Norway 785 AD. It began with the betrayal of a lord by a king . . .
King Gorm puts Jarl Harald’s family to the sword, but makes one fatal mistake – he fails to kill Harald’s youngest son, Sigurd.
His kin slain, his village seized and its people taken as slaves, Sigurd wonders if the gods have forsaken him. Hunted by powerful men, he is unsure who to trust and yet he has a small band of loyal
followers at his side. With them – and with the help of the All-Father, Odin – he determines to make a king pay in blood for his treachery. Using cunning and war-craft, Sigurd gathers together a fellowship of warriors – including his father’s right-hand man Olaf, 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 vengeance. And neither men nor gods had best stand in his way . . .
Author: Giles Kristian
Publisher: Corgi (paperback), Transworld Digital (e-book)
Release Date: 4/12/14 (paperback), 24/4/14 (e-book)
Genre: Historical Fiction
My Rating of ‘God of Vengeance’: 5 out 5
My Chosen Format: Paperback
Purchase: Amazon UK, Amazon US
God of Vengeance, quite possibly, is the best book I’ve picked up up all year. Normally, the whole vengeance plot feels kind of dull to me. But this one is anything but. The author has created a rich cast of characters from the unfortunate, and hate-fuelled Sigurd to his ever-present, ever-boastful, friend Svein. My personal favourite being the grizzled, wily veteran Olaf, Sigurd’s father’s (Jarl Harald) chosen warrior.
The writing is incredibly high-quality and the story is woven with such skill that Sigurd’s bad fortune often feels like your own. The hatred you feel for certain antagonists reaches similar levels as that felt for Joffrey in ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’.
It’s also, quite easily one of the best Viking novels I have come across. In fact, I enjoyed it more than most viking shows or movies I have seen. A lot of the Viking terminology is used in such a way that the reader knows what is being talked about, for those oddments you can’t quite decipher, there is a glossary in the back. Unlike other historical fiction novels I have read (Assassin’s Creed Renaissance comes to mind) the language of the time is blended in so that it feels like it belongs, rather than just thrown in at random times to make it look like the author has done a bit of last minute dictionary searching. God but it was so shoe-horned in in such a terribly awful way in Assassin’s Creed … but I digress.
It fills me with excitement to know that there are still two books left in Sigurd’s saga of vengeance and that the author has other Viking books out there.
If anyone reading this hasn’t dipped their toes into anything Viking-related, I’d strongly suggest you start here. It really captures (what we think of as) the spirit of the time. Their religions, their superstitions, everything really.
It’s just so good that I really want to ramble on more and say more nice things. But I don’t want to waffle on too much longer. I’m sure you can tell I think this book deserves 6 stars out of a possible 5.