Review published on April 4, 2017.
Inspired by Old Norse via sources such as Wagner’s opera and an Oxford lecture by an old ttheologian, Theodore Brun gave up being a solicitor to follow his desire to become a writer. Having studied Dark Age archaeology and anthropology, he has drawn upon much in order to treat us to a very fine historical, fantasy series.
Set in 8th Century Denmark, it begins with Hakan, son of Haldan, chosen son of the Lord of the Northern Jutes, who swears loyalty to his father in fire, in iron and in blood. However, following some treacherous behaviours, Hakan is forced to leave his home and makes an oath to himself never to return.
Having no past and only a future he disregards his born name. He sets a path to seek another known king to pledge his sword and honour to. The path is far from easy, but in this time he matures from an older lad into a strong young man, despite his crippled foot.
There are skirmishes and bloodshed as he meets good and not so good folk. He travels to a land suggested to be plagued by deaths caused not by man. There are many dark shadows and evil said to be lurking in the wilderness. These deaths are gruesome, but can he prove himself a worthy warrior against such unknown foe? For now, he is known simply by the name Erlan.
The story is a journey of self-awakening, initiated by a sense of betrayal, one that is about becoming a man and a warrior. It reflects the strength of will to face unknown danger head on and face prejudice while having a deep-seated belief in his own abilities despite a crippled foot. A new friendship is forged and a new desire to live courses through Erlan’s blood. The climate is hostile and brutal, but the dialogue warm and coloured with engaging humour and bold characters.
There a plenty of solid, bloody battles, witty dialogue and intriguing, power crazed individuals. Easy to read, this book sets the scene nicely for the next instalment and for the adventures to come.
Sara Garland 5/4
A Mighty Dawn by Theodore Brun
Corvus 9781782399940 hbk Mar 2017
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