- File Size: 10552 KB
- Print Length: 381 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: March 1, 2013
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B00GSDYVXA
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #90,914 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$15.50|
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Sorrow Hill (Sword of Woden Book 1) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 381 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Mr May has taken that scant framework and written an exciting and entertaining “how it might have happened” novel. He answers some of the questions the old sources leave open: Was the fratricide a tragic accident or something more sinister? Was Unferth a valued part of Hrothgar’s retinue, protecting his lord’s interests, or merely a quarrelsome man? What really happened in that swimming match with Breca? Mr May chooses answers to these questions in a way that makes for a coherent history.
For the most part the action is firmly rooted in the natural world. Beowulf does not have superhuman powers, and his world is not teeming with sea monsters and trolls. The divine does make an appearance from time to time; the god Woden is present in the background and there are characters who are able to see further into the future than most men. But this is not a fantasy world where people have daily chats with the gods and random acts of magic are commonplace. It is largely the historical world, with a few characters who are a bit larger than life, where people believed in the old gods and held them in awe.
I am a fan of the original Beowulf, and was delighted to see how well the author has done his homework, and written a really engaging novel of the Migration Period.
Years will pass and Beowulf would go to his uncle Hygelac to be fostered, as befitted for a Earldormen's son. There he will learn the arts of war, both sword and spear and most important, how to lead. As he succeeds, he will become a warrior and will have to test his abilities and wits on the battle that will be known as Sorrow Hill.
*****COMMENTARY MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS*****
This time, Beowulf's story is revisited by the hand of C.R. May unfolding a interesting and approachable plot on one of the most important legend on Germanic History.
We assist to a novel that tells about the coming of age of Beowulf in a plot that has action, intrigue, drama and suspense. The story is very straight forward and similar of best sellers on historical fiction. What really made the difference were the characters and the setting. Those were the page turning facts for me.
Beowulf is boy that feels real, more real than the 3182 lines of Old English manuscript. He has the traits of an archetypal hero (plus/minus some other things) , but I was surprised to found his childhood and coming to age so wonderful, vivid and detailed, without being tedious and heavy. I totally enjoyed reading about him. What is different this time? He is brave, bold and powerful as always, but C.R. May made him Smart. Beowulf thinks! It's not about brute force, it's about battle tactics, politics and about society (kind of medieval social networking). On this story, he rests more in the force of his brain than the force of the muscle. He is also taught about remembering names, recruiting loyal hearth-troops, rewarding people and acknowledging the most important thing: an Earldorman or King depends on his people.
The cast also is composed by two characters that I liked so much: Father and Son, Hygelac and Heardred. What I like about them is they often provide support for Beowulf in becoming more fitted to some situations. Both are also the equilibrium that Beowulf lacks and they're important in his early life. In the special case of Heardred, we found a honorable sidekick that is balancing Beowulf's inexperience and eagerness.
The rest of the cast performs well and even enemies such as Ohthere and Onela, and rivals as Brecca and Hythcyn are portrayed in a great way. They also behave with honor and grace.
Another major point is the setting. We assist to a clash of warring tribes struggling for land, riches and glory meanwhile there some intrigue in the politics. Geatland is well described and comes alive in a time that is not so clear for History yet. Descriptions about sailing, feasting and day-to-day life are told in great and consistent way.
The Historical note is also key. It was written in a very familiar approach and I enjoy it as well. The author describes his licenses and some real facts in easy to read account. I personally agree with the liberties that he took.
This book has only one flaw, battles. Those are a bit confusing. I got lost during the battle's sequences and had to reread them again to found what happened. I suggested to read them in very calm way and slowly. To be fair, it may be my language barrier but I didn't have that problem in others historical fiction books.
Kindle edition is very good and stable on Ipad. On oldest phones, it is also stable but the map shrinks a bit (by the way, I liked the map very much. It has a sense of handmade that i loved).
Bottom line: this book is a solid retelling about Beowulf's early life described in a consistent, detailed and engaging way without being tedious. Beowulf is portrayed as a man of both brain and muscle, being the smartest interpretation that I have read so far. I suggest to both fans of the legend and newcomers to read this book, especially if you have seen the animated movie. This book really do justice to this Hero and in my opinion, it is the same level such as Cornwell, Kristian, Donald, Severin, Scarrow and many more. I Was totally gripped and will continue to Wraecca!