Scott Oden (1967 – )
Scott Oden was born in Columbus, Indiana, in 1967. The youngest of five, he was raised in rural North Alabama, near Huntsville, where he still resides. Scott’s fascination with Egypt and the ancient world began in 1976, when his third-grade teacher showed the class slides from the traveling Tutankhamen exhibit. He studied history and English at Calhoun College and the University of Alabama before pursuing the usual variety of odd jobs–from delivering pizza to working in the bindery of a printing company to clerking at a video store. Men of Bronze is his first novel.
He is called by many names. To the Danes, he is skraelingr; to the English, he is orcnéas; to the Irish, he is fomoraig. He is Corpse-maker and Life-quencher, the Bringer of Night, the Son of the Wolf and Brother of the Serpent. He is Grimnir, and he is the last of his kind – the last in a long line of monsters who have plagued humanity since the Elder Days.
Drawn from his lair by a thirst for vengeance against the ambitious Dane who slew his brother, Grimnir emerges into a world that has changed. A new faith has arisen, a Nailed God from the East, and against it the Elder World cannot abide. The Old Ways are dying, and their followers retreating into the shadows; even still, Grimnir’s vengeance cannot be denied.
Taking as hostage a young Christian to be his guide, Grimnir embarks on a journey that takes him from the hinterlands of Denmark, where the wisdom of the ancient dwarves has given way to madness, to the war-torn heart of southern England, where the spirits of the land make violence on one another. And thence to the green shores of Ireland and the Viking stronghold of Dubhlinn, where his enemy awaits . . .
But, unless Grimnir can set aside his hatreds, his dream of retribution will come to nothing. For Dubhlinn is set to be the site of a reckoning – the Old Ways versus the New – and Grimnir, the last of his kind left to plague mankind, must choose: stand with the Christian King of Ireland and see his vengeance done, or stand against him and see it slip away?
For quite some time i have espoused the huge (and growing) cross over in the Fantasy and Historical Fiction genres, the two genres i have most read and reviewed in the last 25 years.
Scott Odens A Gathering of Ravens takes it a step further, he pulls in the deep myths of the Norse and Anglo Saxon world, just as Christianity is blooming across Europe, Britain and then later wraps in the ancient tales of Ireland. The old world is fading but the pagan world is still a huge part of many lives and for those converted to the nailed god, some have a tenuous hold on their new faith. For me this book brought back memories of 2000ad and Slaine…. in one of the most famous stories Slaine is sent back to Ireland to fight Balor the one Eye and the Formorians ( aka skraelingr) . This book follows The profoundly dark Grimnir a hard spoken loner, a Skraelingr and Etain a follower of the Nailed god, a young christian certain in her faith. Both are set for new revelations towards each others beliefs and understanding and the reader is treated to two totally opposing views of the world.
Scott Oden has done a marvelous job of weaving his tale of myths, legends and history into a tale that feels like an ancient chronicle a fable for warriors, remembering their history, recounting the glory of the old gods in the face of the new one. There are many times in this book that you lose track of what may have been taken from facts and fables and what is from the mind of the author, which for me is a true triumph. I remember while reading the book, ooh I know X & Y author who will love this book, which to me also screams the authenticity of the book, the skill, effort and research that’s gone into it, and also the passion behind the subject, the voices of the characters and how they change with the locale, blending the myth and poetry of the story into a fire side fable.
I know this is some time away, but this really is a book not to miss in 2017
The Lion Of Cairo (2010)
Serpent of Hellas (2012)
A Gathering of Ravens (2017)