Monday, October 26, 2015

A Brother's Oath (Tales of Hengest and Horsa)

The scorned second son of a nobleman in fifth century Jute-land abandons his youth of wealth and comfort for the life of a sea raider, but he swears a blood oath before Woden that he will return and save his brother’s life as his brother had done for him.  Horsa, the younger brother finds wealth, power and adventure on the stormy northern sea. He also makes powerful enemies. Hengest’s hope of familial bliss is dashed when a powerful king enlists his loyalty, and by code of honor, he must leave his family to accompany the king on his quest to unite the tribes. Unbeknownst to him, Hengest makes a potent enemy as well.

A Brother’s Oath is great tale of swashbuckling in pagan times when monsters of Grendel’s ilk howled at night outside the mead halls.  I’ve been a fan of Hengest and Horsa since they were first introduced to me in Norman Davies’ history of the British Isles, aptly title The Isles.  These two have inspired tales the like of Beowulf and Hamlet.  Chris Thorndycroft has done a fine job of adding some new flesh to their bones in A Brother’s Oath.  It is a fun and easy read written in straightforward, if a touch too modern, prose. Mr. Thorndycroft also gives us a peek at the further adventures of those fifth century funsters with a preview of an upcoming sequel or two.

Price $3.99

87,780 words

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