Nathan Hawke: Gallow Crimson Shield (Review)

So who is Nathan Hawke?

Nathan Hawke is a British writer of fantasy fiction. He has worked variously in the City, as a consultant to the police and to the services. He has travelled in the far east, worked for a time in Las Vegas, was briefly involved in video game design, and once skied off a mountain under a parachute for a bet. His current ambitions include rafting the Colerado River and walking the Milford Track. The Gallow series are his first novels.

Below is the original announcement:

And there is also good news for British fantasy writer Nathan Hawke, who has signed a new three-book deal. The new series will features a hero that will appeal to fans of David Gemmell. The lead characters, Gallow, finds himself on the wrong side of wars, through his belief in honour.  As the series progresses, he must deal with the consequences of his actions and the truth of his relationships with others whose sense of honour is more tarnished than his own.

“Fantasy has been built on the exploits of those troubled, all too human men and women who have tried to make a difference, tried to do the right thing. Nathan’s conception of Gallow made it clear that here was a man who could stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of them. It’s going to be great fun helping Nathan bring a new hero to a new generation of readers,” commented Simon Spanton, Deputy Publishing Director of Gollancz, who acquired world rights to the series from John Jarrold.

All three books will be published in quick succession in 2013.

Book Description (July 11th)

crimson shield

 I have been Truesword to my friends, Griefbringer to my enemies. To most of you I am just another Northlander bastard here to take your women and drink your mead, but to those who know me, my name is Gallow. I fought for my king for seven long years. I have served lords and held my shield beside common men. I have fled in defeat and I have tasted victory and I will tell you which is sweeter. Despise me then, for I have slain more of your kin than I can count, though I remember every single face.
For my king I will travel to the end of the world. I will find the fabled Crimson Shield so that his legions may carry it to battle, and when Sword and Shield must finally clash, there you will find me. I will not make pacts with devils or bargains with demons for I do not believe in such things, and yet I will see them all around me, in men and in their deeds. Remember me then, for I will not suffer such monsters to live.Even if they are the ones I serve.

I literally begged to get my hands on this book, if you’re not sure why then look again at the cover art. Art in every sense of the word, so much so that Gollanzc have taken the brave and innovative step to not have the authors name or book title on the front cover. This truly is one of the finest book covers I have ever seen, I only wish this was a hardback, and I could buy the original art work.
So is this new book any good?
Oh yes! Its a fantastic blending of fantasy and historical fiction, and for once the announcement does not lead you astray “The new series will features a hero that will appeal to fans of David Gemmell” . Gallow is a character Gemmell would have been (I think) very pleased with. He is, as per Gemmells best, a flawed man, not a hero but heroic, a man with a code of his own. Someone who swims against the pack, struggling to appease the differing sides of his life and his past.
I was reminded so many times during the book of Gemmells Rigante, a mixture of Connavar and Bane the Bastard. As this is possibly Gemmells finest work, in my view that’s the biggest compliment I could give this book or any book. (Gemmell is my all time favourite author)
The world is very Norse, attacking the Saxon shore, Saxons settled and gone soft, become sheep. That is the Lhosir and the Maroc, I had not decided who to peg as the Vathan and look forward to the speculation of others, they are very Hun like, horse warriors with a dark god, tribal and warlike. The simple fact the book has me guessing and speculating rather than ploughing into the next read is again testament to its quality of plot and story telling.
I really do recommend this book, to fantasy or Historical Fiction fans
Future Books
Cold Redemption (8th August)
cold redemption
I fought against your people, and I have fought for them. I have killed, and I have murdered. I betrayed my kin and crippled my king. I led countless warriors to their deaths and fought to save one worthless life. I have stood against monsters and men and I cannot always tell the difference. Fate carried me away from your lands, from the woman and the family I love. Three hellish years but now, finally, I may return. I hope I will find them waiting for me. I hope they will remember me while all others forget. Let my own people believe me dead, lest they hunt me down. Let me return in the dark and in the shadows so no one will know. But hope is rare and fate is cruel. And if I have to, I will fight.
Last Bastion (Septmeber 12th )
last bastion
The last battle for the fate of your country is coming. My kin are out for blood and revenge. Another empire sees a chance to come in and pick up the pieces of our war. Most of your warriors are stuck hiding in the swamps, always aware that they do not have enough numbers to win a straight fight. And from over the seas, my people bring their most deadly weapons, the Fateguard. Living suits of armour, imbued with mystical and deadly power. The end times have come for your land. I have fought alongside you, I have bled for you, I have made myself a traitor to all I believe in for you. And yet you still do not trust me. But you have no option. This will be our last battle, and there is only one place that it can be fought. We must defend our stronghold, no matter how many lives it may cost, no matter how hard it is. For if we do not, there will be no mercy and no relief from the terrors to come. Good thing I’m on your side.


Filed under Fantasy, Historical Fiction

8 responses to “Nathan Hawke: Gallow Crimson Shield (Review)

  1. Reblogged this on Historical Fiction reviews and commented:
    Looking forward to checking this out…love the covers…

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