Category Archives: Giles Kristian

Giles Kristian Wings of the Storm (2016) Blog Tour Review + Q&A

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Giles Kristian (1975 – )

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Family history (he is half Norwegian) and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired Giles Kristian to write his first historical novels, the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War. The Bleeding Land and Brother’s Fury follow the fortunes of a divided family against the complex and brutal backcloth of a conflict that tore this country apart and ended with the killing of a king.

Wings of the Storm (2016)
(The third book in the Rise of Sigurd series)

book cover of Wings of the Storm

Fighting in Sweden for an ambitious warlord, Sigurd Haraldarson and his small but loyal band of oathsworn warriors are winning fame and reputation. But Sigurd knows that to take on his hated enemy, the oath-breaker King Gorm – the man who betrayed his father, a man Sigurd has vowed to kill – he must earn riches enough to build an army. Many believe Sigurd to be Odin-favored, but his exploits have drawn the eye of another god, too: Loki the Trickster, and when a daring assassination attempt goes wrong, Sigurd finds himself a prisoner of the powerful Jarl Guthrum. Bound like a slave, his luck having seemingly deserted him, Sigurd is taken to the sacred temple at Ubsola, a place where the blood of human sacrifice flows to appease the gods. It is at Ubsola that Sigurd will face the sacrificial knife. And it is here that he will find a powerful relic, the great spear that was said to have once belonged to Odin himself. With such a spear in his possession Sigurd might now assemble a host strong enough to challenge King Gorm and wreak the revenge he craves. For, like Odin, Sigurd will be the Wild Huntsman tearing through the sky on his fearsome steed, and the rage of his passing will be the sound of wings of the storm.

Wings of the Storm: (The Rise of Sigurd 3)

Review

Every year for seven years i have been fortunate enough to have been wowed by the talent that is Giles Kristian. He burst upon the Historical Fiction scene with Raven: Blood Eye and has not looked back or stumbled once since then. Each and every release has vied for the top spot in my chart for book of the year, winning it several times. He has brought a different dimension to my world of book reviewing, with his (and his Friend Phil Stevens) stunning book trailers, inviting me behind the camera to see the process and be involved. Both are not just talented individuals they are amazingly generous and giving with their time and knowledge of the whole process.

2016 saw the release of not one but the final 2 books in the Rise of Sigurd series, and the rush to the thrilling conclusion of Sigurds revenge. Given we know (if you have read the Raven) who lives to the next phase of the story there is an element of constraint on the author. But for me i have never felt it, and more than many authors Giles keeps you guessing with plot twists and turns, advances and set backs and barely avoided disasters, all within the bounds of what could be expected by real people, ie no super human figures dealing death at a whim.

For much of this series Giles writing has had almost a lyrical saga property to it, a quality that carry’s the reader along, makes you part of the crew and gives you a connection a bond with them. But Wings of the Storm is like the title suggests, the plot is the building tempest of destruction, gaining power and ferocity before it can be aimed at the man who destroyed Sigurd’s family. As such the book is much more explosive, each and every action makes you doubt your knowledge of who might live or die, weather Sigurd can actually realise his ambition to avenge his father, have the fates decided against him, how can a small band of men defeat a king. … Like me you need to read the book to find out, but i can say it is one hell of a dramatic thrilling conclusion, full of axe-wielding , spear throwing vikings, berserkers, sword Danes, Norse and Valkyries, where friends and enemies often find the lines blurring and they all rush headlong driven by Odin and the fates or just the desire for revenge of Sigurd, what ever you believe… the ending is powerful and worth waiting for.

Another year, another contender for the annual book of the year title

(Parm)

Whats next? …….. This master of writing is taking on one of the all time great stories…. Lancelot

Q&A

  • So Giles, now you have hit your ninth book and the end of the series that started it all (well, that world), can you take us back to how this all began for you as a writer (let’s face it you were a successful singer)?

So having been the first member of my family to go to university, I dropped out after only a few months to join a pop group. I was at the University of Central England doing a degree in English Language and Literature because I wanted to become a writer. But I found my brief time at uni difficult. I was an introvert and living off campus didn’t help me assimilate. I was an outsider and I was baffled by the linguistics side of the course. All I wanted to do was write. I wanted to create. Then the band thing happened and blew it all out the water. I went from being a shy, homesick, somewhat confused student to lead singer in a pop group, appearing on Top of the Pops, doing TV and radio every other day, performing in arenas and jetting off to exotic locations to film music videos. Talk about being thrown in at the deep end. This was 1995. Gods but the world was a different place back then!

