Cover designs by Jimmy Iacobelli
It’s enormously satisfying to see Scott Oden, who’s been a critical darling for his intelligent historical fantasies like Men of Bronze (which Bob Byrne discussed here) and The Lion of Cairo (which Brian Murphy summed up as “Pulse-pounding sword play, leagues of warring assassins, political intrigue, a hint of evil sorcery, and the clash of armies on a grand stage”) finally have a bonafide hit with his new Grimnir Series, an epic Viking fantasy. In his review of the first volume Fletcher Vredenburgh wrote:
Oden’s novel knocked the heck out of any prejudices I had. New or old, this book kicks ass, and is one of the best swords & sorcery novels I’ve read in a while…. A Gathering of Ravens belongs on the same shelf as the best modern swords & sorcery novels, and on the shelf of any serious swords & sorcery reader.
A Gathering of Ravens also garnered a starred review at Publishers Weekly — not something you see every day. Here’s a snippet.
In this lovingly crafted tale of high adventure, Oden creates an alternate early medieval Europe in which mortal men have defeated entire races of vicious magical creatures. Some nightmares have faded from memory as magic and ancient beliefs are supplanted by a new religion, Christianity. Grimnir, last of the giants called kaunar, is on a mission for vengeance several centuries in the making… This fast-paced thrill ride might have been bleak or unsettling, but it’s rendered so lovingly that it reveals new layers of familiar territory. The fresh viewpoint is steeped in an appreciation for the terrifying and powerful characters of high fantasy, and Oden does them justice.
After a gap of nearly three years, Oden finally delivers the long-awaited second volume in the series, Twilight of the Gods. It arrives in hardcover from St. Martin’s Press in two weeks. Here’s all the details.
First, here’s the publisher’s description.
In A Gathering of Ravens, he fought for vengeance. Now, Grimnir is back to fight for his survival.
It is the year of Our Lord 1218 and in the land of the Raven-Geats, the Old Ways reach deep. And while the Geats pay a tax to the King in the name of the White Christ, their hearts and souls belong to the gods of Ásgarðr. But no man can serve two masters.
Pledging to burn this Norse heresy from the land, famed crusader Konráðr the White leads a host against the Raven-Geats, using torch and sword to bring forth the light of the new religion. But the land of the Raven-Geats has an ancient protector: Grimnir, the last in a long line of monsters left to plague Miðgarðr. And he will stand between the Raven-Geats and their destruction.
Aided by an army of berserkers led by their pale queen, Grimnir sparks off an epic struggle ― not only against the crusaders, but against the very Gods. For there is something buried beneath the land of the Raven-Geats that Odin wants, something best left undisturbed. Something the blood of the slain, Christian and pagan, will surely awaken.
Booklist has given the book an early starred review, saying in part:
An action-packed and grim adventure, this novel further demonstrates Oden’s able combination of historical narrative with dark fantasy. Highly recommended for all orc fans.
Twilight of the Gods will be published by St. Martin’s Press on February 18, 2020. It is 343 pages, priced at $28.99 in hardcover and $14.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Jimmy Iacobelli (who went by “James Iacobelli” for the first book, but go figure).
Read a generous excerpt from A Gathering of Ravens right here at Black Gate.
See all of our recent Book coverage here.