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A Sacred Storm

A Sacred Storm

Theodore Brun
ARRSE Rating
2 Mushroom Heads
The author studied Dark Age archaeology in Cambridge. In 2010 he quit his job as an arbitration Lawyer in Hong Kong and cycled the 10,000 miles across Asia and Europe to his Norfolk home. He is descended from a Danish man who settled in England in 1932, the blurb in the book calls him a “third-generation Viking”, which obviously isn't really true, but sounded too good to the publicity department in the publisher for it not to be included.

If you're a fan of the author, or his earlier book “A Mighty Dawn” it might be better off if you stop reading here.

It's swords, sorcery and shield walls in a Scandinavian style. The book comes in at a hefty 700 odd pages, and in a pinch the hardback edition could be used to beat fellow commuters, ticket collectors and noisy chavs into unconsciousness, which would probably be a better use than making yourself read it.

The hero, which unfortunately I couldn't really believe in; a disabled man who turns up as a stranger with a past and quickly rises to be a confidant and trusted right-hand man to a warrior King, had too much unexplained and vaguely hinted at baggage to be a character that is relatable, was two dimensional and flat. The plot moved from place to place and the point of view and narrative character constantly changed, but didn't allow for any fleshing out of each important figure or their place within the plot. There are so many holes in the plot it could be used to strain cooked pasta. In case anyone does want to read it, I'll not reveal any more of the plot.

After toiling through a plot of subterfuge and dynastical ambitions, with attempted assassinations, border raids and regicide the climax was supremely disappointing. It was a torturous read and I cannot in any good conscience recommend it to anyone but hardcore fans of the author. It was even more disappointing to get to the end and find out that the author based it on an old Norse legend and sundry legendary characters, so he didn't even use his own imagination but lifted the characters and events from someone else.

All in all a very disappointing two mushroom heads

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