Friday, 9 September 2016

Rob reviews Gods of War by C R May

Gods of War King's Bane Book 2

The author has generously offered a signed copy for the draw. To enter please comment here or on our Facebook page

…Before him the sacrificial stone was slick with gore and rough hands gripped his shoulders, forcing him to his knees in the slime. Up close the English guda looked even more terrifying than they had in the distance. One in particular, tall and slim beneath a circlet of stag horns, his hide clad body a mass of runic charms, stood to one side, his face a mask of undisguised joy.

In Gods of War we catch up with Eorle Eofer and his hearth troop who we became acquainted with in Book 1. When last we spent time in their company the Engles had decided to leave old Engeln for the new lands in Anglia (Britannia), but first honour demands that age old scores are settled in a year of Fire and Steel.

With the threat posed by the Jutes to the north eliminated, an invasion of Danish lands is planned to keep the implacable Danes from interrupting the migration of the Engles. Step forward the fame-bright Eofer, Slayer of the king of Sweden and burner of Heorot, charged by his king to raid the eastern shore of the Danes’ territory to draw off Danish warriors who might counter the English invasion in the west.

Loved by Woden, Eofer may be, but it must be remembered that the All-Father is fickle and has unpleasant surprises up his sleeve for all; whether they are foreign kings, or a favoured Eorle and his loyal hearth troop. After all - Wyrd bið ful aræd – Fate remains wholly inexorable. 


In Gods of war the wordsmith author delivers, bringing the heroic world of Dark Age Northern Europe to life in his own savage and glorious style; combining incredibly  well researched archaeology and sources with the mythic fantastical to forge a masterpiece of historical fiction. You will be led into Eofer’s world, your own sense of disbelief suspended, where the gods are all too real and life can be short and brutal. Be warned,will need to leave your C21st sense of morality behind for this is a different world where gods demand sacrifice and nations vie with one another in a near constant cycle of raiding and war. You must retain your honour, for honour can offer reward from friend or foe alike.

This a tale of the English, but the English before the land we now call England came to be. A tale set in a cultural tap root from which the Anglosphere grew, itself a branch of what we would now call the Viking world, but once it was our world too; our Midgard, set in the limbs of the World Ash between Hel and Valhall.

The author paints some amazing scenes as he dips into his word-hoard, whether it’s the desperate urgency of battle or awe inspiring descriptions of pagan horror, such as the awesome but grim scene of the Ghost Army; destined to guard the abandoned old lands of Engeln for all time.

The Ghost Army stood before him, the massed ranks braced and ready for battle. At the crest, beneath the white dragon battle flag of Engeln the Ghost King sat astride his mount, the thin spring sunlight shining dully from polished mail and spear point.

The scene takes you by surprise, but when you realise what, or rather who, the Ghost Army is, it horrifies and astounds in equal measure.

Dancing warriors from the Sutton Hoo helmet

The author has modernised many old English words, so the reader soon begins to understand this form of old English and the urge to look at the glossary of terms is soon forgotten, although you will find yourself looking back at the map, which is no bad thing, as it’s a wonderful piece of work in itself.

The King’s Bane series has much scope to extend into the future as the English settle on the shores of Anglia. We know Eofer and his like will not simply be gifted lands to call their own, they will need to fight a fierce enemy for them. Indeed one such enemy is revealed as one whom Eofer once trusted, a thorn that will return to worry Eofer and his hearth troop in the future, no doubt.

Mr May’s work is easily on a par with  authors such as Cornwell and Kristian, who write in a similar literally field, and I sincerely hope he enjoys equal success. His wyrd deserves it; this book deserves it. So I would urge you to embark upon reading this series of books before everybody else does!

So take your place on the oarbenchs of the Hwælspere and brave the mountainous seas and  vicious swords of your enemies with Eofer. I can assure you, that you won’t be disappointed; its stunning, its epic, its just bloody glorious!

C.R. May was born in Bow, East London before his family moved to South Ockendon, Essex. After hearing that Ockendon translated as Wocca's Hill in Saxon, a lifelong passion in history was kindled, which has taken him from Berlin to the site of the battle of Little Big Horn (via Erik the Red's Icelandic hall!). The influx of Germanic adventurers was recorded in the place names around him and, inspired one day, he decided to weave his own stories into this history. You can read and discover more information at his blog and the author may be found at Facebook

Rob Bayliss is a reviewer at The Review and is currently writing his own fantasy series. Information on his writing projects can be found at Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow.


  1. Pick me please! I'd love a copy of this. Great review!

  2. I'm becoming hooked into books like these. Great review Rob, I'd love to win a copy...

  3. I'm becoming hooked into books like these. Great review Rob, I'd love to win a copy...

  4. To be compared with two greats is quite the compliment. I'd very much be interested in reading this. As a historian who specialises in this kind of history I'm enamoured by how many stories are being written about it lately.

  5. Sounds like my type of book. Great review

  6. Sounds good -- please add me for the drawing.

  7. Great review, I'd love to win a copy :)

  8. Sounds like a little cracker! Deal me in!