8th Century Sweden: Erlan Aurvandil, a Viking outlander, has pledged his sword to Sviggar Ivarsson, King of the Sveärs, and sworn enemy of the Danish King Harald Wartooth. But Wartooth, hungry for power, is stirring violence in the borderlands. As the fires of this ancient feud are reignited Erlan is bound by honour and oath to stand with King Sviggar.
But, unbeknownst to the old King, his daughter, Princess Lilla, has fallen under Erlan’s spell. As the armies gather Erlan and Lilla must choose between their duty to Sviggar and their love for each other.
Blooded young, betrayed often, Erlan is no stranger to battle. And hidden in the shadows, there are always those determined to bring about the maelstrom of war…
A Sacred Storm is the second instalment in The Wanderer Chronicles, a fact I wasn’t aware of until I had finished the book! This book review is part of the blog tour organised by Anne Cater that started on the 7th June. Read through to the end for a surprise!
Genre: Historical fantasy
Length: 704 pages
Release Date: 7th June 2018 (Corvus)
Available Formats: Kindle and Hardback
A Sacred Storm is a very intriguing read from the start as you follow Erlan as he moves through the higher levels of Viking society. This book promises secrets, magic and a lot of fighting and it delivers on it all. You read about the politics between two kingdoms long at war with each other.
When I first signed up to participate in this blog tour I admit I didn’t do much research into the novel, I just liked the blurb I was given! So imagine my surprise when a rather huge package was delivered a couple weeks later and out comes this 700-page book! Now I found this a little daunting as it has been several years since I last read a book of this size but I found myself enjoying it throughout.
The character development is slow but meaningful. Even though the plot itself covers a couple of months at most, some of the characters find themselves having to change and grow to adapt to changing surroundings. We see how they handle difficult situations; physical, emotional and political of nature. I found the characters getting strong reactions from me before the halfway point, much to my chagrin when towards the end I found myself cursing the author for one particular scene.
The plot develops naturally and comes to what felt like the only conclusion that would make sense. Brun writes the fight scenes throughout the novel in great detail, not shying away from the brutality of medieval warfare. The reader follows Erlan through several battles on various scales so you get to read what war would have been like it that period from a close POV.
I tagged a few places in the novel as there were a few aspects I wanted to talk about specifically. The first simply has to be my favourite line of the whole book, ‘Though without his shield, he’d be about as much use in the sheildwall as a bull with a broken cock.’ I don’t know why this line stuck with me, it’s rude but effective. It demonstrates how important sheildwalls were during combat during that era but with a little humorous imagery attached to it. The second tag is about the relationship between Erlan and Saldas, though now I’m writing this I find I can’t say much without giving spoilers. But I will say that their relationship challenged what I believed about the Vikings and their gender roles in a positive way. The final tag is for a scene that showcases the differences between the classes in the novel and how war affects them. It is parallel to wars throughout history, the higher classes declare war on another country when the political situation doesn’t affect the lower classes. So what are they fighting for?
Overall I found this book very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the Viking era who wants a little bit of magic thrown into the mix.
I promised a surprise didn’t I? Well I am hosting my second giveaway of the month! That’s right, you can read all about Erlan and the events in 8th Century Scandinavia! All you have to do is fill out this form to enter. The giveaway is open for a month (13/7) and the winner will be announced within a week of closing.