Several hit records and countless incredible experiences later, we called it a day. I wasn’t the only one in the band for whom it had stopped being fun. In truth it was always going to be hard for me, a twenty-one-year-old man into rock and indie, to fully embrace the pop world and the image we were supposed to portray.

We split. I threw myself into song-writing and spent as much time in various recording studios as in my own home. I wrote an album’s worth of pop rock and started again, trying to get myself a record deal as a solo artist. It was a slog, but eventually I got signed and spent a couple of years touring on and off in Europe. It was great fun, but again I found myself confronted with a dilemma. The record company wanted me to record and perform music that my heart just wasn’t into. I had already been there and done that and I just don’t think you can make a success of something you don’t believe in.

Somewhat disenchanted with the music industry, I went back to my other love: writing. I read and enjoyed David Gemmell and Bernard Cornwell and told myself, ‘I can do that.’ (Oh the arrogance of the young). I wrote a 160,000 word novel about the second son of an earl who joins the First Crusade and fights his way to the Holy Land. I don’t think it was very good, which was why I couldn’t get an agent or a publisher to sign it. So…I started again. Again. This time writing a novel about an outcast who is taken from his village by a Viking warband. Having a Norwegian mother, you could say I went back to my roots. I began it in 2004. I got the publishing deal in 2007 when I was living in New York. RAVEN: Blood Eye was released in 2009 and was a bestseller.

It was, as the Beatles said, a long and winding road. But the journey is often what it’s all about. A shame we usually only realise that with hindsight. And funnily enough, my music career is probably what gave me the confidence to believe I could be a published author in the first place. Had I stayed in uni, shy and retiring, learning about language and literature, I may never have ended up writing for a living.

  • How much of a personal impact did it have to reach the end of this series? It has always felt like subject you are passionate about.

Wings of the Storm marks the end of a long and, for me at least, wonderfully exciting journey. When I wrote the RAVEN saga I just put the characters aboard and off we went. It was only in The Rise of Sigurd books that I learnt who these characters were, where they came from and what their motivations were. RAVEN: Blood Eye was my half-blood story; Vikings on tour in England, written by, well, a half-English, half-Norwegian man. But the Sigurd books are all Norse. Yes, they’re set in Scandinavia, but more than this I feel these books are soaked to their spines with the heroic warrior ethos and the storytelling culture that we associate with bands of Viking adventurers. I honestly don’t feel I could write a more Viking tale than this. I’ll miss my motley crew! But perhaps we will journey together again one day.

  • Given everything you have put into this series, including the amazing book trailers, who has been your favourite character across the two Viking series?

I do like writing Black Floki. He just doesn’t seem to have any moral compass, which makes him fun to write. Plus, he’s probably the most dangerous of all Sigurd’s warriors. I also like Olaf, particularly in the Sigurd books. Maybe being older myself now, I felt I was able to get right inside Olaf’s head. I loved how he reacted to Sigurd’s ‘hanging tree’ episode in God of Vengeance. He thought Sigurd was being an idiot, tying himself to a tree and starving, sacrificing himself to get Odin’s attention. Olaf is wise and slightly cynical and knows what’s what. He’s also hard as nails but doesn’t have to prove it every five minutes like some of the younger men.

  • There is a fantastic depth to the books, an intimate knowledge of the time and land; how much research and travel did you need to do?

I spent a few days on the island of Karmøy, where Sigurd is from, and I was lucky enough to row the largest replica Viking ship ever built, Draken Harald Hårfagre. Other than that, it’s a lot of time on Google Maps and Google Earth looking at coastlines. (What incredible resources they are!) But most of it, nearly all of it, comes from life experience and imagination. I’ve spent enough time on little boats in the Norwegian fjords for the landscape to have seeped into my soul. The trick is, of course, selling that experience to a reader who may never have been anywhere quite like that. But then again, readers have powerful imaginations. If they didn’t, books like mine just wouldn’t work; the ideas – hacking off limbs in the shieldwall, standing at the prow of a longship, listening to a saga being told by a skald around a blazing hearth – would be too alien. A novel is a collaboration between writer and reader and, when it works well, it’s magic. These are the books that stay with us long after the final page.

