Following in the steps of Neil Gaiman & Joanne Harris, the author expertly weaves Norse myths and compelling characters into this fierce, magical epic fantasy.
A dead man, walking between the worlds, foresees the end of the gods.
A survivor searching for a weapon releases a demon from fiery Muspelheim.
A village is slaughtered by Christians, and revenge must be taken.
The bonds between the gods and Midgard are weakening. It is up to Hilda, Ragnar, their tribesmen Einer and Finn, the chief’s wife Siv and Tyra, her adopted daughter, to fight to save the old ways from dying out, and to save their gods in the process.
I read a paperback copy
This Norse legend inspired debut novel from Thilde Kold Holdt is set mostly in Midgard, in the Northern lands of Jutland.
There are a multitude of main characters, with each chapter switching to the point of view of one of them.
Hilda’s father dies at the beginning of the story, when we are still getting to know the characters and over several chapters interwoven throughout the main story we follow his journey through the Darkness towards Helheim.
The main story arc begins with a surprise attack from the Christians of the south on the northern village of Ash-Hill , a catalyst for a number of events concerning Hilda, Tyra and Siv – sole survivors of the battle and true heroes in every sense of the word. Tyra and Siv are together, but are unaware of Hilda’s survival as she follows her own quest, led by the voices of the wind, the Runes.
The warriors were away raiding during the battle and return to find everyone dead, with the village burned and destroyed. They decide to wreak revenge on the southerners and try to collect supporters for their cause, but find many of their expected allies have turned against them.
The quality of writing is really striking for a debut novel, with exciting battles and interesting, well described characters, including giants, gods and dwarfs. Each of the main characters has a gripping story arc and the chapters are relatively short, which keeps you reading. I found the wonderful, strong female characters of Siv and Hilda the most intriguing and impressive. I loved the strong feminist elements running through this story: ‘“How did you survive?” Svend asks young Tyra. “I fought next to the bravest person on the battlefield.” “And he saved you?.” She didn’t correct him and tell him – that it was a she, Siv, who had saved her, not a he.’
The wealth of the author’s Norse knowledge is clear from the beginning. I have learnt much about Filjurs, runes, Norse battle tactics and a little mythology from this enjoyable story.
Thilde Kold Holdt is definitely someone to watch, and I am looking forward to the second and third parts of “The Hanged God Trilogy”. Recommended for fans of Norse myths, exciting storytelling and likeable characters with intertwined destinies. The story of the people of Ash-Hill will be enjoyable to anyone who likes a good escapist fantasy, populated with plenty of heroes, battles, moments of poignancy and compelling characterisation. I can’t wait to read the sequel, “Shackled Fates”.
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About The Author
I am a writer of fantasy novels. My first series, the Hanged God Trilogy, centres around Vikings and the Old Norse gods. I’m represented by Jamie Cowen at the Ampersand Agency.
I am a novelist by profession, currently working an epic fantasy series about 7th century Korea. My epic fantasy trilogy about Vikings, the Hanged God, is currently being published. I have lived enough different places that the most difficult question to answer is: “where are you from?” I am, quite simply, from the planet Earth, for I have yet to set foot on Mars. Someday, though…
Contact Thilde Kold Holdt here: