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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 24 February 2010
Well, I thought the first book `Raven: Blood Eye' was an excellent debut novel and was curious as to how Kristian would surpass this feat with his second instalment. I can safely say all my expectations have been blown out of the water with this truly superb and exiting second book. This time we see Sigurd and Raven travel deep into Frankia in an attempt to recapture their longships and the holy book which took so much effort to obtain in book one!

Those of us who have bemoaned Bernard Cornwell's lengthy hiatus before releasing his highly anticipated annual novel need fear no more - Giles Kristian is here to fill the gap! Kristian writes in a way which will be very familiar to Cornwell fans and this will therefore aid the reader's transition from Cornwell to Kristian as each author releases books at different times of the year. That is not to say that Kristian has imitated Cornwell in a copycat fashion, far from it. Kristian has his own style which has been influenced but not subjugated by the historical fictional heavyweights such as Cornwell, Iggulden etc.

Kristian's `Fellowship' feels authentic and the differing human personalities on board the ships are wonderfully described. Norsemen in all their glory are portrayed not as twenty first century `new age metrosexuals' but as hard, brutal and often blood thirsty savages (compared by today's standards anyway!) This book is believable as it doesn't have that "nice factor" that other books in the genre sometimes contain, where Norsemen are portrayed as sensitive, caring, moralistic, dripping charlatans.

Kristian is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors and I hope that he maintains this excellent standard in his future work. I would recommend Kristian to anyone who is interested in the adventures of Norsemen particularly when Norse religion comes into conflict with followers of the `White Christ'. Be prepared for a gory, often brutal journey as the author certainly doesn't spare the blood and guts!

Keep up the excellent work Mr Kristian!
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on 27 February 2010
Well a Saga holiday certainly meant something different in Norse times! Young Raven hits the waves from the get go in this second episode of the series and ticks all the Viking boxes in the process. Blood feuds, raiding, confrontation in the warrior circle, daring escapes and open battle! Nice!

Kristian this time fleshes out the crew a bit more than in the first outing and it is the warrior bands Jarl 'Sigurd' that stands out as the most graphically portrayed character, a hero you can really get behind. The author also tempers Raven himself with a bit more human fallability this time which I felt made him much more realistic and someone who I could sympathise with a lot more.

The story is fast moving, and has it's fair share of action though is by no means an epic, and can be easily digested in a couple of sittings. I did recognise one scene that had been 'borrowed' from Frans Bengtsson's 1950's classic 'The Longships', though that may in turn may have been taken from an original Viking saga, in which case fair enough.

This is excellent writing from a relatively young author that promises great things for the future and as Rob Low's 'Oathsworn' have reached the end of their saga, I still have an annual Viking adventure to look forward to!
Book me a journey chest and oar for the next voyage.
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I loved the original tale by Giles so when I heard of this second outing for Sigurd, the Wolfpack and Raven I just had to commandeer a swift trip to the nearest bookshop, pillage my way through the stacks and stop for a flagon of Mead at the tills. That done, it was a swift trip on the Whale road home and with a roaring fire, a huge mug of tea and of course some biscuits to keep my strength up I knew that I had an adventure on my hands.

What Giles brings to the fore is well written and with characters that really do jump off the pages into the readers imagination and whilst his descriptive prose are a tad spartan in style, it only adds to the mystery and wonderment of the journey. A cracking tale of daring as the crew venture in the lands of the Franks to sell a manuscript at the court of Charlemagne which can only be akin to sticking your head in the dragons maw for this band of heathen worshippers.

Definitely a tale to keep the spirits of the reader up and one where you'll pray for the crews survival as things go not only pear shaped but spectacularly so. Finally add to the mix that Giles' plays for keeps and you know that you've got a tale to please even the most blood thirsty reader. I'll await the next instalment with bated breath.
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on 22 February 2010
This was just more then i expected,the first book Blood Eye was great and any second book has a lot to live up to and Sons of Thunder does in more ways than one.Giles has started to put meat on the bones of the character of Raven and the rest of the Wolf Pack.He shows him to be more than a good man to have in a sheild wall and that the pack are coming to respect his judgement when times are dark.The Holengary between Sigurd and Mauger who go toe to toe with no quarter given in a bloody fight to the death,had me on the edge of my seat.I was there,you could feel the pain,the sweat and in the end the exhaustion,great writing.Later in the book there is a outcome that if it happen in histoy "Fantastic" if not "Brilliant" it`s in my title of this review.More please Giles as soon as possible.
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on 20 February 2010
I have waited a long year for this book, was it worth the wait OH yes I could not put it down the action was graphic the style flowing. You feel the sea, smell the blood if anything this is a better novel than the first.But please release the next one sooner it is difficult to find books as good as this.
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on 13 March 2010
Wow! I devoured this novel in just three nights and can thoroughly recommend it. It's just as good as the first book, and the third can't come soon enough. If you thought Giles got his Wolfpack into some pretty hairy situations in Blood Eye, be prepared to gnaw your fingernails off in this one. They only go and upset the most powerful man in Christendom! But marvel at they way they escape said situations, revel in the apt mythological references and metaphors woven into their words, and titter at some of the most inventive swearing outside of Peter Capaldi's!
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on 3 May 2012
I so enjoyed the first Raven book that I wasted little time launching into the second. It started just as I expected, launching into a continuation of the story from Blood Eye, with just as much 'oomph'. I was hooked.