  • Will we ever see a return to the Viking world? Are there more tales of Sigurd to come?

There seems to be a growing clamour of calls for another RAVEN story. I must admit the idea is very tempting. Those who’ve read the RAVEN saga know I can’t in all good conscience leave the last survivors of the Fellowship getting corrupt and lazy in Miklagard. It’s hard to talk about the end of a book or series without the risk of spoilers, so I will just say that the last line of Odin’s Wolves pretty much sums up how my crew feel about it, and also how I feel about it myself.

  • Many people ask if we will ever see the Rivers again; can/will that series be completed?

I really, really want to write another book in The Bleeding Land series. I have the first 40,000 words down but I can’t yet say when I’ll finish it or when it’ll be published. One way or another it will happen. Ideally it would be published in glorious style like The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury, but that will be up to my publisher. They would need to be convinced it would sell enough copies and keep things moving the right way, and that’s another story, because the Viking books are quite popular and even the RAVEN books continue to sell well. Alternatively, I could perhaps release it as an e-book only. At least it would be out there and available and I’d satisfy many of those readers who email asking for another Rivers book. I’m really proud of the Civil War books and hope that more and more people discover them in their own time.

  • What comes next for Giles Kristian and the wonderful world of writing?

I’m currently writing LANCELOT: The Betrayal. This is my take on the Arthurian myth and is very different from anything I’ve written before. There have been countless stories of Arthur, set as both medieval romances and stories of Dark Ages Britain. But we haven’t heard much at all about Lancelot, a character central to the popular myth. Lancelot, the greatest of Arthur’s warriors. Lancelot, the lover. Lancelot, the man whose affair with Guinevere destroys his friend Arthur and presages the downfall of the kingdom. But who is Lancelot? Well, this will be his story. We meet him as a young boy and we grow up with him, seeing the world through his eyes. We experience his inner conflicts; the struggle in his soul between love and duty, friendship, honour, hatred and revenge. In many ways this will be my most personal book yet and it’s going to take time to write it. Already, I feel my own soul weaving itself into the tale. My father passed away recently and it broke my heart. This book will be dedicated to him.

  • Non-book question: Four people from any point in history can be invited for dinner – who would you invite and why?

Well then, let’s assume Stephen Fry is booked up all year being other people’s fantasy dinner party guest. The following list might change depending on what mood I’m in. I mean, it’s like choosing your favourite four songs or movies. Anyway…

Alexander the Great. By the age of thirty he had created one of the largest empires of the ancient world, stretching from Greece to north-western India. That he persuaded men to follow him on his extraordinary trail of conquest is testament to the force of his personality and his ability as a warrior and leader. He founded some twenty cities and his spreading of Greek culture resulted in a new Hellenistic civilisation. Few men who ever lived can have had such an influence on the world. I want to know what that sort of god-like charisma looks like in person (though I might not invite my wife to this particular dinner).

Harald Hardrada. For the age, Hardrada was incredibly far-travelled and experienced. He lived a life filled with war, fighting on land and sea from Scandinavia eastward through Russia to Byzantium, where he rose to lead the Varangians, the Emperor’s elite bodyguard. For thirty-five years he slaughtered his enemies and yet he was a keen poet who was even composing on the battlefield at Stamford Bridge, where he finally fell in 1066. He was a giant of a man and his favourite possession was his raven banner, Landwaster. For me there’s something intriguing about a man who must have been more sophisticated and widely travelled than his countrymen, while also being the most feared warrior in Europe. Basically, he’s the ultimate Viking, so if he’s round for dinner it’s going to be a memorable night. Plus, I’d like to know what he made of The Last Viking, the film Philip Stevens and I made about him: http://bit.ly/LastViking

Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon is invited because, like Alexander, he was able to inspire thousands upon thousands of men to fight and die for him. A man of great intellect, vision and drive, Bonaparte was one of the greatest and most successful military commanders in history (Wellington said his presence on the battlefield was worth 40,000 soldiers). Bonaparte’s

ambition and drive was beyond extraordinary and I admire his belief in a meritocracy and hard work. Indeed, historians regularly praise the talent and vigour which took him from an obscure village to commander of most of Europe. There’s no doubt his influence on the modern world has been huge, but ultimately Bonaparte’s ambition proved his undoing, and there is something of the flawed genius about him which is intriguing. And standing at 5ft 6in tall, I’d very much like to see him standing next to Harald Hardrada, who was a mountain of a man and likely well over six feet. Although I am beginning to worry about the egos around this dinner table, and I’m not sure my next guest is going to tone that down any.

