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Anvil of God: Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles Hardcover – July 26, 2013
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J. Boyce Gleason's stellar debut novel is meticulously researched, vividly imagined, and literally unputdownable: as good as anything written by literary giants such as Ken Follett, Bernard Cornwell, Philippa Gregory, and Stephen R. Lawhead.
A "must-read" for anyone who enjoys historical fiction. A rich and evocative writing style, profound character development, relentless pacing, powerful themes, and stunning cover art make this a reading experience that fans of historical fiction will not soon forget. A towering, breathtaking work of fiction.
ForeWord Reviews (Clarion Review)
Anvil of God moves at a swift pace, accentuated by its engaging characters and tension-filled plot. The cliffhanger at the end will have fans waiting impatiently for the next in the series. -- Aimee Jodoin
Historical Novel Society
Gleason's utterly confident novel is the first in a projected series about the 8th century Carolingian dynasty. Gleason's grasp of (his) characters is nothing short of marvelous; Anvil of God is full of fascinating characters, including the various prelates and military men who run Charles' kingdom and most especially Charles' wife Sunnichild, secret follower of old religions and behind-the-scenes power-broker. Gleason's dialogue is sharp throughout, and the book's obviously vast research is smoothly worked into the narrative. Highly recommended
From the Back Cover
"YOU HAVE MORE POWER THAN YOU KNOW," Sunni said. "When you are ready to harness that power, come to me. But you must promise me that you will speak of this to no one. Not your father. Not Boniface. Not Carloman or Pippin. They are men and do not understand our bodies or our needs. Helping you will put me in grave danger. But, I can see that your need is great, so I am willing."
"I can't take your advice," Trudi said. "But I came to you in confidence, so I will leave you in confidence."
Sunni walked Trudi to the door, hugged her and kissed both her cheeks.
"Consider who has been teaching you and ask yourself whose interest they are trying to protect. If you decide you want my help, come see me."
Trudi left more disturbed than when she had arrived.
Two days later, Trudi rounded a corner to find herself directly in front of Ansel. Her heart leapt at the sight of him. Her face blushed deeply as she took a tentative step toward him. "Ansel." She reached out her hand to touch his chest.
Ansel's face twisted into a grimace. "Temptress!" His eyes seemed to push out of his head. "Stay away from me! I must have nothing to do with you. Hear me, she-devil? Nothing!"
That night, she returned to Sunni's chambers, pausing again on the threshold. Sunni invited her in and closed the door behind her. "How can I help you?" Sunni asked.
"Tell me about power."
Top customer reviews
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So, once the three brothers fall into a stalemate - Gripho inside a fortified city, Carloman without while Pippin tries to broker peace between them - the story focuses entirely toward the sister. And Gripho is uncontrollable, even by his own mother, so that kind of put me off as well.
Charlemagne has interested me for a long time. This book is about his ancestry which is a good starting point to learn about Charlemagne and French history, would you not say? The story takes place in the eighth century when religions, sects, cults, and land boundaries were in flux in Europe. The land areas included present day parts of Germany, Italy and France. Charles Martel left sound and clear instructions as to how the land should be devided upon his death. His wishes did not go according to plan without a war. Carloman, Charles' eldest son, was portrayed as a religious fanatic, but the degree of fanaticism is debatable. Sunni, Charles' second wife, was pagan and introduced her step daughter, Trudi, into pagan rituals. Again, the author may have taken literary license. Pippin, Charles' second son whose name has several spellings, was my favorite character. That is the truth. There is one scene some might find funny and others find filler. A man of the cloth was having anal intercourse with a young boy when another man of the cloth walked in upon the action to deliver a message to the first man of the cloth. Neither man was deterred in his purpose. For my tastes, the author wrote about sex too often regardless of the truth of the matter or the party or parties involved. (Yes, I did say party.) Other than some unnecessary and distasteful passages that affected me and a fourth star, I liked the book. In the Author's Notes, the author did state that the book was a work of fiction and apologized for any offense a reader might take. I think the book is an important work of historical fiction. It is filled with accurate history, but the kind of filler the author employed was unjustified.
Thank you, Mr. Gleason, for a good read.