Mini Review – The Fire of the Fallen

Hello, everyone! Today I have another mini review for you all! The Fire of the Fallen is a book I received from the author before its release back in November. I never got around to reading it before it got published. So, I bought a paperback copy because I felt bad about not getting around to it sooner, especially since I loved the first book in this series so much. As you can see, I finally read it, and I really enjoyed it. If you’d like to see what I thought about the first book of this series, you can find that review here!

The cruel blade of fate takes the bravest hearts first. New heroes will be forged in the fire of the fallen.
The second volume In J. C. Duncan’s breakout Norse saga series
Alternate history – 1117 AD. The first Crusade has torn its way through Denmark, bringing fire and the sword to all who refuse to submit to the soldiers of Christendom. The lords of the west stand astride the ruins of Jutland and turn their eyes eastward across the cold sea, to the homeland of the Aesir themselves.

Ordulf faces the consequences of capture by a Norse warband. Taken to their capital in slavery, he now serves the enemies of the cross, making the very weapons they carry against his people. He faces a terrible choice; to accept his fate, or be destroyed by it.

Reeling from the loss of three kings and a kingdom, the Norse gather in the home of their gods to choose a new ruler and prepare to meet the coming storm. The great host of the crusade will march again, and the people of the North will meet them with steel and shields and the death cries of their heroes.

If you enjoy reading about the Vikings, this is definitely a series you don’t want to miss. The author does a fantastic job of bringing their culture to life through multiple points of view. Ordulf’s story continued here with him enslaved by Jarl Ragnvald, which provided a unique window into life within the lowest rungs of the Viking society. His journey in this book was one of accepting his circumstances and his place within them without losing his own sense of self. It was compelling to watch his struggle finding the balance of belonging to his new group versus doing what was in his own self-interest. He made some choices that shocked me, and I couldn’t help feeling a bit heartbroken for him when things didn’t go the way he expected. Ragnvald’s POV allowed for the continued exploration of Viking politics and what it means to be an honorable Viking warrior. The Christian viewpoints in this book were just as interesting, though. The political maneuvering between the church, French, and Holy Roman Empire in this book was absolutely brilliant to read, and I loved the addition of Bishop Reinhard. He is probably my favorite character in this series now because of his ruthless political acumen and uncanny ability to read and manipulate others to get what he wants. The fights in the book were brutal, and the author made me squirm in my seat with his vivid descriptions of the violence. I also really enjoyed reading all the battle strategies from both sides of the fighting. It made me feel like I was in the planning room before the battle and, then later, in the midst of the fighting. Despite all the great things about the book, the thing I found most interesting was the incorporation of true historical figures and seeing how they might have reacted if history had taken a different turn. While reading, the book felt well-researched and authentic, and I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what happens next. Therefore, it easily gets 4 out of 5 stars from me.

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