Elvis Presley. Just to lighten the mood slightly. Again, off-the-chart charisma, as well as an incredible voice and someone whose influence on popular music and performers can hardly be overstated. One of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, Elvis was a hero of my father and we grew up listening to his music. My dad, who sang in a rock ‘n’ roll revival band for many years, would sing an Elvis Presley song at any given opportunity. We even visited Graceland for my dad’s 60th, which was an amazing and strangely moving experience. But when all is said and done, despite very humble beginnings Elvis went on to become the biggest-selling solo recording artist in history. Just yesterday I listened to “If I Can Dream” on my dad’s original 1956-model Wurlitzer jukebox. You just don’t get that authentic sound from an MP3 or smartphone.

  • .. While I know you have either achieved book of the year or been top three every year (on Parmenion Books) since you started writing, in your own words (passes the soap box), why should people buy this and the other books in the series?

Time for the hard sell? OK, if you insist, Mr Carter. The Rise of Sigurd books were a joy to write. I perhaps shouldn’t admit this, but they are my favourite of the books I’ve done. I think as a writer I hit my stride with God of Vengeance. The writing felt so natural and comfortable and there’s perhaps an assuredness about the prose (Antonia Senior of The Times called it swagger – I rather liked that) which wasn’t present in the RAVEN saga. This ‘swagger’ seems to fit what is essentially a revenge story and the idea of a saga being woven by men out to make their reputations, to win themselves a hoard of fame. Also, I think there are several very strong characters in these books, male and female, so that readers might have their particular favourites, which is always fun. There’s a real sense of a crew here, of a brotherhood and sisterhood of adventurers and warriors whom you come to know. The most wonderful emails I receive are from readers who feel they are part of the crew. What more could I hope for than that? Over all though, I think God of Vengeance, Winter’s Fire and Wings of the Storm take us on a headlong and immersive journey into a pre-Christian Scandinavia of fickle gods, human sacrifice, blood feuds and petty kings. Indeed, on his final read-through of Wings of the Storm, my editor Simon Taylor said that during the last hundred or so pages he had to remind himself to breathe. I would have had them put that quote on the cover, even if he is my editor! But forget all of the above. These books are as Viking as it gets. The end. So what are you waiting for? Ready…steady…pillage!

Twitter: @gileskristian

Facebook: GilesKristian

http://Author.to/GilesKristian

 

Series

Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Rise of Sigurd
1. God of Vengeance (2014)  God of Vengeance (Book Trailer) , God of Vengeance (Behind the filming)
2. Winter’s Fire (2016)
3. Wings of the Storm (2016)
Novels
Golden Lion (2015) (with Wilbur Smith)
Novellas
The Terror (2014)

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THE LAST VIKING by Giles Kristian & Phil Stevens

THE LAST VIKING 

Dear Reader, In case you missed it, here’s Giles Kristian & Phil Steven’s new short film about Harald Haradrada, one of the greatest Vikings of all.
Watch the full film here: http://www.worldserpentproductions.com/the-last-viking

Hope you enjoy the film, if you do please share. 

Best regards,
Giles Kristian

THE LAST VIKING

25th September, 1066. The Viking King Harald Hardrada’s invaders are being slaughtered at Stamford Bridge outside York. Caught unawares by the English King Harold and his army, the Norsemen fight to their last breath, as all worthy warriors must.

Battle-torn, bloody and exhausted, the ageing warrior king bursts into a simple thatched dwelling, the clamour of battle and cries of the fallen fading behind him. He stumbles, throws himself onto a bed, is taken by sleep. Wakes to find food bubbling in a pot over the fire. Eats ravenously. The door opens and a spear-armed, one-eyed stranger in a wide-brimmed hat walks in. Sits down. Stares at the great king with his single, soul-searching eye. Under this scrutiny Hardrada feels suddenly compelled to tell this stranger the saga story of his own illustrious, war-filled life.

