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on 27 August 2008
Starts off okay and then falls flat on its back into a self indulgent nonsence of vickings fighting in the deserts of North Africa.
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Hooray, at last we have an author who can give the likes of Bernard Cornwell and Tim Severin a run for their money. I recently read Paul Watkins Viking adventure "Thunder God" where belief was well and truly suspended to Mount Everest heights, and was not overly impressed. Well now, Low does suspend belief a bit on occasions in his dark tale, but on the whole I love his mix of gritty action based on solid historical facts. It is clear that Low has a good deep knowledge of the Vikings about whom writes so vividly. He seems to have taken a leaf out of Simon Scarrow's books by having our heroes use the colourful universal language of soldiers from time immemorial. "By Odins hairy a**" is one popular expletive that the Oathsworn like to use. But most importantly of all, Low does what a good author should do and keeps you turning the next page over.

The story follows up from "The Whale Road", so should not be read before that book. The remnants of the Oathsworn, a disparate band of treasure seeking Vikings, are stranded in the great city of Miklagard/Constantinople. They commence an epic quest across the ocean to the middle East to recover a mythical sword stolen from Orm their deep thinking leader. It is a story worthy of the greatest sagas. On the journey to strange lands they cross many enemies both old and new. The Oathsworn are forced once more into the way of the sword, which is of course the thing they do best.

Low's first book "The Whale Road" was an excellent tale to begin his Oathsworn series. It was a highly entertaining page turner. But in this book he goes one better and raises the bar even higher. Okay, perhaps towards the end things get a little bit silly but that is a minor criticism. The exotic locations where incidentally the Vikings did journey to, give this book that little extra spice. The body count as always keeps rising. It is no surprise that the Oathsworn always need new recruits, and by the end of this story they will need a few more to swell their ranks for the next book. I look forward to having more adventures with the Oathsworn in what promises to be an exciting and highly entertaining series. Keep it up Mr Low!
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on 14 December 2017
This seems to be another instance of an author beginning a series (the first book was THE WHALE ROAD) without much idea of what subsequent books would consist of. Consequently, the story wanders a bit, lacking the compelling narrative thrust of the first volume. Also, this and most of Low's subsequent books suffer from a particular weakness in that they are thin on characterisation: while the characters in WHALE ROAD leaped off the page, here you don't get much of a sense of what most of them are like, and they remain a bit vague in your mind as you read.

But that makes it sound that this is a poor work, when in fact everything else about it is great. The historical detail is rich and interesting. It deals with a milieu that isn't much addressed in other historical novels, the viking protagonists going from Constantinople to the Mediterranean islands, then to the contested Middle East. And while the narrative does wander a bit, a lot of fascinating, engaging stuff happens on the way. There is a lot of pleasure to be had here.

And then there is the writing. Most authors of historical novels are, frankly, poor writers - if the writing isn't a little embarrassing, that's the best you can hope for. Robert Low, though, can really write. At his worst, he is exciting and engaging: at his best, he is gorgeous. It is not direct, simple writing - at times you have to work a bit - but is evocative and inventive, a pleasure in itself. In a genre where really quite poor writing is often the norm, he stands out.

Recommend this without qualitifcation
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on 30 April 2014
The author is a member of the Vikings a re-enactment society and he now spends his summers fighting in helmet and mail in shield walls all over Britain. He lives in Largs, Scotland, where coincidentally the Vikings were finally defeated and expelled from Britain. The Oathsworn series began in 2006 with The Whale Road (The Oathsworn Series, (Book 1)

This is a sequel to the best selling book The Whale Road with Robert Low following in the footsteps of such authors as Cornwell, Iggulden, Scarrow and the like. It tells the story of the men aboard a Viking long ship, drawn together in a single cause and prepared to shed blood or even die for their ship mates.

This is the continuing story of Orm Rurikson and the viking crew he joined as a boy. It is fast paced and exciting reading and is a good read for all those who love books about this period. However on a personal note I did not enjoy it as much as the first book, The Whale Road. I don't know why, all the ingredients are there but it just lacked that vital spark. Having said that I am sure that many people will enjoy it enormously
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on 6 October 2009
Having not really enjoyed the first book, but caught with nothing to read, I picked up this second book of the Oathsworn series. I did not have high hopes for the book and struggled through the first half of the first chapter, I was unsure whether to continue. All I can say is that I am glad I did.

The characters, and the banter between them, is much improved, making the whole book more believable. The plot also was far easier to follow and seemed much more involving than that of the first book. One of the great things about these books is that Low is not afraid to kill off characters. You feel so involved in the crew that when a member is killed you really do feel it and you are on the edge of your seat as you read the battle scenes (which seem more frequent and better written), hoping that nothing will happen to Fin, Kvasir, Hookeye or any of the other favourites.

There are still a few little wrinkles here and there the fact that the vast use of words which are in either Latin, Greek or old Norse make it seem like the author is just showing off, the excessive use of the phrase "I am thinking" and the fact that I think that the Oathsworn should have stayed up in the cold vastness of their homeland are the only things which, for me, hold this book back.
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on 5 May 2010
Im so engrosed with this tale that im on my 3rd book in this series and its only been 3 weeks. ive put down Manda Scotts Boudica series twice now in favour of the next enstallment of Orm and his men. what i love most is that the main character is so real, he is not mighty, he is not a testosterone adonis thats unmatched in combat, he's just a boy and the battles he's one, Odin luck and at any moment old One Eye will cast runes to seal his fate. Nice tie up in this book from the last one with the remainder of the Oathsworn and i love all the Odin and supersticous talk. i love Big Botolf and Brother Johns latin and Sighvat's bird talk mixed in with mutterings of "Odins balls" from the gruff Finn. Love it will read them all!
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on 9 January 2009
If Robert Low's first book rather crept hesitantly out of the ffoyrd, this second installment of the Oathsworn comes flying confidently out under full sail.

I was a little critical of the first book because of it's lack of dialogue and charactorisation. This book has both in spades. What's more it's very good and some of the on board banter of the crew made me laugh out loud. Also this time the author doesn't kill off everyone as soon as you have learnt their names, in fact by the end of the book I was very fond of Finn Horsehead, Kvasir and Big Botolf.

For all this the author still includes a bit more detail and historical background than his contempories though at times this can verge on the contrived to show off the authors knowledge. It doesn't bother me but then I'm a nerd!
My only other minor critisism would be the trek accross the Middle East to find the last of their Oath brothers is a tad over long come the end but the final battle more than makes up for it. In fact the general battle descriptions (something I know other reviewers were critical of) has improved hugely.

Just misses out on a 5 star rating for me but a great book. I have a book voucher I got for Christmas tucked away for March when the next installment of the Oathsworn comes out.
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on 18 February 2018
Not great, bit the same as book 1. Too many one page characters with too many different names then they disappear never to be heard of again.
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on 17 July 2015
I love his Oathsworn series, not read all of them yet but I love the characters and find myself totally engrossed with Vikings adventures. This author knows his stuff, he takes me into a different world but trouble is, I just cannot put it down. Highly recommend, Robert Lowe is one fantastic author, whatever subject he writes about.
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on 29 June 2016
Absorbing and enjoyable. I've no idea how any of the characters are alive! I started the series slowly but got more and more into it as the saga progressed. Onto the next instalment!
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