Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga

The Assassin's Creed Valhalla Novel

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Pub Date 10 Nov 2020 | Archive Date 13 May 2021

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Discover the epic tale of legendary viking Geirmund Hel-hide in this new novel set in the world of Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Mid-9th Century CE. The Viking attacks and invasions are shattering England’s kingdoms. Born into a royal lineage of Norwegian kings, Geirmund Hel-hide sets out for adventure to prove his worth as a Viking and a warrior. A perilous journey across the sea brings him into contact with a being out of myth and grants him a mysterious ring that promises both great power and bitter betrayal.

As Geirmund rises in the ranks of King Guthrum’s legendary army, he will have to use all his cunning to face the many dangers of a land ravaged by war. Fighting alongside his band of loyal warriors, his path will soon lead him into a conflict as old as the Gods themselves.
Discover the epic tale of legendary viking Geirmund Hel-hide in this new novel set in the world of Assassin's Creed Valhalla

Mid-9th Century CE. The Viking attacks and invasions are shattering...

A Note From the Publisher

MATTHEW J KIRBY is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle-grade novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, and the Assassin’s Creed series Last Descendants, among many others. He has won the Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery, the PEN Center USA award for Children’s Literature, and the Judy Lopez Memorial Award.

MATTHEW J KIRBY is the critically acclaimed and award-winning author of the middle-grade novels The Clockwork Three, Icefall, and the Assassin’s Creed series Last Descendants, among many others. He...

Advance Praise

Geirmund’s Saga sets the scene for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, the eagerly awaited latest game in the world-conquering series (140m players worldwide).

Geirmund’s Saga sets the scene for Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, the eagerly awaited latest game in the world-conquering series (140m players worldwide).

Marketing Plan

Title launched alongside game release, tying into massive Ubisoft marketing activity . Full tour of articles, interviews, Q&As, and giveaways. Media & online promotion with video gaming magazines & websites, plus dedicated Assassin’s Creed social media feeds. Flyers for book in with every copy of the Ubisoft game. Full online campaign on Twitch, YouTube, social media, plus podcasters and vidcasters. Online coverage in collaboration with Ubisoft as part of their launch marketing

Title launched alongside game release, tying into massive Ubisoft marketing activity . Full tour of articles, interviews, Q&As, and giveaways. Media & online promotion with video gaming magazines &...

Available Editions

ISBN 9781839080616
PRICE $9.95 (USD)

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Average rating from 13 members

Featured Reviews

Matthew J. Kirby brings the work of Assassin's Creed to entertaining and descriptive life. Perhaps for fans of this shared universe and inspiring to think about the stories behind popular characters and video game culture. Highly entertaining for fans of the game series and those who want an adventure on the page.

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Great book to immerse me in this universe before the video game gets out! The writing was better than I expected and the balanced between historical/action/intrigue is just perfectly achieved! If you like the Assassin Creed franchise or the Viking, or even better, both!, I would recommend you to check this one out!

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As a big fan of the Assassin's Creed video games and having read all the previous books I had to snatch this one up.

I really enjoyed reading this title, if you don't play the games it's still a fascinating historical fiction novel, and if you do I feel like it will expand on the story and lore for the upcoming game as all the other tie ins have done for previous titles. The characters are well written and the story is exciting and interesting through out. I found myself getting annoyed with some of the characters and endlessly hoping for others.

This book has gotten me even more excited for the upcoming game, 5 stars, a great read with characters you'll care about and story you'll get sucked in to.

Thank you to #netgalley, the publisher Aconyte Books and the author Matthew J Kirby, for this fantastic read in exchange for my honest opinion.

