar, leaders of the army, must decide which to attack next.

Leif Ormson, once Skald to Ivar the Boneless, has now been made a jarl. He is a reluctant warrior and is grateful and relieved when he is given rich lands in which to live in peace and prosperity.

But the Vikings’ relentless lust for conquest sweeps him and his family into peril and war. As the army marches towards Wessex he wonders if he will again have dealings with Prince Alfred and his dangerous friends.

He wonders if he will even survive.

An epic tale of the great war for England.

REVIEW

A captivating tale of the Saxon versus Dane battle for control of Wessex. Intriguing characters drive this page turning episode, the action is relentless and brutal, the landscape is described in such a way that the reader is drawn into the tale. I especially enjoyed the portrayal of a young Alfred, so unsure of his abilities, yet becomes a force to contend with. Looking forward to the next book in this…Alfred isn’t quite The Great yet. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Sigurd’s Swords

(Olaf’s Saga #2)

by Eric Schumacher

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Book Title: Sigurd’s Swords

Series: Olaf’s Saga, Book 2

Author: Eric Schumacher

Publication Date: June 28, 2021

Publisher: Bodn Books

Page Length: 300 Pages (print)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Twitter Handle: @DarkAgeScribe @maryanneyarde

Instagram Handles: @coffeepotbookclub

Hashtags: #HistoricalFiction #Vikings #KindleUnlimited #BlogTour #CoffeePotBookClub

Blurb

From best-selling historical fiction novelist, Eric Schumacher, comes the second volume in Olaf’s Saga: the adrenaline-charged story of Olaf Tryggvason and his adventures in the kingdom of the Rus.

AD 968. It has been ten summers since the noble sons of the North, Olaf and Torgil, were driven from their homeland by the treachery of the Norse king, Harald Eriksson. Having then escaped the horrors of slavery in Estland, they now fight among the Rus in the company of Olaf’s uncle, Sigurd. 

It will be some of the bloodiest years in Rus history. The Grand Prince, Sviatoslav, is hungry for land, riches, and power, but his unending campaigns are leaving the corpses of thousands in their wakes. From the siege of Konugard to the battlefields of ancient Bulgaria, Olaf and Torgil struggle to stay alive in Sigurd’s Swords, the riveting sequel to Forged by Iron

REVIEW

“the trials, tribulations, and the agonizing situation they are forced into are as exciting as anything I’ve read in the historical-fiction genre.” That is a quote from my review of the first book in this series, Forged by Iron. Well, my fellow readers, the author has continued that trend in Sigurd’s Swords. The time spent under the banner of a vainglorious prince tested the mettle of our heroes…the siege at Konugard is exhibit A of the descriptive ability of the author. The reader is sitting against a wall, his shield dented, his sword bloodied, surrounded by untold suffering, untold despair, but also with a glimmer of hope. Another aspect is watching the ever changing relationships between Olaf and Torgil…and the one between Torgil and Turid. Filled with the boisterous banter of warriors, the adventurous spirit of Olaf, the inner turmoil Of Turid, and the steadfastness of Torgil, Sigurd’s Swords is a definite page turner…one where the last page is just the beginning of the next chapter in Olaf’s Saga. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Author Bio

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

Social Media Links:

Website: 

http://www.ericschumacher.net

Twitter:

@DarkAgeScribe

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/eric.schumacher.71/

LinkedIn:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-schumacher-91b80b

BookBub:

https://www.bookbub.com/profile/eric-schumacher

Goodreads:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/399517.Eric_Schumacher

The Serpent King by Tim Hodkinson

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The fight for vengeance has no victors…

AD 936

The great warrior, Einar Unnsson, wants revenge. His mother’s assassin has stolen her severed head and Einar is hungry for his blood. Only one thing holds him back. He is a newly sworn in Wolf Coat, and must accompany them on their latest quest.

The Wolf Coats are a band of fearsome bloodthirsty warriors, who roam the seas, killing any enemies who get in their way. Now they’re determined to destroy their biggest enemy, King Eirik, as he attempts to take the throne of Norway.

