Science fiction and fantasy
by M. D. Lachlan
The story begins with Authun, a ruthless king who sets out to steal a child in order to fulfil a prophecy told to him by the mountain witches, and thus to protect his people for the future. But the price is high, the witches are untrustworthy and not necessarily sane, and Authun returns with one more child than he set out to take.
The lives of the twin boys take very different paths. Prince Vali is destined to be Authun's heir. Vali is in love with Adisla, a commoner, although his feelings for her tend to distract him from his studies of war and state. He's not a typical hero. He feels out of place on his first war raid, amongst a boat full of battle-thirsty berserkers.
Meanwhile Vali's brother Feileg is raised in the company of wolves, growing up to become a feral savage. He doesn't talk, but he can rip people apart with just his teeth. It's a bad enough existence, but when witches and sorcerers get involved with the brothers' lives things get much worse for them.
Vali is living with his adoptive people, the Rygir, when they are attacked and things go badly. He is cast out and accused of murder, and his beloved Adisla is earmarked for sacrifice.
Vali sets off to try to avert his fate and save Adisla, but he's fighting against fate and the gods, caught in the crossfire in a battle between witches and sorcerers. How can he win when everyone else is trying to manipulate him? The odds are already against him when the wolfsangel, the werewolf rune associated with Loki's son Fenrir, comes into play.
Wolfsangel brings the Norse legends to life brilliantly with its great atmosphere, particularly when it comes to the battle scenes. The author has taken magic back to its dark, primal roots and in the process has recaptured the weird qualities that make it genuinely terrifying. The ending comes with satisfying twists that may leave you marvelling at the story's cleverness, whilst berserk war cries echo in the back of your mind. Brutally good.
1st November 2010
If you like this, try:The Gospel Of Loki by Joanne M. Harris
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