However, Sons of Thunder is a different novel. Not what I expected and certainly not just a continuation of the story, though it does do that admirably too.

The first book had been a rip-roaring constant barrage of action and battle, heroics and betrayal, sneak attacks and audacious plans. Sons of Thunder built for only a couple of chapters on the same theme before sweeping all the plans from the table with surprise actions and decisions by the principal characters.

Suddenly I found I was reading more of an epic journey than an action fest. The story slowed into a languid, highly atmospheric and often tense journey, bringing the reader into an intimate understanding of what life would be like among the brotherhood of Sword-Norse aboard their dragon ships. I will say straight away that this was a surprise direction as far as I was concerned for the story to take, though in no bad way. Indeed, it lent a new freshness and interest to the tale.

I did, however, wonder really where the tale was going to go. I found myself thinking ahead and trying to see how the story might pan out, never quite able to work it all out.

And then, again, somewhere around two thirds of the way through the book, the direction changed once more, and suddenly the pace was breakneck, every bit as exciting and action-packed as Blood Eye. Indeed, I would say that Giles packed into a third of this book as much excitement as there had been in the first novel of the series, an achievement for which I doff my cap to him.

The story leaps and turns and twists in so many unexpected ways that I find it hard to describe how much I enjoyed it, and it builds to the very end to a moment that will be a defining one in the saga for me; one of those 'Lo, there do I see my father' moments from 13th Warrior (thanks Giles). It sets up the third tale beautifully and makes it almost impossible to pause before launching into that book (which I have just done).

The characters continue to entertain and build, some departing their life in appropriate manners, other previous unknowns coming to the fore. Raven himself continues to become stronger and more sure, and my personal fave remains Floki.

The highlight of the book for me was (without spoilers) the manner in which the Norsemen reacted and adapted to what was, for them, a thoroughly alien environment. It was masterfully done.

Now: On with Odin's Wolves...
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on 19 April 2014
Sons of Thunder was read within 2 days - Loved it, could not put my Kindle down, After downloading the first book on Friday by the Sunday I had read it and was desperate to know more!!! So I immediately purchased the following two in the series.
Highly recommend these books for any 'Viking fans'. The Raven Adventures are just great. Giles takes through a real rollercoaster of emotions, he is descriptive, funny and makes you think of what it must have been like.
Get this series and enjoy.
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on 25 February 2012
A follow-up to the excellent RAVEN: BLOOD EYERaven: Blood Eye, this novel, like the one before it, is historical adventure fiction at its best, grittiest and most authentic. Raven and the other battle-hardened members of Sigurd the Lucky's Viking crew are in pursuit of Ealdred,who has betrayed them, and is trying to sell a book of great importance to the Emperor of the Franks. Their quest will take them to Charlemagne's Frankia, where adventures beyond their wildest dreams await them. As I did before, I won't give too many spoilers, you'll have to read this epic saga to discover the complete story. It's all worth it, believe me. When I jumped aboard for Mr. Kristian's Viking Reading Challenge, I expected top-class historical fiction and that's what I got. The book rings with Viking lore and heavy battle scenes, and Mr. Kristian skillfully uses the English language to breathe life into his characters. Anyone looking for an action-packed, detailed, vivid,cinematic vision of Norse warriors in search of fame and glory should be very pleased with the RAVEN saga. I'm thrilled to have had the pleasure and honour to read the first two books and am anxiously awaiting the third.
All hail Jarl Kristian, a master of historical adventure fiction! 5 well-deserved stars!
Raven: Sons of Thunder
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on 3 February 2016
If you enjoy good storytelling, high quality descriptions of life on the sea in a longship and daring do rescues and violent realistic fights, then this will be your cup of tea. The principal characters are very well drawn and you care about what happens to them. True, occasionally they do unspeakable things, but usually their actions can be rationalised as justified and good. Raven and Sigurd complement each other, with the latter the father figure Jarl (earl), whose decisions are certain and unchallenged by the crew. Raven, the mysterious young man, who speaks Norse and English offers sound advice to the older man, but as young men do frequently goes his own way with varying degrees of success. I loved the descriptions of the longship cruising France's rivers and the elegant solution found to move the boat from the Seine to a smaller river. There is a love interest, but it takes second place to the swordplay, the carousing, the drinking, the camaraderie and the fun the crew mates enjoy aboard the boat. If you enjoy Viking yarns that are very well told, that convey a high level of authenticity and leave you wanting more then Giles Kristian's books will really suit you.
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