For though the great Harald Hardrada might not know it, his mortal body even now lies hacked and bloodless on the field by the river. And yet such was the warrior’s ambition in life, such was his thirst for sword-fame and glory, that he has one more tale to tell. One final epic to share, of his journey along the warrior’s way, before his soul can move on to what lies beyond.

And Odin the spear god, lord of war and poetry, would hear it.

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Giles Kristian & Lancelot !!

**Announcement**

A number one bestseller with Wilbur Smith’s Golden Lion, acclaimed for his rip-roaring Viking trilogies ‘The Raven Saga’ and ‘The Rise of Sigurd’, which come to a triumphant conclusion in December with Wings of the Storm, GILES KRISTIAN is, for his next historical adventure, plunging into the rich waters of what many feel is our greatest island ‘history’: the Arthurian legend.

Through Bill Hamilton at A. M. Heath, Transworld’s Simon Taylor has acquired UK and Commonwealth rights in Lancelot: The Betrayal plus a second novel. Scheduled for early 2018, Lancelot will offer readers a rather different telling of the story of the most celebrated of King Arthur’s knights. ‘This is such an exciting prospect’, said Taylor, ‘the dream pairing of a superb storyteller, renowned for his visceral, thrumming writing, with a tale that’s ready to be reimagined for our times. It’s a warrior’s tale, full of battles and bloodshed, of course, but it’s also a story of friendship, of betrayal – and let’s not forget there’s a great love story in there too. What’s more it’s a story imbued with the magic and superstition that was such an integral part of the enchanted landscape of post-Roman Britain.’

Transworld Publisher Bill Scott-Kerr added: ‘In Giles’ hands, this epic tale is going to be brought roaring to life for a new generation of reader. Here’s a historical novel that’s going to appeal across genders and genres.’

********

Personally i cannot wait the last interpretations of this legend that really worked for me were

Warlord Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell
1. The Winter King (1995)
2. Enemy of God (1996)
3. Excalibur (1997)

and

David Gemmell

1. Ghost King (1988)
2. Last Sword of Power (1988)

Giles is one of the few stand out authors i feel can tackle such an epic tale and pull it off… not just that, given his books have either been my book of the year of been in the top 5 since 2009, i feel we have an epic new series coming. So watch his Author web site for more detail

(Parm)

Series
Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers’ Fury (2013)
Rise of Sigurd
1. God of Vengeance (2014)
2. Winter’s Fire (2016)
3. Wings of the Storm (2016)
Novels
Golden Lion (2015) (with Wilbur Smith)
Novellas
The Terror (2014)

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Giles Kristian: Winter’s Fire (Review)

 

Giles has led a varied life to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.

Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired GILES KRISTIAN to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood EyeSons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s recent No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion but in his new novels – God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year) and now Winter’s Fire – he returns to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.

Author Web Site

Winter’s Fire: (The Rise of Sigurd 2)

Winter’s Fire  (2016)
(The second book in the Rise of Sigurd series)
A novel by Giles Kristian

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Norway, AD 785 – a vow of vengeance must be kept . . .
Sigurd Haraldarson has proved himself a great warrior . . . and a dangerous enemy.
He has gone a long way towards avenging the murder of his family. And yet the oath-breaker King Gorm, who betrayed Sigurd’s father, still lives. And so long as he draws breath, the scales remain unbalanced.
The sacred vow to avenge his family burns in Sigurd’s veins, but he must be patient and bide his time. He knows that he and his band of warriors are not yet strong enough to confront the treacherous king. They need silver, they need more spear-brothers to rally to the young Viking’s banner – but more than these, they need to win fame upon the battlefield.
And so the fellowship venture west, to Sweden, to fight as mercenaries. And it is there – in the face of betrayal and bloodshed, on a journey that will take him all too close to the halls of Valhalla – that Sigurd’s destiny will be forged. There, in the inferno of winter’s fire . . .
The Vikings return in this thrilling, thunderous sequel to Giles Kristian’s bestselling God of Vengeance.

Review

This book i have to admit was right in the handful of books “I must read” in 2016, it was one i would drop what ever i was reading to start as soon as it arrived (something i don’t do lightly or often).

As with every book Giles Kristian produces the quality of the writing increases with each new book. The depth of history and the authors passion and empathy for the Norsemen portrayed is simply stunning. There are very few authors who can provide books  of the level of descriptive prose displayed in this book, but beyond that, there are only a handful who can truly transport the reader with the power of the plot, the pace of the story and the totally immersive empathy for the subject.

