Raven and his comrades in the Fellowship return in the final part of Giles Kristian’s Norse trilogy. In Odin’s Wolves, this strange collection of Norsemen, Englishmen, Danes, a woman and a monk ride the wide sea road from the desolate marshes of the Carmargue to the bloody arena of a diseased and decayed Rome in their continued quest for glory and wealth. There, in the Eternal City, this Wolfpack undertakes to restore an emperor to the Byzantine throne. Finally it is Constantinople, which they call Miklagard, where the Wolfpack will face their greatest test as they attempt to win through against the might of the world’s greatest city? Will the battered remnants of the Fellowship survive or will it be their last shieldwall?
As in the previous books, Kristian’s use of use of period language is particularly skilful, his salty Norse vocabulary, ‘wyrd-cursed nithing’ for example, used judiciously. The descriptions of the twin metropolises of Rome and Miklagard are also excellent and the action scenes, using every variation of sound, smell and taste possible, sing like a true Norse saga.
But it is when the pace slackens that Kristian shines. The quieter scenes as the Fellowship drink together around the campfire are superb, and the characterisation of Raven and his comrades is vibrant and superbly rendered, right through from their leader Sigurd to his comrades like Red Svein and Bram Bear.
While Odin’s Wolves is the end of this trilogy, hopefully it is not the last time Raven and his comrades take the wide sea road together. A terrific read and highly recommended.