By: Gary Whitta
Illustrated By: Jason Gurley
Publication Date: July 2015
Reviewed By: Kristi Benedict
Review Date: July 15, 2016
In the midst of a gruesome war between the people of England and the brutal Norse from across the sea, King Alfred on the English throne knows that loyal soldiers are essential for victory. One soldier in particular stands out above all others and after coming to the King’s defense and ultimately saving his life, this man named Wulfric becomes one of Alfred’s most trusted friends. Now, many years after the war is over, Alfred is in need of Wulfric’s expert fighting skills once again to fight an extremely different type of enemy.
Being a soldier was something Wulfric never thought of doing. Surprisingly, however, when he joined King Alfred’s army to fight the Norse he found that he was not only good at fighting but had an impeccable instinct for it. It took no time at all for Wulfric’s fighting skills to be known throughout the ranks of the army and his reputation became well known by all. However, still to this day Wulfric saw nothing good or honorable that came out of killing, so since the wars’ end he had been content to work his farm with his young wife who was expecting their first child. The last thing he wanted to see were the king’s guards riding up to his house to request that he come immediately to the palace. Of course Alfred was more than Wulfric’s king, he was his dear friend so with a heavy heart he leaves his wife and farm behind for what he hopes will be a short, uneventful trip.
Of course Alfred did not summon Wulfric for something as simple as a quick visit to just catch up; he explains that their country is under attack from a threat never seen on this Earth. Throughout the castle these beasts have come to be called 'Abominations' and are the result of the darkest, most evil magic that either of these men had ever seen. The magic that brought these abominations to life was discovered by the Archbishop Aethelred who was convinced that this was the key to defeating all of England’s enemies. However, the Archbishop’s thirst for power became more and more apparent and without the King’s awareness he created an army of abominations that are now pillaging through every village they encounter. With the sheer desperation of the situation, Wulfric knows that he cannot deny help to Alfred, but he has to wonder what this war will cost him when he had hoped to never pick up a sword again.
There are not enough positive compliments I can give this book for I absolutely was hooked on every single word from the first page. There were so many amazing, suspenseful moments that I found myself holding my breath, and then gasping when the plot was revealed. It was a book that had me so entranced in the story that I found myself encouraging the characters, feeling sad when they were heartbroken, and smiling when they felt happy and content. It is an amazing experience when a book completely takes you into the world pouring out from those words on the page and author Gary Whitta does an incredible job of accomplishing that.
Quill says: This is a book that reminded me of why I love to read!