Yet, for Einar, the urge to return to Iceland is growing every day. Only there, in his homeland, can he avenge his mother and salve his grief. But what Einar doesn’t know is that this is where an old enemy lurks, and his thirst for vengeance equals Einar’s…

REVIEW

At the risk of sounding blown away, let me say this: I was blown away by this episode of The Whale Road Chronicles. In fact there are a few characters who are also blown away, but I can say naught about that. Einar is Hel bent on revenge against Thorfinn Skull Cleaver, and this sets off an amazing array of activity. That’s one of the things that fuels this tale, there’s a lot going on from a lot of different sources. Never a dull moment in this one my peeps and fellow readers. Crisp action, the gamut of emotions, entertaining dialogue, and a host of interesting characters from kings to thralls worshipping Christ in the bowels of the earth make this a hard to put down tale. Looking forward to more from Einar.

5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Tim Hodkinson was born in 1971 in Northern Ireland. He studied Medieval English and Old Norse Literature at University with a subsidiary in Medieval European History. He has been writing all his life and has a strong interest in the historical, the mystical and the mysterious. After spending several happy years living in New Hampshire, USA, he has now returned to life in Northern Ireland with his wife Trudy and three lovely daughters in a village called Moira.

Tim is currently working on a series of viking novels for Ares Fiction, an imprint of Head of Zeus.

Buy links:

Amazon: https://amzn.to/3oNubLI

Kobo: https://bit.ly/3wKzs9Z

Google Play: https://bit.ly/34edsYu

iBooks: https://apple.co/3ukCyzy

Follow Tim:

Twitter: @TimHodkinson

Follow Aries:

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: @AriesFiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

The Last King

(The Ninth Century #1)

by M.J. Porter

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#TheLastKing #MJPorter #HFVBTBlogTours
Twitter tags: @coloursofunison @hfvbt  
Facebook tags: @hfvbt 

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They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

REVIEW

When I got the request to read and review The Last King, I accepted immediately. I’ve read a few of this author’s prodigious portfolio of early Britain prose, and she has found my weakness, or perhaps my longing, for tales of this time period. The immediacy of my response, however, did have the side effect of being given January 11 as my posting date for the tour, which as it turns out, is the kickoff date. No pressure whatsoever for this humble scribbler of reviews and novels. So, without further ado, or prattling, I welcome one and all to The Last King Historical Fiction Virtual Blog Tour.

Well now, that is one badass group of warriors. The raiders sent 300 to get him, hah, even Leonidas and his 300 Spartans would have succumbed to Coelwulf and his warband. An intense series of encounters with Raider bands are the highlights of this action packed saga. A warrior without equal, a man with fierce loyalties to his men, a leader reluctant to assume the title king; Coelwulf is dedicated to one thing – protecting Mercia, no matter the overwhelming odds against his success. The Raiders, no longer content with hit and run tactics are, under the leadership of Halfdan and Guthrum, looking to stay, and only Coelwulf stands in their way. The process of Coelwulf coming to terms with this savior role, and the prospect of being chosen King of Mercia, is deftly portrayed by the author, as are the men of his warband. All of them deadly killers, but each with their own personalities, though it will become apparent that they all share the same all purpose expletive. If you are familiar with The Big Lebowski, there is a scene where The Stranger asks The Dude, “Do you have to use so many cuss words?” The Dude’s response is undoubtedly the same one that would be uttered by Coelwulf, or any of his men for that matter, “What the fuck are you talking about?” 😊 Yes, my fellow readers, this is a tale of cunning, bravery, loyalty, and of a man finding his destiny, however reluctantly. A page turning, thrilling delight awaits. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the Author

I’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest). I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it’s little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

Not sure where to start your journey through Early England? Here are some pointers.

If you like action-adventure, with a heavy dose of violence, foul language and good old camaraderie – The Ninth Century series is for you, starting with The Last King, or The Seventh Century, starting with Pagan Warrior, has a little more politics to go with the set-piece battles.

If you like stories about the forgotten women of history, then the Tenth Century series, starting with The Lady of Mercia’s Daughter, is a good place to begin. Or, The First Queen of England, with a little more romance.

If you’re interested in the last century of Early England (before 1066) then The Earls of Mercia series is for you.

If you want to read it all, then you can read in chronological order, or mix it up. The series weren’t written in chronological order.

WEBSITE | TWITTER | GOODREADS

Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Last King by M.J. Porter! Two paperbacks are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on January 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

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A Time for Swords

by Matthew Harffy

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Lindisfarne, AD793. The life of a novice monk will be changed forever when the Vikings attack in a new historical adventure from Matthew Harffy.

