Alternate history – 1116 AD. Three hundred years of cruel Viking raids have finally united Christian Europe against the pagan Northlands. A great crusade has been called to pacify the wild Norse kingdoms. The banner of the cross has been raised against the north, and all the power and fury of the west rides under it.
Ordulf, a talented young German swordsmith, is ripped from his comfortable life and cast into the bloody chaos of the crusade. As fate deals him a cruel blow in the lands of his enemies, he will have to forge a new path through the chaos, or be consumed by it.
In the Northlands, three rival kingdoms must unite to survive the onslaught. But can any man, king or commoner, unite the bickering brotherhood of the Norse? Or is the time of the Vikings finally drawing to a violent end. Heroes will fail, kings will fall, and ordinary people will fight for the right to a future.
A Song of Steel is a debut novel that heralds epic fantasy in its rawest form. The story can envelop you like a long lost relative after spending months apart. Every interconnecting aspect of it just feels right. From its brutally accurate characterization and its dramatic historic landscape, it’s the kind of story that leaves you grappling for cognitive cohesion. The immersion and the compulsiveness has you addicted within a few pages. Duncan’s spellbinding narrative took me hostage and posted my ransom…although, truth be told, I didn’t want anyone to pay it!
A Song of Steel is just another book that shows that Indie Fantasy is where its at right now. My kindle only just made it out of the exchange with its life. The twists and turns and sense of adventure had me turning the page with a frenzied vigor. Have you ever picked up a story that just spoke to you? A story that sets your synapses firing. A story that feels like a bit of history in your hand. The story felt like a living and breathing entity, it was real, it was alive and the experience of consuming it is exactly why I began reading in the first place.
As stated, before this is a story that I greedily gobbled up. If you are expecting to read a few chapters at a time, forget about it. This is a story that will demand to be consumed within a few sittings. Trying to do anything other than that will be a futile struggle. Norse fiction. Survival. Brutality. Unbreakable bonds. The prose was outstanding.
We are transported back to the 1100’s, to a world in chaos and dismay, but first we are introduced to modern day characters who come upon some archaeological finds in a river, chainmail and a sword. We are then taken back in time to meet Ordulf, a German swordsmith who is honing his skills. We see an alternate history – we get a glimpse into the raiding and pillaging, oh and battle sequences and violence galore. This is where the story truly came to life, I couldn’t help but imagine it on the big screen, the imagery was exquisite. Every expectation that I had for this glorious tale was exceeded, my brain wanted to explode.
A Song of Steel moves forward seamlessly. The characterization is one of strength and unity. Things lead to a point of crescendo and then it all hits the fan. The narrative is laser precise and constantly hits the target. A Song of Steel feels like an intricate magical spell, it makes you fall deeper and deeper and it more than hit the mark in my favourite sub-genre of historical fiction.