52. 'God's Hammer' by Eric Schumacher: Part II

Monday 27 March 2017

Following on from my Q + A post with Eric Schumacher I am excited to share with you my review of God's Hammer.

I was immediately drawn in and captivated by God’s Hammer, such is the credit due to Eric for his skill in weaving the tale. 

The book begins with young Hakon Haraldsson being taken as a fosterling to king Aethelstan’s court, for safekeeping and to continue his princely training. Hakon is the illegitimate youngest son of Harald Fairhair, the first king of Norway. We follow Hakon’s journey from outsider at Aethelstan’s court, to eventually an outsider in his homeland when he sent back to Norway to stake his claim to the throne after his father’s death. To be successful, Hakon must defeat his older, bloodthirsty brother Erik Bloodaxe, who has already disposed of his other brothers and rival claimants.
What follows is Hakon’s journey and his struggles as he tries to integrate himself back into Norweigan life, with a faith that continuously sets him apart not just in beliefs but in customs and moral judgement. The backdrop and undercurrent theme is of religious strife, warfare and complicated allegiances. Hakon cannot abide the pagan sacrifices his countrymen insist on carrying out for favor with the old Gods, and struggles with the fact that if he imposes his own Christian belief on his countrymen he will lose all support, and his beliefs are tested further upon the discovery of a face from his years at Athelstan’s court, upon which the fate of his uprising hangs in the balance. 

God’s Hammer is superbly written and researched. Eric has painstakingly brought the chaotic times of Viking Norway to life, with care and detail given to each character that you encounter within the pages, however that being said, the book is not overly dense in unnecessary description. It was a rapid, unsteady time where nothing was certain and I feel that the flow of the book appropriately reflected this. Eric doesn’t drag out Hakon’s journey because he doesn’t need to, which also leaves it nicely for a sequel which he tells me is in the works even now. I was pleased to be told such as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to Hakon just yet. 

Rating: 5/5

Find Eric:
Twitter: @DarkAgeScribe

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