Set in the latter days of a Norse inspired world, Darkness Forged has a nice sense of setting. With each of the brothers being pulled in a different direction, the reader gets to experience various kingdoms; some ruled justly some, some not; some under attack, some threatening war. The one constant between them is that the land is enshrouded in constant and ever encroaching mists that are said to drive men mad. It makes for evocative and often eerie descriptions whenever the main characters out of whatever small measures of safety they can find.
Similarly, the language is also used to good effect. While straight-forward and generally uncomplicated, what it does do very well is illustrate the dark and brutal nature of this world. And there are sections, such as those with the mists, that really stand out. However, they did feel few and far between.
While the instigating event of the plot is the disappearance of their wives, after the first chapter the three brothers go their separate ways, so that their respective stories weave in and out of the overall narrative. The least amount of time is spent with Slagfid, which leaves him somewhat of a mystery, beyond that he is the eldest and the most confident/arrogant of the three. For the most part, his story is of little impact.
Agilaz fares better and he is painted as the most level-headed and responsible of the trio. Part of that is that he is the only one of the three to be a father and has to take his son with him on his journey. Another is that while all three seek out war and strife by way of finding their wives, Agilaz is the one that seems to as concerned with helping those besieged by attacks as in using them as a means to an end. His is the closest to a traditional hero’s story
But the majority of time is spent with the youngest brother, Volund. In addition to having his story in the present equal the page time of his elders combined, he is the only one to have a degree of back-story given to him. While this isn’t revealed until the reader is already invested, the flashback sequences shed light not only on his character but also colour his actions in the present storyline. This is also by far the grimmest of the three, showcasing both the cruelty that people can be capable of and the lengths they will go to for vengeance, even if it costs them everything.
While the relative darkness of the storyline will not be for everyone, there is a lot to admire about Darkness Forged, certainly enough to recommend trying other works by this author.
7.5 out of 10 wedding rings.