An exciting historical adventure set during the Norman Conquest of Britain
by Richard Cullen
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Pub Date 05 Aug 2021 | Archive Date 31 Jan 2023
Aria & Aries, Head of Zeus -- an Aries Book
An action-packed historical novel featuring Danish warrior Styrkar, and his journey through the violent Norman Conquest as he fights for vengeance.The champion of a dead king has nothing left to lose... And nothing more to fear.
Hastings, 1066. Styrkar the Dane stumbles wounded and delirious from the corpse-strewn battlefield of Senlac Hill. He has watched his king butchered at the hands of foreign knights, seen his countrymen defeated in battle, and he will not stop until there is a reckoning.
Styrkar embarks on a bloody quest to avenge his dead master, becoming an outlaw in the wilds and earning a fearsome reputation.
When a Breton knight seeks to track down this fugitive and make his own name, he can little envisage the task he has set himself. For Styrkar, the Red Wolf, last surviving housecarl to King Harold Godwinson, will carve the story of his vengeance in Frankish flesh... or die in the attempt.
Praise for Richard Cullen:
'Richard Cullen's writing is as sharp as the blade wielded by Styrkar, the series' protagonist, who cuts a bloody swathe through his Norman enemies on his quest for vengeance. Styrkar is a great heroic creation, and the Wolf of Kings series places Cullen in the top tier of historical action and adventure authors' Matthew Harffy
'Oath Bound is a terrific novel... It's a brutal yet compelling tale, and one that gripped me from the first page to the last' Paul Fraser Collard, author of FugItive
'A perfect example of tight, gritty, character-driven storytelling' Luke Scull, author of The Grim Company (on Herald of the Storm)
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 16 members
Sincere thanks to Netgalley/Aries & Aries for letting me have an advance copy of this great book.
I've read the authors 'War of the Archons' trilogy, (as R.S. Ford), and was greatly looking forward to this new historical series.
The cover description starts with Styrkar (known as the Red Wolf), surviving the battle of Senlac hill, and the guilt he feels at being unable to protect his king (Harold Godwinson). However, his story begins way before then, when he's captured as a child by Norwegian raiders, and enslaved for most of his youth.
An encounter with Harold (before he becomes King), changes all that and he becomes one of Harold's most trusted warriors, and Styrkar comes to regard him as a father, his love and loyalty unquestionable.
We follow them through all the political machinations of the time, which are beatifully described, explained and discussed, without it becoming a history lesson.
The showdown in the North with Harold Hadrada is next, then the fateful battle of Hastings. I loved this section, as with no great battle description, we see the aftermath, Harold's body being secured in a sack, Edith crying over him, and a lowly knight is sent to burn his remains. This is our introduction to Ronan, our other main protagonist, and that Styrkar and Ronan are destined to meet, seems inevitable.
This is where the story starts to excel, with Ronan seeing an opportunity to better himself by capturing the Red Wolf (Styrkar), and Styrkar being dragged back a life he thought he was starting to escape.
As I mentioned, the historical setting is wonderfully brought to life, and the depiction of the conquest and William I and the political goings-on of the time, encouraged me to read about the factual history of this period, which is always good.
The battle scenes are great, the sounds, sights and smells of the period are vividly depicted, and the whole book has a great adventure-feel to it. I had Robin of Sherwood in my head when 'seeing' the world of the book.
The characters are well sketched out, each an individual person, with real motivations for what they do and how they react in different situations. The star of course is Styrkar himself, the 'Red Wolf', slayer of Franks. A formidable warrior, a loyal friend, and one whose further adventures I can't wait to read. (Seriously, when's the next one out?)
A fabulous five-star read for me.
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