Review: The Serpent King: (The Whale Road Chronicles #4) by Tim Hodkinson


Rating: 10/10

Synopsis

THE FIGHT FOR VENGEANCE HAS NO VICTORS…

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The great warrior, Einar Unnsson, wants revenge. His mother’s assassin has stolen her severed head and Einar is hungry for his blood. Only one thing holds him back. He is a newly sworn in Wolf Coat, and must accompany them on their latest quest.

The Wolf Coats are a band of fearsome bloodthirsty warriors, who roam the seas, killing any enemies who get in their way. Now they’re determined to destroy their biggest enemy, King Eirik, as he attempts to take the throne of Norway.

Yet, for Einar, the urge to return to Iceland is growing every day. Only there, in his homeland, can he avenge his mother and salve his grief. But what Einar doesn’t know is that this is where an old enemy lurks, and his thirst for vengeance equals Einar’s…

Read Tim Hodkinson’s newest epic Viking adventure.

PRAISE FOR TIM HODKINSON:

‘A brilliantly written historical adventure which will appeal to fans of Bernard Cornwell, George R.R. Martin, and especially Theodore Brun‘ HISTORICAL NOVEL ASSOCIATION

‘A gripping action adventure like the sagas of old; and once finished, you just want to go back and read it all over again‘ MELISENDE’S LIBRARY

‘An excellently written page-turner, with a feel for the period which invites you into the era and keeps you there’ HISTORICAL WRITERS ASSOCIATION

Review

This review contains minor spoilers. You read at your own risk.

This is one of the most epic, blockbuster, historical fiction novels I have ever read. A tightly paced story, the well-written characterization made me feel for many, if not, most of the characters. This novel has everything a blockbuster movie would have had: Epic action sequences, visions of the Gods, gore, and sacrifice, love and loss, revenge and chaos, and Viking longships sailing into maelstroms. To summarise, this story is all about Einar, the son of Jarl Thorfinn, who is trying to find his way to kill his father for horrifically murdering his mother through the use of a bastard warrior trained in the dark arts named Vakir.

This world that is full of Celtic Warriors, Gaels, Scots, Irish, Norse warriors is a huge play. Let’s keep it at that. And Einar is traveling with a group of warriors that are well, trying to navigate their way from the murky world of Viking Politics. Ulfrich, the leader of this group, is perhaps one of the cleverest leaders even if he does not command sizeable power now. Was he a Roman, he would have been one of the most competent Generals or even an Emperor. I think a General would suit his position. He’s the type of man you can rely upon in war but beware of his intentions. Ulfrich is more cunning than he’s made out to be, and he’s that hard warrior with a soft-warrior type, whom you’ll soon find, grows an attachment to Einar in more ways than you can imagine. Then there’s Skar, who’s boisterous, loud, and cheery, Affreca, the carefree daughter of one of the Viking Kings of Ireland, proud and strong, resilient and wanting to have an adventure before she eventually settles down. There are a ton more characters in this novel that are excellently written. Oh, and Atli. The guy is Loki reborn, except a much more cruel version of Loki than anything else.

There are intricate plots, stories of heroism and I felt as if I had stepped right back into the past, and saw the story of an epic tale that had been lost to history thousands of years ago. It was a story also, of the villains that live in this world. Thorfinn, that couldn’t give a damn about his sons or family, his prestige and honor being nothing more than the pride of his existence. He runs a powerful system of spies and is wanting to rule most of England, including Ireland. It’s more ironic, that the Kings of Ireland, England, and Norway are all playing a massive game here. The Viking world was true, in the sense, a grim-dark world. I know we use the term in fantasy books, but the Viking religion itself is truly fascinating. I discovered more elements of Ancient Britonnic Mythology, Irish Mythology, all rolled into one. Were this novel to be more super-natural in one sense, everything would make so much sense. Bascially, this story is a game of wits being played by none other than Odin himself. It is said that Odin keeps the jarls and Kings fighting so that he can have enough warriors to face at the end of Ragnarok. Sowing chaos. Sowing misdeed. Sowing hate. I truly enjoyed every aspect of this novel, and Tim here made so many good ideas: each aspect of the mythology fits exactly well with the writing. Each aspect of the mythology does not feel like an info-dump or too much heavy worldbuilding. It is nice, precise, and well put in. The prose is wonderful.

This novel has so much in it, you would be amazed at what happens here. I thoroughly recommend this. 10/10.

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