I had read one of Oden’s works of historical fiction before, so I knew I was in for quality. I bought A Gathering of Ravens when it launched, but got so caught up in other projects I didn’t make time for it until now. If you’re in the same situation, take my advice and don’t wait any longer. This one was on a whole other level from his (already excellent) earlier books.
With lyrical prose and thick, dark atmosphere, Oden conjures a rich tapestry of a world a thousand years gone. While Danes and Saxons and Irishmen compete for land and crowns, in the shadows, the echoes of the fading Old World ring out one final time. Grimnir, the last of the orcneas, embarks on a quest for vengeance against the slayer of his brother.
Those familiar with myths and folklore will find Grimnir’s tale a feast of references and allusions, from the identity of Grimnir’s target, to the many names the orcneas are known as across various cultures. Oden leans into the historical side of historical fantasy, which, I think, is almost always the right choice as it grounds such works in our own reality. While I suspect some of his references may go over the heads of those less familiar with the source material (or history), that won’t lessen the impact of this compelling tale.
With this one, Oden has cemented his place among my list of must-read authors.