Orm Ruriksson, Rurik, Einar
The Whale Road is the first book in Robert Low’s Oathsworn series and is based in the 10th Century Scandinavia. The story follows the life of Orm ‘The Bear Slayer’ as he is reclaimed by his father and taken as one of the Oathsworn, a band of men sworn to each other by an oath to Odin. Orm’s life changes dramatically as the Oathsworn uncover a secret that is fit for one of the greatest Norse sagas. They uncover the secret location of the burial ground of Attila the Hun, rumoured to be surrounded by a mountain of silver! However they are not the only people to know of the treasure. The King of Denmark and Norway also has men looking for the treasure and the Oathsworn must uncover the clues first to have a chance of beating their rivals and gaining riches beyond their wildest dreams! The Whale Road sees Orm become a man with a fierce reputation as well as uncovering secrets from his own past about his mother and father.
I decided to read this book as it was suggested as a book to read for anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories. As some of you will know, I am a massive fan of Cornwell and was really interested to read another author who was similar to him. And I wasn’t disappointed, I really enjoyed The Whale Road. It was interesting to read Low’s interpretation of how a Norseman lived and thought. As well as reading about how they did not just raid and counquer Britain, but pretty much raided and conquered most of the known world in the 10th Century! I also thought the idea and myth behind Attila’s treasure was great because it is an idea that is based around historical fact. I like how Low put his own twist onto the myth to make it appealing to the Oathsworn, which made for really great reading in the novel.
But there were some small issues I had with the book. The main amongst these was that many of the names and places in the book have the old Norse names. Normally I like this because it makes the book more realistic. However, Low does seem to switch between the Norse names and the English names quite a lot which I found really confusing. He also uses the same names for different things such as referring to the ‘Great Khan’. It was originally used to describe Attila but then later in the book is used to describe his son which only confused me further!
Apart from this small issue I thought the book was great and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series! I would say I do prefer Cornwell’s books more but I think that is just because I will always place Cornwell higher than any author (Bit biased I know)! Great book, I would suggest it to anyone who has read Cornwell’s Saxon Stories.
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