Bohemia. 1370. A lost soul named Galien leads a band of hardened mercenaries on a mission for Mother Church. But in the dark forests of central Europe, a darker secret awaits. Bestselling author Giles Kristian (Lancelot, The Raven Viking Trilogy) takes us on an unnerving ride into fear and paranoia, bloodshed and redemption.
Author: Giles Kristian
Publisher: Giles Kristian
Genre: Historical Fiction/Horror
Release Date: 19/02/2021
My Chosen Format: Kindle
My Rating of ‘Hellmouth’: 3 out 5
Giles is one of my favourite authors so, even though I felt the price for a 50 page novella was a bit steep, I auto-bought as I would pretty much anything he puts out. This one didn’t quite hit the high notes for me but I’m still glad I read it as, for every part that wasn’t for me, there was plenty that was.
All in all, I just felt it was a bit of a mixed bag.
My main gripe was that it was written in the present tense, something I don’t really get on with. Kristian’s ‘The Rise of Sigurd’ trilogy was one of my all-time favourite trilogies and the writing in this just didn’t feel like it was from the same author. What did stand out in the writing were the descriptions, especially those of a darker nature. That is something that, in any tense, Kristian excels at.
Another slight downside for me was that I never really felt attached to any of the characters other than Galien. I’m not sure if it was a casualty of the tense choice or just because Giles only had fifty or so pages to make us care about them. Whatever the reason, Galien’s crew felt like names on a page to me, which is a shame as I like the ‘band of brigands’ style character group.
This, as with all good historical works, was based on an actual place and the actual folklore that surrounds it. It’s given me the urge to get my history hat on and learn more about the place in general.
One more slight downside for me was that I felt things got a tad hard to keep up with when nearing the end. I think that was more a negative on my part than the book’s due to my really not getting on with the present tense aspect of storytelling.