Written by the good Robert W Myles, a man with many feathers in his cap, manages to blend so many elements of powerful grandeur all the way down to the grittiest pustules and everything in-between. Combining a historical world elegantly with it's own philosophy, creating an adventure that feels magical, whilst still remaining in the confines of history, it has an incredible depth of detail and life that I can scarcely find the words to encapsulate.
I want to say it conjures medieval history, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and so many dramatic, theatrical, visual, combative and creative themes but that simply does not do the originality of this work justice. It is a very original story that always maintains a constant level of exciting concepts and themes and conversations that wastes nothing and values the reader and all of it's own work and the story as it rightly deserves to.
I have badgered many of you already to buy and read the book, but I really find there is evidence of so much good work and writing, that it really must be shared and known, so please, read these pages for yourself too!
I find my imagination running with it's chapters, how to translate this epic into film or television, as I always do with any good book, but the pages really speak for themselves.
And lastly, I recall a short gag from the film The Invention of Lying, where the main character is mocked for being unable to create an interesting story from the era of the black death, and that moment juxtaposed with this story, shows that, not only does the imagination of Robert have the power to bring that alive, but indeed, it shines a light on all other areas of history we may previously have glanced at with boredom, and hints that they may all have fantastical details hidden beneath, waiting to be uncovered as they were here.
The narrative starts simply but beautifully with vividly descriptive text drawing the reader into the happy lives of Alrik and his family in the frozen tundra of Norway. When a ‘death ship’ is wrecked on the shores of this pristine land it brings tragedy into their simple life. Alrik is wrenched away from his children in the hope of preventing the spread of the black death by finding the cure. The book has a fast- moving dialogue as Alrik travels through Copenhagen onto Milan making new friends and adversaries on the way. The narrative them moves into a more complex one of both characters and plot. I found some of the fight scenes a touch gory. But I quickly became fond of some of the characters. The book is deeply researched imbedding real historical figures into the plot. I was caught up in the suspense right to the very end.
From the best action and fight sequences I have ever read, to the intricately and perfectly executed world building this is a phenomenal read. Tangled in with the adventure is the philosophy behind the old Viking world and the new Christian dominance. Myles has woven and connected these two worlds in ways I had never thought about. The story had a resounding impact on me and left me breathless. I found (and still find!) myself mulling over its events for weeks after. Perhaps, its biggest achievement is really putting me into the minds of people living in the 1300s, allowing me to understand their thoughts and actions without my modern upbringing making me think them ignorant or stupid. These all felt like real people and Alrik, in particular, will stay with me for a long time... I read this wonderful adventure in two days non-stop.
I was hooked from the very beginning. There's something about the way the characters are written which makes the reader need to know what is going to happen to them next. You are really able to understand each person's motivation, and somehow empathise (though perhaps not agree) with them all. The use of Viking mythology throughout, interwoven with fascinating developments in the plot during a time in the grip of the Black Death is brilliant, and really novel. The fight scenes are so cleverly written, allowing you to feel like you are right within the scene. Every detail has clearly been thought through making the action really come to life. Thoroughly recommended.
This is not a genre of book that I would usually pick up. My knowledge of Norse Mythology is pretty poor, in fact I assumed ‘Ragnarok’ would be the name of a Viking and not the final battle!
The descriptions are so detailed, the opening passage with Alrik hunting the deer was cinematic and this continues throughout. Some heartbreaking scenes early on and then the adventurous quest begins to find a cure for the plague. A richly drawn collection of characters, a despicable villain in Devillier and a coming together of beliefs for a final end goal.
I read the physical copy, a hefty and well produced book. I found myself reading aloud to get even more immersed in the story. A great read.
What an exciting read! So vivid and visual. If like me you love adventure stories (Robin Hood, Hunger Games, Lord of the Rings, Marvel) this is absolutely a book for you. Such rich detail, with beautifully touching moments. I became so involved with the characters and their journies, and the elements of history, science and philosophy made it so meaningful and engaging. Brilliant book to get lost in! Highly recommend.
I took this on holiday with me and was able to read it uninterrupted, pretty much, in just over two days, which was just as well as it was difficult to put down. What a totally enjoyable read ... great characters, action and storyline. I would whole heartedly recommend this excellent debut novel. Can’t wait for the next book by Robert W Myles.
Classic historical fiction. A real page turner. This era is less written about than the times of Alfred The Great and Ragnar. Robert Myles opens your eyes and ears to the sights smells and sounds of this time. Never a dull moment. A battle between good and evil truth and lies.. Right up to the last page.