In a thrilling adventure of brotherhood, warfare, and treachery, Giles Kristian takes us into ninth-century England, a world of darkness, epic conflict, and an unforgiving God served by powerful priests. On ships shaped like dragons, bristling with oars and armor, Jarl Sigurd and his fierce Norsemen have come in search of riches. And riches they are promised, by an English ruler who sends Sigurd and his wolves to steal a holy manuscript from another kingdom.
Osric, an orphan boy, sees beyond the terror of these warriors, and somehow knows the heathens’ tongue. Renamed Raven, rechristened in blood, he will join them. They are his people. And they will be his fate.
©2009 Giles Kristian (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
I teach. I Listen. I trust your judgment as a fellow listener.
This story would have been better in graphic novel format. Take one teenager with amnesia, have some Vikings raid his village, then (presto-change-o) the boy begins speaking, cursing and fighting like a Viking professional. Never mind he's only been in this village two years and speaks the local Wessex dialect like a native. And, suspend your disbelief that the young man dumps his allegiance to his village like a hot potato. This character becomes a killing machine in a matter of weeks…and he isn't killing the Vikings that slaughtered his people…he's fighting alongside them.
The plot of Bloodeye is plucked right from two or three other sources (TV's Ragnar Lothbrok comes to mind). This novel is riding the crest of a Viking fiction wave. However, the author experienced a big wipeout in his fist two chapters.
Two swords down (except for Simon Prebble - who is a master of Anglo story telling).
I really enjoyed this book which gives an earnest account of how brutal life was at that time. The author was able to draw me in and keep me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next page.
I am brutally honest. Popular, love everything they read, reviewers are scared to go neg. and risk their ranking. It's your money!!!
A MAN DOES NOT DECIDE HE IS KING, THE MEN AROUND HIM DO.
I have always been interested in Vikings. They have always been portrayed as large men from the North who kill and pillage and rape as if it was there right to do so. My interest is in what made them think they had the right and what kind of race of man, loves killing other humans. I was reminded by this different take that history is written by the winners. Perhaps they were not the evil race of men the are suppose to be. Giles portrays them as traders, who are consistently under attack by sneaky British types. The British demand taxes and they hate anyone who worships any God other then their God. I understand how important religion was to early Christians, especially through my reading of Ivanhoe, but I found it hard to believe the extend in which they are blamed for the conflict with the Vikings.
This is Giles first novel and it reads like a first novel. The Vikings are made to look fairly tame. They do a lot of boosting and a lot is made of Eagling a man, but I thought the whole story moved slowly and other then trash talk, their was little substance to it. There is lots of talking then a battle, then talking, then battle, repeat. Even in the battles I did not feel the horror of killing. Nor was there much Viking history, nothing new was learned.
Harry Harrison's Hammer and The Cross does a lot better job at giving you the feel of the horrific acts of these men. Blood Eagling, making of a hemnar, quartering, tying a man's intestines to a stick and then beating him until he runs far enough to pull out his own intestines, and much more. Hemnar may be spelled wrong, but it is cutting off a man's arms and legs, but keeping him alive.
WORDS FALL FROM YOUR MOUTH LIKE DRIPPINGS FROM A GOAT'S A**.
Just a quote from the book, the narrator is pretty good, he just could not save the author from his own boring writing.
HIS HEAD IS FULL OF SPIDERS.
The Raven series is in the same class as the best of Iggulden, Sidebottom, Scarrow, Pressfield, Fabbri, or Archer. Fans of historical fiction will be rewarded with a simply kick-ass story. Worth your time and money.
Books are like air: I need them to live.
This story is a very good start to the story of Raven Bloodeye, Christian captured by Vikings who ultimately becomes one of them. First in the Raven series the characters are crafted carefully and slowly at first, though this is a good thing. The different people and personalities are clear and deliberate and each character has a distinct "voice" (not speaking of the audio performance here, but the actual voice and uniqueness of each character).
Not having read the second or third books yet I do not know if the similarities to the History Channel's show "Vikings" will continue but I can say if you are a fan of that show you will enjoy this book. The book nor the show influenced each other but there are some parallels and again I would not count that as a negative.
The storyline is interesting as there is no clear beginning-middle-end goal the characters are after. That truly adds to the authenticity of the people and settings as Vikings, or Norsemen who go viking (a seasonal raid on another land) rarely had plans defined beyond where they were going. So the wandering nature of Jarl Sigurd's path in the first half of the book lent well to the flavor and helps to pull the reader/listener along. The wandering feeling is not aimless as each event leads cleanly from one to the next.
Watching Raven grow from captured orphan boy who mysteriously knows the Norsemen's tongue into a curious observer and finally into a young warrior who gains the respect of his one time captors is engaging and fun. Having Raven tell the story from his perspective was probably the best call the author made as being able to see the transformation from the inside out cements the connection to the main character. At the same time it keeps the audience at a slight distance from the Viking characters which means there is never full stability in Raven's emotional footing.
The bond that grows between Sigurd and Raven is enjoyable and is the thread that keeps all the events pulled together.
A very good start to a tale that will be an excellent ride if from book to book the richness of the story continues to grow.
I really love the story. The only issue I really had was the fact that this was a very young character, maybe 15 or 16 years old, with dialogue and interactions with other characters that are clearly from an adult. The narrator only use the voice of a young boy when the boy is talking to the Viking leader. Also, I struggle to understand how this band of vikings loses so few under such tremendous odds. If you can overlook these minor plot issues I believe you'll really enjoy this book.
I love historical fiction, but usually stick with stories of medieval kings and queens rather than with the violent tales of the blood and gore encountered in the "shield wall"-- but Bernard Cornwell first hooked me with his "Saxon Chronicles" and I have now read (listened to) all of the books in that series -- hence tried this one and very much enjoyed it. Excellent narrator, absorbing story, never a dull moment…. I plan to go on and read the next two volumes in this series, which to my great relief I see are also available on Audible. It's nice to be so caught up in the listening experience and know that there is more to come !!!
Looking for something light and easy, but still fun and engaging? Do yourself a favour and keep looking!
Even if you're able to put aside the idea of a character that rapes a woman, knowing full-well what he is doing and that she does not want it, this book is still not a good listen (the main character does this after living his life in an English village and understands what rape is, then pities himself for doing it).
I am not comfortable with a rapist as a main character (regardless of how "bad" he felt about it), but even in spite of that part (which didn't do anything to further the character development or plot) this book is not great. It's meant to be a light-hearted romp, with some semi-historical facts peppered in, but it's just a big load of dribble. I'm sure the author did do his research, as evidenced by the parts that read like a Wikipedia entry, but the story development was stale and sadly lacking. The author relied mostly on the reputation of vikings to sell his story, without actually contributing to it in any realistic or meaningful way, and without adequately explaining/exploring the motivation for his characters (except, hey they're vikings, they do that kind of stuff and they believe in funny Gods).
A lot (all?) of the situations in the book were quite preposterous. Almost all resolutions were due to eus ex machina, to the point that it became quite predictable. I was surprised, however, that no characters were literally struck with lightening while about to deal a death blow to the 'hero', as that's the sort of story this is.
Even if you're bored and looking for something light and easy, I would not recommend this.
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