I think what surprised me the most with this book is that while its a middle book, the plot is a middle plot and like all books of that type, its bridging the gap to a dramatic, climactic conclusion, despite all that its stand alone, brilliantly written. A tale of journey, the explosive action of God of Vengeance has its repercussions in Winters Fire, and decisions must be made. Sigurd isn’t ready to face his nemesis in the form of Oath-Breaker King Gorm, so he must travel, make his name, build his fortune and his crew. The journey is what we have in this book, imbued with many tales both large and more importantly the small, the minute details, the emotions the nitty gritty that makes this book come alive.

The quality of the book is truly displayed in the brutal yet elegantly lyrical nuances of the prose. Normally with Giles Kristian books there is a feeling of being sat listening to the Skald telling the tale by the fireside on a cold winters night, the deep aching cold held back by the flames of the fire-pit. But this book truly takes you on the adventure, part of the crew fully ensnared in the adventure out in that biting cold and on the waves, salt spray stinging your face.

I hope that you enjoyed this review, please see links below for other Giles Kristian Books, and also this for the day out https://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/2014/03/17/giles-kristian-god-of-vengeance-trailer-film-shoot-behind-the-scenes/ my most popular and favorite blog.

(Parm)

Series

Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)

 

 

Rise of Sigurd
1. https://parmenionbooks.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/giles-kristian-god-of-vengeance-review/ (2014)
2. Winter’s Fire (2016)
3. Wings of the Storm (2016)
Other

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Wilbur Smith with Giles Kristian : Golden Lion (Review)

Wilbur Smith  – Zambia (1933 – )

Wilbur Smith was born in Central Africa in 1933. He was educated at Michaelhouse and Rhodes University. He became a full-time writer in 1964 after the successful publication of WHEN THE LION FEEDS, and has since written nearly thirty novels, all meticulously researched on his numerous expeditions worldwide. His books are now translated into twenty-six languages.

Wilbur Smith lives in London and continues to have an abiding concern for the peoples and wildlife of his native continent, an interest strongly reflected in his novels.

Giles Kristian

He is half Norwegian and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired Giles Kristian to write his first historical novels, the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odins Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War. The Bleeding Land and Brothers Fury follow the fortunes of a divided family against the complex and brutal backcloth of a conflict that tore this country apart and ended with the killing of a king. In his most recent novel God of Vengeance Giles returns to the world of the Vikings to tell of the beginnings of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship.

Golden Lion

Buy the HB

The Courtney series. East African Coast, 1670. In a time of brave and brutal adventure, one man will journey across land and sea to pursue his greatest enemy …The Golden Bough, captained by Henry ‘Hal’ Courtney, is running south from Ethiopia to Zanzibar. Below deck, both his crew and his lover, the fearless warrior Judith Nazet, sleep. As the moon glints through clouds, Hal sights a ship passing close by. Although there is an uneasy truce between the warring English and Dutch, Hal scents danger. When the Bough is boarded, the crew must go hand to hand to defend their ship and their lives. But soon Hal will face even graver danger, as he discovers his mortal enemy still lives and is hell-bent on revenge. he must pursue his nemesis across desert savannah, through the seedy underbelly of Zanzibar’s slave markets and shark-infested waters, imperilling his own life at every turn. But it will take more than a slave’s shackles to hold Hal Courtney…A thrilling blend of extraordinary drama and epic storytelling, Golden Lion sees Wilbur Smith return in triumphant form to the adventures of his beloved and bestselling Courtney family.

Review:

I have thought long and hard about the best way to approach reviewing this book and as usual i have decided to fall back on my usual frank open honest feelings and hope nothing offends.

I’m not a reader of Wilbur Smiths books and im a huge fan of Giles Kristian’s, i have read both authors multiple times so feel i can comment on either style.

The book opens in dramatic style and and roared into action but very soon (for me) i felt that  the book became something very much led and styled by elder statesman of thrillers, Mr Smith  rather than a true collaboration and that was always my concern as i’m not his biggest fan, mainly because i feel a series should not go on  for that many books (14 Courtney books now) and each book should improve on the last, and i think his stopped doing that some time ago.

