Osric has always been an outsider in Abbotsend. He was found with no memory of who he was or where he came from. The locals fear him because of the blood spot in his eye, but Ealhstan, the mute carpenter, took him in as his apprentice. When the Norsemen arrived, Osric believed they were only interested in trade, but he was wrong. Abbotsend is burned to the ground and Osric, along with Ealhstan, is taken by the pagans, forced to travel with them on their exploits. Oddly, Osric finds he can understand their strange, foreign tongue. What's more, they revere Osric's mark, claiming he's been sent by Odin himself.
This first in Giles Kristian's Raven trilogy is historical action/adventure akin to the sagas of Bernard Cornwell and Conn Iggulden (and yes, I picked those authors from my own reading experience before discovering that that they were mentioned in the back of the book -- *reading coincidences*). Kristian twists actual history to fit his tale, making the story both believable and interesting.
Set in ninth century Britain, the story is set around the first arrival of the Vikings (Norsemen). Some of the characters who appear within the story are based in fact -- Kings Coenwulf and Egbert, for example -- though much of the tale is pure fiction based more on the idea of the events of the time. The author's Q&A in the back of the book is a nice afterward for the piece and gives great background for the story and his approach to the trilogy.
Blood Eye was originally released in hardcover in 2009 in the UK. Now, all three titles in the trilogy are being released here in the states. Book two, Sons of Thunder, is due out September 25 and book three, Odin's Wolves, is set to hit shelves October 30.
I'll say that it's been ages since I've read Cornwell or Iggulden so I was super excited to delve into Kristian's work. I was not let down. The narrative's pacing is quick and the story is thrilling. It's the kind of book that I'd like to see adapted for the big screen as well -- an action packed historical saga with lots of burly men and bloody action scenes! I can't help it -- the book trailer is so well made that I'd like to see more!
If you're interested, here's a quick short that goes along with the series.
For more stops on the tour, visit the official TLC tour page here. For more on Giles Kristian and his work, visit his official site here. You can also like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter.
And now for the giveaway! I have one copy to give away courtesy of the publisher (US/Canada only). To enter, leave me a comment here before midnight September 30. Please include an email where I can reach you if you win. I'll draw a winner on Monday, October 1.