From the cover:
Raven: a mysterious young man from England with no memory and a blood-tainted eye has found friendship and purpose amongst a fierce brotherhood of Norse warriors. He has proved himself in battle and is certain now that Viking blood flows in his veins, but to survive in this harsh world, his cunning must be as sharp as his blade…
With revenge on their minds, Raven and the Wolfpack plough the sea road in pursuit of the traitor Ealdred. There will be a reckoning, but in following him, Raven and his sword brothers find themselves in the heart of a Christian empire that would wipe their kind from the face of the earth. Danger waits round every bend of the great river up which they travel – there are battles to be won, a time-honoured and brutal duel, and Raven will be taken prisoner and left to rot…
You don’t need to have read the first book, Raven: Blood Eye, to enjoy this one, but it helps. The story is pretty well self-contained, as the band of Vikings have moved from England to France in their pursuit of the English lord who betrayed them and of course, in pursuit of treasure, silver and adventure.
You pretty much know what you’re getting with this sort of book (like with Robert Low’s Oathsworn series). This doesn’t let the side down and, as with Robert Low’s Viking series, this deserves to be compared with Bernard Cornwell’s current Viking series.
Giles Kristian has a relaxed, easy to read writing style. He clearly knows his stuff, his Scandinavian languages (living in Denmark and speaking Danish every day, I’m well-placed to confirm that) and he clearly knows his Viking religion. In fact, the whole book here is surely a speculation (has to be a speculation, as the written evidence isn’t available), as to how much the Viking world and their actions were dependent on, their views of, their gods’ desires and whims.
I can thoroughly recommend the Odin’s Wolves series and I’m looking forward to the next one coming out in paperback ASAP.