The difference in writers for me is when Giles Kristian writes a book you can feel and taste the salt spray of the waves, you can smell the brine and the sweat of the sailors, in battle the coppery tang of blood is tangible in the air and it  just wasn’t there, or at least it was there is flashes, but didn’t fill the book in the way i have come to expect and love when reading his work.

Please don’t think its doom and gloom though, there are many of these flashes of Giles Kristian his descriptive slipping into the book, and among some of the more stylized Smith characters there are some real gems for example Aboli and the Amadoda sailors, the young slave saved from the block by General Judith. The Buzzard himself as a broken figure of devilry is a much greater protagonist for not being a master villain, because he is a man driven by hate and pain it makes his desire to gain revenge feel more realistic all of these make the book more than Courtney does. Is this the work of Giles or Wilbur i don’t know  but a writer of Wilbur Smiths Stature and sales doesn’t release and sell this many books by being average so i have to credit the enjoyment i had with the book equally, yet I hope fans of Wilbur Smith also take the time to read Giles Kristian’s own work to see what i mean about his powerful  and emotive writing.

For this book however I wish more time could have been spent on rounding out more of the characters, the main crew of Courtney’s ship for example, too many of the side characters in the book were just cardboard cutouts or as i call them Red Shirts (ala Star Trek) because they have no back story they hold no emotional reaction and thus a death means nothing. Writers who excel at rounding all the characters in a book and creating that true “bloody hell” moment are the like of Giles Kristian, Anthony Riches, Christian Cameron and a few others, but its the extra lines and care they put into cannon fodder that take a book from average to great.

Most of all i felt that this book had more to offer as a duology, there were so many plot lines that if played out to the full would have made for an exceptional tale (i resist naming them for fear of spoilers), and unfortunately fell slightly lacking being crammed into one book. There could have been so much more played out with William Pett also with Mr Tromp IMHO a wasted character, there was so much that could have been done with him.

So the ultimate question… do i recommend it? Yes, because i think every reader should make up his or her own mind, that and the book contains many truly entertaining scenes and some wonderful characters, eg The Buzzard, not a nice character, but one that was so real you could despise him, the twisted nature of Mr Pett and the devious charm of Mr Tromp.  So please read this, make your mind up and come back and voice an opinion on the book i’d love to hear it, i find these collaborations very intriguing and how they land with readers.

(Parm)

Series
Giles Kristian
Series
Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers Fury (2013)
God of Vengeance
1. God of Vengeance (2014)
2. Wings of the Storm (2016)
Wilbur Smith
Courtney
1. When the Lion Feeds (1964)
2. The Sound of Thunder (1966)
aka The Roar of Thunder
3. A Sparrow Falls (1977)
The Courtneys: When the Lion Feeds / The Sound of Thunder / A Sparrow Falls (omnibus) (1987)
Ballantyne
1. A Falcon Flies (1980)
aka Flight of the Falcon
2. Men of Men (1981)
3. The Angels Weep (1982)
4. The Leopard Hunts in Darkness (1984)
Courtney 2
1. The Burning Shore (1985)
2. Power of the Sword (1986)
3. Rage (1987)
4. Golden Fox (1990)
5. A Time to Die (1989)
Ancient Egyptian
1. River God (1993)
2. The Seventh Scroll (1995)
3. Warlock (2001)
4. The Quest (2007)
5. Desert God (2014)

Courtney 3
1. Birds of Prey (1997)
2. Monsoon (1999)
3. The Blue Horizon (2003)
4. The Triumph of the Sun (2005)
5. Assegai (2009)
6. Golden Lion (2015) (with Giles Kristian)

Hector Cross
1. Those in Peril (2011)
2. Vicious Circle (2013)
Novels
The Dark of the Sun (1965)
Shout At the Devil (1968)
Gold Mine (1970)
aka Gold
The Diamond Hunters (1971)
The Sunbird (1972)
Eagle in the Sky (1974)
The Eye of the Tiger (1975)
Cry Wolf (1976)
Hungry As the Sea (1978)
Wild Justice (1979)
aka The Delta Decision
Elephant Song (1991)Full Fathom Five (2016)
Predator (2016)


Omnibus
The Eye of the Tiger / Hungry as the Sea (2005)
River God / Warlock (2006)
Sunbird / Wild Justice (2006)
Wilbur’s Smashing Thrillers (2013)
Collections
Selected Works (1983)
Non fiction
Wilbur Smith: The Early Years Collection (2013)

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Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction, Uncategorized, Wilbur Smith

Giles Kristian: The Terror (Review)

About the author:

DSC06030

Family history (he is half Norwegian) and his storytelling hero, Bernard Cornwell, inspired Giles Kristian to write his first historical novels, the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War.The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury follow the fortunes of a divided family against the complex and brutal backcloth of the conflict that tore this country apart and ended with the killing of a king. In his new novel – God of Vengeance – Giles returns to the world of the Vikings to tell of the origins of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship.

