It’s here, it’s here! Blood of Wolves, the much anticipated conclusion to G. N. Gudgion’s Rune Song Trilogy, was worth the wait. I’m happy to be on the Second Sky blog tour, sharing my thoughts.
Book: Blood of Wolves
Author: G.N. Gudgion
Pub Day: October 27, 2023
About the Book:
In a war between gods, Adelais stands alone.
After bringing down deadly vengeance on church and crown in Galmandie, Adelais escaped to her home in Vriesland. But even here she is surrounded by enemies.
While the common folk worship her, ruthless nobles plot to harness her fame and advance their own ambitions. In the shadows, assassins wait for a chance to strike.
Adelais makes a dangerous journey to the north, seeking to understand the prophecies that swirl around her. At the source of all rune magic, a place as ancient as time, she glimpses the chaos of a coming war.
The armies of Vriesland are on the march—thousands of spearmen and berserkers, inspired by the girl they call the Fate Weaver. But the Galman lords have gathered a vast army of their own, uniting behind a holy relic in the hands of Agnès de Fontenay.
As friends face off across the battlefield, as armored knights smash into shield-walls, as the gods themselves wrestle for power, Adelais must weave the fate of nations before all that she loves is destroyed.
The Rune Song Trilogy reaches its thrilling finale. An unputdownable epic of intrigue, action and Viking magic, Blood of Wolves is perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence, Andrzej Sapkowski, Robin Hobb and Guy Gavriel Kay.
Adelais has returned to her homeland. She longs for a simple life, one where she is free to love and be loved, one where she can be herself, just a woman, and not the supposed savior of her people. But it is not to be. Even in Duke Ragenar’s court, people clamor to see her and hail her as the örlaga vefari, the fate weaver foretold by prophecy. And even in Duke Ragenar’s court, the arm of those who want to kill her reaches out.
The runes cast to foretell Adelais’ possible future speak of betrayal and victory at great cost. She may not want to be the chosen one, but war is coming, and want it or not, Adelais finds herself at the center of it. And so begins a battle not only between opposing countries, but a battle between the old gods of Vriesland the the new god of Ischyros. One side led by the she-wolf in cloth of gold, the other led by a most holy relic shrouded in gold.
As always, G. N. Gudgion does a marvelous job with his characters. Familiar characters appear in the story, with no certainty as to which of them will survive until the end. New characters are added, and Hjalmar, son of the northern lord Jarl Magnus and friend of Adelais, in particular won my heart. Revna, Magnus’ seidkhona, also quickly became a favorite.
Rune magic played a more prominent part in this book, as Gudgion gives us more of the underlying mythology. Magic plays an important role at several key points in the story, and it’s just fascinating to read about. The Nornir, Norse goddesses of fate, play a part in the story, and we again see the she-wolf shadowing Adelais, bound by love and magic. Gudgion does a fantastic job giving us the wolf’s viewpoint, and I found that added a lot to my enjoyment of the story.
And the runes did not lie. We see twists and turns as fate weaves, plots laid and alliances broken. You think you know where something is going, and then bam! It isn’t at all what you think. The politics of religion is again a crucial part of the tale, and the forces of Ischyros heading off to battle call to mind the Knights Templar and the Crusades.
With Blood of Wolves, G. N. Gudgion gives us a thrilling read, a fitting send-off to a tale told well. This is some of the best new fantasy I’ve read, and since I can’t pick just one of them, the entire series will be in the running for my best books of 2023.
Thanks to Second Sky and Netgalley for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the author:
G.N. Gudgion (‘Geoff’) grew up with his nose in a book, often one featuring knights in armour. A later search for stories where women didn’t have to be either beautiful damsels or witches led him to the fantasy genre and the works of Guy Gavriel Kay and Mark Lawrence.
After Geoff gave up a business career to write, it was natural to gravitate to historical fantasy, to stories with complex, conflicted characters that a reader can bleed with, cry for, and perhaps fall in love with. They live in worlds where you can smell the sweat and the sewers, as well as the roses.
Geoff lives in a leafy corner of England, where he’s a keen amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist. He spends much of his time crafting words in a shed, fifty yards and five hundred years from his house.
He is also the author, as Geoffrey Gudgion, of supernatural thrillers Saxon’s Bane (Solaris, 2020) and Draca (Unbound, 2020).