There had been portents – famine, whirlwinds, lightning from clear skies, serpents seen flying through the air. But when the raiders came, no one was prepared.

They came from the North, their dragon-prowed longships gliding out of the dawn mist as they descended on the kingdom’s most sacred site.

It is 8th June AD793, and with the pillage of the monastery on Lindisfarne, the Viking Age has begun.

While his fellow monks flee before the Norse onslaught, one young novice stands his ground. He has been taught to turn the other cheek, but faced with the slaughter of his brothers and the pagan desecration of his church, forgiveness is impossible.

Hunlaf soon learns that there is a time for faith and prayer… and there is a time for swords.

REVIEW

A riveting tale of coming to grips with life altering changes. A life of contemplation and learning suddenly rendered moot with the thrust of a seax. In yet another startling story of the brutal 8th century, the author has given this new cast of characters the same diligent attention to detail and development. An amalgamation of unlikely allies bonding together; an emotionally charged internal battle as Hunlaf moves farther from his life as a monk and closer to becoming a warrior, a storyline that leaves the reader guessing as to what’s going to happen next. And extra points for getting in a mention of Beobrand. 😊 And even more extra points because this tale is just a beginning. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

About the author

Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

Pre-order links

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/39T3MqJ

Follow Matthew

Twitter: @MatthewHarffy

Website: www.matthewharffy.com

Follow Aries

Twitter: @AriesFiction

Facebook: Aries Fiction

Website: http://www.headofzeus.com

The Day of the Wolf (Erik Haraldsson Book 3)

by C.R. May

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York – Spring 952

After four years in exile Erik Bloodaxe retakes the city, and while his enemies regroup beyond the borders of the kingdom he marshals his army and waits.

As summer wanes the storm breaks. An alliance of Scots, Britons and English sweep down from the North, but Erik moves faster. Seizing the day, his armies outmanoeuvre the invaders and crush them utterly.

With the ancient borders of Northumbria restored Erik strikes again, ravaging the land of Alba and hounding its king to the grave.

But Erik’s triumphs are an opportunity for others too, and as Bloodaxe plans a kingdom of the North and begins to dream of an empire of all Britain they are laying plans of their own.

In an epic tale of war and betrayal, The Day of the Wolf concludes the story of Erik Haraldsson, the last king of Northumbria and most renowned Viking of his age.

REVIEW

By this time, my fellow readers, you will have noticed that Erik Haraldsson (Bloodaxe) is a certifiable force of nature. Determined to see the prophecy of his 5 crowns come true, as well as perhaps going beyond the seer’s words, Erik marches to the sounds of steel and shields, a modern sailor’s “damn the torpedoes-full speed ahead” mentality. His character, indeed the whole cast of the tale, are fully immersed in this period…the author gleaning and reaping what facts are available from the time, applying his creative ability to carve out a plausible rendition of Erik’s saga. While I’ve enjoyed the first two books of the trilogy, the third one raised the bar a tad…evidence of an author who is growing in their craft. I am looking forward to what he creates next. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The All Father Paradox (Vikingverse #1) by Ian Stuart Sharpe

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What if an ancient god escaped his fate and history was thrown to the wolves? Churchwarden Michaels thought it was just a run-of-the-mill crazy old man who stood in the graveyard, hellbent on studying the 1,000-year-old Viking memorial there. But when things start changing and outright disappearing, Michaels realizes there is more to this old man than meets the eye. Now, Michaels finds himself swept up in an ancient god’s quest to escape his destiny by reworking reality, putting history—and to Michaels’s dismay, Christianity itself—to the Viking sword. In this new Vikingverse novel, storied heroes of mankind emerge in new and brutal guises drawn from the sagas: A young Norse prince plots to shatter empires and claim the heavens; a scholar exiled to the frontier braves the dangers of the New World, only to find those “new worlds” are greater than he imagined; a captured Jötunn plants the dreams of freedom during a worlds-spanning war; a bold empress discovers there is a price for immortality, one her ancestors have come to collect. With the timelines stretched to breaking point, it’s up to Churchwarden Michaels to save reality as we know it.

