Unknown to Sorin Westfall, a blacksmith in the wilds of Thistledon, millennia of religious doctrine may hearken the end of all things. A subtle presence has infiltrated Godwyn Keep, the center of the Kingdom’s faith, and stolen the ancient Fell Hammer of Aerom. It is an instrument of immense power, able to permanently tip the balance of an agelong struggle between Good and Evil.
The theft of the hammer is only a precursor to war, as civil unrest erupts at the fringes of the Kingdom. The Marcher Lord, intent on seceding from the High King and ignoring the authority of Godwyn Keep, has begun events that cannot be undone, gathering thousands to battle the Kingdom’s armies. In the farthest reaches of the south, the Woman King—after losing her husband to political assassination—gathers her own armies to take advantage of the Kingdom’s unrest and sweep away the forces that occupy her ancestral homeland.
Sorin soon learns he is to play a role more important than any other, one that can either save or damn the Kingdom.
And all the while, Kieren the Black waits for the opportune time to rise out of the shadows and unleash his power to undo the entire world.
Thus begins the quest for the Fell Hammer.
Accompanying Sorin is an aged Knight who has lost his faith in Good, a Giant whose pacifistic upbringing conflicts with his desire to raise arms, and the Shadow whose mysterious intentions are an enigma even to herself. The company makes their way through uncharted wilderness and past nightmarish creatures into the darkest depths of the realm where their fate awaits.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. Song of the Fell Hammer is the debut novel for Shawn Speakman and one I have never seen discussed or reviewed in the SFF community. This novel is a transportation back to the classical fantasy stories I remember reading as a kid but with darker tones. Many of the classical troupes from the genre are here but fleshed out in a new and exciting way that all fans will enjoy. The story is a slow burn and it is not until about the half way point where the larger plot starts to be realized. However, with the amount of worldbuilding and emotion Shawn has written, his characters are fully realized and it became a pleasure to revisit this world time and time again.
There are multiple POV characters that we follow, but the main focus revolves around Sorin. Sorin is Westfall is an apprentice blacksmith to his father in the wilds of Thistledon. He tries to live a quiet life but rumors of an uprising in the south are beginning to stir. His home is attacked by cutthroats and he has no choice but to flee for safety with a mysterious stranger honor bound to care for him. Their travels will lead them to the land of the giants if they can evade the invading warriors and dragons on the horizon.
Far in the west, The Godwyn Keep has been attacked causing the Pontifex and his advisors to scramble. Among all the death and chaos, it is discovered that the legendary Fell Hammer has been stolen and the one believed responsible is Kieren the Black. A once member of the church and the only person who could find the weapon in the fortified keep. This political and military unrest causes the Woman King of the South to start an invasion. At the center of all of this is our main POV Sorin and the destiny he needs to fulfill.
Sorin is a character you can’t help but cheer for even if he sometimes doubts is own strength and skills. With everything Sorin held dear taken away from him, a new journey awaits and it is bigger than he could ever imagine. Song of The Fell Hammer is written with great care and emotion but will keep its secrets close to the chest until it is time for the big revelations. The story takes influence from Christianity and it is used to build the structure of the Godwyn keep. The scripture is changed up in unique ways to keep the story fresh but the building blocks are there. A political scheming story with grand implications for the kingdoms and the lives that occupy it. The fights will have grit, danger, and are never considered an afterthought. This is my kind of story through and through!
With all of this praise I have for this book, there is a drawback. Song of The Fell Hammer is clearly the first book in a series and the sequel will not be released in the near future. However, I have gotten confirmation from Shawn that a sequel will be written in order to give the story the closure and ending it deserves. I know some readers will only read completed series, so lets hope the next book is not on the backburner for too long. I always believe that great stories can be found in many different area’s and this is one of them. A story with so much heart and potential that many readers will find Sorin a delight to follow on his journey.