Sons of Thunder was a brilliant second instalment in the Raven series. Many series I have read have suffered at the hands of the “second book disease”, where the quality plummets. But not this!
“Have you ever sailed in a longship? Not a stubby, robust knörr laden with trade goods and wallowing like a packhorse across the sea, but a sleek, deathly quick, terror-stirring thing – a dragon ship.”
Sons of Thunder is the second instalment in the Raven historical series by the magnificent Giles Kristian, following a Viking brotherhood that battle with the consistent brutality life throws at them. This follows on soon after the wrapping up of the previous novel. The role of Raven as a narrator in the present time becomes a firmer role, which made this overall a tenser read than the reminiscent nature of a portion of its predecessor. This book was full of goosebumps worthy scenes and brilliant moments.
Kristian’s prose is the same as usual, I’ve learnt to expect it now. Easy, accessible, rich with Norse goodness, and fluid. So easy to listen to on audiobook. Each time I snatch a moment or two, I’m instantly immersed back into this world of sea-faring and warrior exploits.
The Sons of Thunder wondered away from the blusterous British isles, turning towards France and the growing empire of Charlemagne and his Frankish warriors. The new land was presented wonderfully, with a wide array of locations. From the disgusting town of Paris, (far prior to its flourishing days. Definitely not the city of love), to the turmoil of the sea and navigation of a Norse longboat.
“It's difficult to hate a broken man, no matter the previous misdeeds.”
One key standout moment I have to mention is the holmganga. Which means, duel. Sons of Thunder contained one of my favourite duels I have ever read! It was brutal, mesmerising and enchanting! I won’t go further into detail for fear of spoilers….
The cast of characters has increased slightly, but it was mostly spent cementing and expanding those introduced in Blood Eye. Kristian creates a wide diversity of characters each with different unique traits that define them. A wonderful band of warriors!
Overall, Sons of Thunder was everything that I wanted it to be! Brutal, immersive, unique, epic! What more can you ask for? Much as I said in my review of Blood Eye, I think you’ll really enjoy this series if you’re into Norse mythology/history or the Dark Ages.