Giles lives in Leicestershire. To find out more, visit http://www.gileskristian.com

“I loved this. It’s for people who like their historical fiction high-octane . . .a superb, brutal story that pulls no punches” (ROBERT FABBRI)

 

The Terror:

terror

BUY THE BOOK  only 99p

An exclusive straight to digital short story which also includes the first chapter of Giles Kristian’s God of Vengeance

AD768, Avaldsnes, Norway

Jarl Harald’s mead hall thrums with life. His people have gathered to feast on meat and mead and listen to the old tales. But the village skald, with all his talk of heroes and kings, will have to wait his turn. It is Harald himself who will hold them all spellbound this night. For the jarl has his own story to tell: a tale of adventure and courage. Of honour and of how friendship can be forged in fire and quenched in blood.

It is a story of love, too.

And of The Terror.

Praise for Giles Kristian’s most recent novel, GOD OF VENGEANCE:

“Action-packed storytelling which stirs the blood and thrills the soul” (WILBUR SMITH)

“Unrelenting pace, brilliant action and characters. A masterwork.” (CONN IGGULDEN)

“A glorious, bloody, perfect Viking saga, rich with the poetry of the skald, ripe with blood and glory, vengeance and heartbreak. The characters stride from the page, alive, hungry, real . . . this is Viking writing at its very best” (MANDA SCOTT)

“This is the best kind of storytelling – a saga full of blood and thunder that grabs you and doesn’t let go until long after the final page is turned” (STEVEN PRESSFIELD)

Review

The Terror is a short story set in Giles Kristians fantastic retelling of 8th Century Norway, following the early exploits of our later (in the series) hero Sigurds, father Harald. A retelling of a tale from his youth, the rush or youthful desire and exuberance to win the ultimate prize, the woman he loves.

Giles is a master storyteller, in my other reivews, EG: God of Vengeance i have waxed lyrical about his skill with words and his deep knowledge and love of history. He is at heart a viking, longing to pull at the oars and stand in the shield wall, but more than that, i feel he would always have been a skáld.

The Terror while slotting nicely into the world of Sigurd and his farther, is a lot lighter than other work by Giles Kristian, and it should be, its a small book, a short story. In that story you need pack in a complete tale, start, middle and end and from what i have seen with short stories this is often harder to achieve than writing a full novel, brevity is also a skill. The beauty of this book is in how its just an everyday tale of young men doing daft things, but in the harsh world of the Norse 8th century, that can lead to deaths and injuries, also there is a real light hearted fun element to the story, bare arsed naked swimming, bits dangling in the chill laden breeze. Giles has fun with this story and yet delivers some more background to his Viking defining series.

I cannot in comparison give this 5 stars, because id be comparing it to GOD of Vengeance which deserves 10 / 5 its that good. but i can give it a good 4/5 and say go buy it. if you’re a fan then enjoy the return to the Norse saga, if you’re new, well use this to dip your toe, and then dive into the series.

Highly recommend

Parm

Watch a trailer for God of Vengeance

Look behind the scenes for God of Vengeance trailer

Series
Raven
1. Blood Eye (2009)
2. Sons of Thunder (2010)
3. Odin’s Wolves (2011)
Blood EyeSons of ThunderOdin's Wolves
Bleeding Land
1. The Bleeding Land (2012)
2. Brothers Fury (2013)
The Bleeding LandBrothers Fury
Novels
God of Vengeance (2014)
Wings of the Storm (2015)
God of Vengeance
Novellas
The Terror (2014)
The Terror

 

1 Comment

Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction

Giles Kristian : Book Trailer…..Watch it here!

Its here…. the vikings have arrived…at least on film

GoV

 

 

Read a review of the books

Go behind the scenes of the film shoot

 

 

5 Comments

Filed under Giles Kristian, Historical Fiction