Book Review and Blog Tour: Runes of Battle (Rune Song Trilogy #2) by G. N. Gudgion

I read and loved Hammer of Fate, the first book in G. N. Gudgion’s Rune Song trilogy. So I jumped at the chance to be on the blog tour for the second in the trilogy, Runes of Battle!

Book: Runes of Battle

Author: G.N. Gudgion

Pub Day: July 13, 2023 

Buy Link(s):

About the Book:

Adelais is on the run.

And the kingdom of Galmandie has never been more dangerous.

In every town square, people whisper of a girl who brought down lightning on her enemies. The king has placed a huge price on Adelais’s head and sent troops to hunt her down.

Adelais flees high into the mountains. But winter is closing in and she cannot hide for ever.

Far to the north, there is a chance of escape. Her homeland has risen in rebellion against Galmandie. To reach freedom and safety, Adelais must cross many miles of hostile territory with inquisitors and royal soldiers always close behind.

If she is captured, Adelais will be burned as a witch. But if she learns to control the storm of magic within her, she could be the spark that sets the whole country aflame.

Packed with intrigue, action and warring gods, The Rune Song Trilogy is perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Mark Lawrence and Andrzej Sapkowski.

My review:

Sometimes the second book in a trilogy will be little more than a transition from a great opening to a thrilling close. Runes of Battle suffers no such fate.

Adelais is on the run. When she thinks she’s alone, no help, no resources, things look bleak. Anakritim are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to capture her, often just a jump or two behind her, and she is far from home.

But hope is not lost. She is able to find shelter at an out-of-the-way hunting lodge that belongs to her friend Agnes, now married to Lord de Fontenay. There she finds rest and training, both in swordcraft and in the rune magic that runs in her veins.

Even though there are parts of the story that are calmer than others, Gudgion writes them in such a way that the tension of potential capture always pulls things along. Adelais is never truly safe, and it is in the moments when she starts to think she can breathe that danger catches up to her.

Ghislain Barthram is his usual driven self, intent on bringing Adelais to his version of justice. Does anyone else envision this guy when they read about Barthram?

Just me? Carry on, then.

Adelais has the opportunity to learn more about her rune magic from Elyse. I’m fascinated by the Norse mythology underlying the story, and I enjoyed reading more about Adelais’ powers and seeing her start to grow into them. II appreciated that the story allowed her time to grow stronger, both physically and magically, before whatever trials she’ll face in the third book.

The book offers food for thought about organized religion and the all-too-human politics that can sometimes be found at work there. We see a lot more interaction between the religious rulers and the secular, and see how they’re working together to go against someone who could actually be blessed by their god, if they’d just stop to see it. It also raises the question of whether a god Adelais doesn’t claim faith in can use her for his own reasons, which is interesting. Goodness knows God used lots of folks who didn’t believe in Him in the Bible.

Trust and betrayal, growth and change, magic and mystery. The book is chock full of them all. What does the rest of the story hold for Adelais? Will she be the lightning that the runes foretold, the fate weaver her country has been looking for? Bring on book three and let’s find out!

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).

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