REVIEW

Every once in a while I encounter a book that is so densely packed with subject matter, that it requires a second reading…not that that is a bad thing, on the contrary when the book is as exciting and thought provoking as The All Father Paradox. The tale is part alternative history, part fantasy, part science fiction…  Intriguing is an understatement…in some ways it reminds me of the Dan Simmons’ Ilium & Olympus duo. The author presents parallel universes, one of which sees the pantheon of Norse gods and Norse culture prevailing over Christianity; a well crafted and interesting concept. Indeed the author has given us a most entertaining, well written creative endeavor. As I mentioned earlier, I will certainly be giving it reread to insure that I’ve gotten everything that this amazing book has to offer. 5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Second English King (Chronicles of the English #3) by M.J. Porter

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The Second English King – Book 3 in the epic Chronicles of the English

Edmund of the English, Anlaf Sihtriccson of York, Ragnall Gothfrithsson of York, the aged Constantin of Scotland, now in retirement, with his successor Mael Coluim in control, Athelstan, Half-King of the English, Hywel of the South Welsh.

The year is 945 and Edmund of the English, finally coming into his own as the second English king now has the power and the ability to push back England’s borders even further; his eye firmly set on not just retaking the Viking kingdom of York but on the lands of Strathclyde and even the land of the Scots, floundering under its new ruler.

Can Edmund better his older half-brother Athelstan with his hopes of treaty and peace and instead use the power of his sword and the might of his warriors to ensure that this time, England stays whole, that the victory so fleetingly won at Brunanburh in 937, comes to mean more than just a passing phase in the changing fortunes of the petty kingdoms that make up the British Isles?

REVIEW

Seems every man wants to retire to a place they can call their own. For some it is York (Jorvik)…for others it is Scotland…for Hywel it is Wales..for Donald it is Strathclyde…for Edmund it is all of them. A fascinating tale that examines the inner workings and the political maneuverings of a tumultuous period in England’s long and tumultuous history. The author tells the tale through the eyes of the principal characters, and in so doing gives the reader an inside to the thinking processes; the hopes and fears, the desires and the need for revenge, the mistakes and the victories. A definite page turning story awaits you my fellow readers. 4⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Raven Banner (The Whale Road Chronicles #2) by Tim Hodkinson

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‘FAST-PACED, DETAILED AND BRILLIANTLY WRITTEN [FOR] FANS OF BERNARD CORNWELL, GEORGE R.R. MARTIN AND THEODORE BRUN’ HISTORICAL NOVEL SOCIETY.

Einar Unnsson will be a great warrior, whether he wants it or not.

AD 935 – Late Winter, City of Jorvik.

Einar Unnssonis destined to be a great Icelandic warrior. He has already defeated the men sent to kill him by his notorious father, Jarl Thorfinn, the ‘Skull Cleaver’ of Orkney. He has a gift that makes him lethal in battle. Yet he has cast it all off to be a bard.

When three men attack him, Einar’s poetry provides little protection. Luckily, the skilled archer and Norse-Irish princess Affreca saves him. She’d assumed Einar had left to raise an army, challenge Thorfinn and seize the Jarldom of Orkney. Now she’s determined to set him back onto his rightful path.

Einar soon finds himself entangled on Affreca’s own mission. She’s seeking the Raven Banner for King Eirik. Legend has it that the banner is imbued with powerful magic. That it was a gift from the Norse God Odin and any army that marches behind it will be victorious. The quest sets events in motion that are beyond Einar’s control.

Einar has no choice but to face his fate and swing his sword once more…

Praise for Tim Hodkinson:

‘An excellently writtenpage-turner, with a feel for the period which invites you into the era and keeps you there’ Historical Writers Association.

‘A gripping action adventurelike the sagas of old; and once finished, you just want to go back and read it all over again’ Melisende’s Library.

REVIEW

Einar would rather sing about the adventures, not be a participant in them, but such is not his wyrd; his fate. A captivating sequel to Odin’s Game, The Raven Banner is a roller coaster ride of a tale. Einar and his companions are put through some pretty hair-raising events (not the least to Affreca  🙂 ).  An adrenaline rushing, page turning, tale of the turbulent times of Aethelstan – Hakon –  Eirik Blood Axe. The characters are full of the times, the experiences, the lore and legends of the many peoples looking to call Britain their home. I am looking forward to the next installment – this is indeed a series to lose oneself in. 4⭐⭐⭐⭐