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NOTE: I received this as a free copy via Aconyte Books & Ubisoft for an honest review. This is also a SPOILER FREE review.
I love Assassin's Creed. The third entry in the series was my first rated M game, Black Flag's ending always makes me cry, and I've logged countless hours on Odyssey while in College, playing off and on in the world of Greece. I read up on the lore, I imagine future games in the series, and sometimes, I imagine stories that I'd love to one day write in the future. But I had never really taken a dive into the literary adaptations of the games' stories, no matter how bad I'd love to write about an Assassin from any point in history. I think the only time I've ever really done that was when I read a chunk of Matthew J. Kirby's Last Descendants series of YA books, but I only reached a hundred pages into it before I lost it while moving into a new house.
But now, I crack open a book from the same author, and, as a preface - I want, nay, need to go back and read Kirby's earlier works. Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga blew it out of the water for me.
Assassin's Creed, for those that don't know, is a game franchise that revolves around a group called "the Assassins," in other cultures, they're called "the Hidden Ones," meanwhile they're facing off against the Templars, who hide in plain sight. As a piece of Historical Science Fiction, some games a player will interact with figures of the past. Assassin's Creed Three, for example, revolved around colonial America, and you met people like Paul Revere and George Washington. This novel is a tie-in to the newest entry in the franchise (at the time of posting), Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, which revolves around the Vikings of yore, landing in England for conquest and power.
Found in this novel is an adjacent story to the game. To die-hard fans of the franchise, this may be seen as a con. For a few years now, Assassin's Creed hasn't really been Assassin's Creed to some. Odyssey received so much flack because it wasn't even revolving around Assassins and Templars, and, seen here in both the game and book, it's all just happening elsewhere. The story follows Geirmund Hel-hide, who doesn't appear in the game. Geirmund's Saga revolves around a quest for identity and is riddled with war as he works to help the Danes in their conquest of England, working to defeat the Saxon king and establish control of new land. There's no real "assassinations," nor is there a "Leap of Faith," or a hidden blade in the standard sense. It is adjacent to Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, which, already, is adjacent to the Assassins.
Something that I love about Assassin's Creed media is its dedication to the time period. I can see that so much research went into this novel that it really should be seen as the saga that it is. Even the references from the game are accurate and in accordance with Assassin's Creed lore. It's a massive bonus that this is, at its heart, a historical fantasy first, and an Assassin's Creed Tie-in Novel second.
I'm feeling unsure if I'd consider this a con, as this allows people that don't really know much about Assassin's Creed to go into it and still get a story full of captivating characters and an enjoyable plot. But, as a diehard fan, I went through thinking "Okay, so is Geirmund going to do this?" In reference to some game-beat, and no, it doesn't happen, or it does happen, but I'd have to go through six degrees of connection to decide on if what happened could really be considered Assassin's Creed related. A murder in the night isn't, to me, an assassination, but it may be to some.
Geirmund's Saga is told from a third-person limited point of view, meaning that we only know of Geirmund's thoughts and what Geirmund is seeing and feeling. I like this. Sometimes, third-person novels will jump to the villain's perspective, revealing every dastardly thing or the whole plot, making it all feel null to me. I'm glad it stuck with the hero.
I will say that the character of Geirmund has a really interesting arc, that plays on the ideas of identity, religion, and making one's own path. Everything about Norse beliefs revolve around fate, the Three-Spinners are brought up frequently, if a person dies it is fate that wills it so. Geirmund struggles with this thought, but has faith that the gods will make sure everything goes according to plan in their own weird Aesir way.
England is also a Christian country, so seeing this clash between Norse ideas and Christian doctrine is so intriguing, and it gets explored often throughout the 460 page novel. To Christians, a Norseman is a pagan, sent by the devil to rain hellfire to their holy land of England. To the Danes and Vikings, the Christians are just an obstacle, and their gods want them to overtake this land. I'll admit, going into a book that's a tie-in to a video game, I didn't expect these ideas and I think that shows a fundamental bias to tie-in novels in general, as there's really diamonds in the rough, like this and Matthew Stover's "Revenge of the Sith" novelization.
I will say that while the plot is intriguing and the prose is so poetic and well-told, I think there's parts throughout the book that dragged. Descriptions got to being so in-depth, and I would find myself skimming a little bit of it before catching myself and rereading it. I'm trying to find the balance of this in my writing, and I think you can describe a lot of stuff, but you may also have to hope that the reader's imagination can fill in the blanks. The story isn't saying something like "The Longboat was about 5 meters in length with long overarching wooden carvings," it doesn't get into the nitty gritty like a history book, but it does get really poetic in it's language for something as simple as "It was a torrential downpour of rain."
I'm glad, though, that the dialogue is really intriguing and realistic for the period. It's almost Shakespearean at times in terms of wit. No spoilers, but the ending dialogue is like a hundred guns on the mantelpiece, and just now are they all going off. It was such an amazing payoff of wit. This falls into characters too, which are all pretty great and have their own use. Later on in the story it seems like it may get confusing with how many people join the roster, but it never really felt like it did. The only issue I had was that the names all felt similar to each other. I know, some of these are historical figures like Guthrum, but I'd find myself confusing character names like Skjalgi and Steinolfur with Sidroc and Styrbjorn. Just a lot of names that start with S, and I guess that's hard for me, but maybe it isn't for others.
All-in-all, though, I found Assassin's Creed Valhalla: Geirmund's Saga to be an epic that stands on its own as a captivating story, separate from the AC title. I wonder if Geirmund will show up in the game's future Downloadable Content, as I think some of the things seen here took place after the games ending, but I could be wrong.
If you're a fan of Assassin's Creed, or you're looking for an emotional, theme-filled, Viking Tale, this book is something that I'll wholeheartedly recommend.

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Received a free copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A historical fiction novel focusing on Geirmund, a brave and stubborn Viking warrior that is trying to find his own destiny. No previous understanding of the Assassin's Creed games are required to read this novel, nor does one need to be expertly versed in history to read it. I think it does help to at least have played the game beforehand so you can picture some of the characters easier.

Now, this is *exclusively* a historical fiction novel, I can't quite understand the whole "let's slap an Assassin's Creed label on this book!" idea because....nothing from the present-day parts of the game appear. It's literally just about Gerimund. Eivor, the main character in AC: Vallhalla does appear a couple of times but in pretty small doses. That's about it.

The action scenes were well written and the atmosphere definitely felt very Viking-like. I'd say the dialogue could be a bit stilted at times, but it's not a huge problem and doesn't take you out of the book. The characters came off a bit flat sometimes, the one priest named John was my favorite because of his dialogue with Geirmund. How does a priest try to convert a Viking? Not very successfully.

This is a good historical fiction that is true to the brutal Viking lifestyle, but not a great Assassin's Creed novel, if that makes any sense.

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