Review of Wolfsangel – Book 1 of the Wolfsangel Cycle by M.D. Lachlan

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This was another book Himself had plucked off the shelves, lured by the cover scene of a Viking army bristling with sharp pointy weapons and overseen by a snarling wolf. But I flicked through it and thought it looked sufficiently intriguing to give it a go.

wolfsangelAuthun goes on a raiding party with a handful of his best warriors to snatch up a woman and her son as he has had a vision that tells him this child is vital to his continued rule. It isn’t until he captures her, he realises that she has twin boys…

And no – that isn’t the blurb. There isn’t any. This Fantasy epic is about what happens to the Vikings caught up in the power struggle between their pantheon of gods. The driving point of the narrative follows the fortunes of those two boys, Vali and Feileg, which takes the story to some very dark places – both literally and figuratively. The writing has a power and fluency that marks it well above the average gorefest, but the action is frequent and bloody. The book is set at a time when to die in battle was considered a desirable and honourable way to go – and women and children were given little quarter in many of the encounters. I mention this because blood-drenched action generally doesn’t do it for me. But this book got right under my skin, with the shifting viewpoint and unpredictable story twists so that I stayed up several nights way later than I’d intended to find out what would happen next. Which was always a surprise… I quickly grew to care for both boys and the girl, Adisla, caught up with their fate.

Lachlan’s depiction of the time is pitch perfect. The food, the weapons and clothing are related in realistic detail, giving the backdrop a vividness and quality that bounced off the page – and made those episodes, such as when Feileg was running with a wolfpack, or Vali was adrift in the longship, very readable. I really liked Lachlan’s portrayal of the gods and witches, who ruthlessly use their human worshippers as vassals and pawns in their power games. Not that those humans are any more respectful of the sanctity of life – people die shockingly easily in this book, as I suspect they did back in those times.

The story is packed full of incident and adventure – but do be warned, it doesn’t leave everything neatly tied up. The main narrative plotpoint is left waving in the wind at the end of this fairly hefty volume – as it happens, the second book in the series, Fenrir, is available and I’m off to add it to the teetering pile by my bed. Lachlan has drawn me into his cold, Viking world and I really want to know what happens next…
8/10

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5 responses »

      • Lol, well, I can personally vouch for the impact of a good cover. My awful ex-publisher’s slapped a bloody awful cover on my book (which one of the ‘directors’ did herself…ugh) when it was first published back in 2012. Despite the poor cover it sold well, but I had terrible feedback about it and even had customers in Waterstones during my signings saying how awful the cover was and that they were only buying the book because they were intrigued by my spiel! Now, with my awesome new publishers, they commissioned a professional cover artist to create the original and awesome cover and straight away it has caught the eye of the public even though it was only published shortly before Christmas! Good covers really DO entice readers in, it’s so so important. 😀

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