Caitlin Moran and the last of the Vikings

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Last week Caitlin Moran wrote in the Alpha Mummy blog in The Times – timesonline.typepad.com/alphamummy/ – that when she was a child and finished a particularly good book she would cry. Now I don’t normally read the Alpha Mummy blog, it’s not really my sort of thing, bit too mimsy-mumsy for me, but I’ll read anything, I mean absolutely anything, by Caitlin Moran – she could be making random letters in the snow for her kids with the water from a hot kettle, and I’d want to read them – and I know exactly what she means about the sadness you feel when you finish a really good book.

There ought to be a posh word for it: post-textual tristesse (PTT) or something. Let’s go with that. Anyway, I now have a bad case of PTT after reading the fourth and last book in Robert Low’s peerless Oathsworn series: The Prow Beast. I was very privileged to be sent an advance copy of the book, which is coming out in hardback in March. And I would urge anyone who likes a good bloody saga to buy it as soon as it is available. (Actually, if you don’t know Robert Low’s superb work already, you should probably start with The Whale Road, the first of the Oathsworn books – go to www.robert-low.com/ for more information)

The Prow Beast is the final book in a quartet of epic novels about a band of Viking raiders known as the Oathsworn, led by Orm Bear Slayer, the narrator and hero: they are wintry, tough, big-hearted novels written in the most exquisite, lyrical prose, the language as sharp as a Dane axe and just as weighty and well-balanced. The tenth century Viking world is evoked with wonderful clarity: you can almost taste the salt spray; smell the man-stink of sweat, fear and sodden wool as the Norse oarsmen pull their frail craft into the teeth of a gale. The battle scenes are finely executed – no mere “gore-nography” just a real sense of what it must have been like to stand with your knees shaking, cold steel in your chapped hands, a brother warrior at your shoulder, and look certain death squarely in the eye.

I’ve read all four Oathsworn books and I loved them all – but The Prow Beast is, I think, the best of them all: poignant, muscular, magical and impossible to put down. Hell, that’s enough from me – just buy a copy, read it and see for yourself.

5 responses to “Caitlin Moran and the last of the Vikings”

  1. Tod says:

    I agree the Oathsworn series is terrific. Anxiously awaiting the release of “The Prow Beast”. I have actually not read Outlaw yet, but just ordered it and i am looking forward to it. I am curious why it is not available in hardcover. I could only find it in paperback from all of the websites, and it is not available from Amazon US.

  2. AngusD says:

    Hi Tod,
    Thanks for your email and I hope you enjoy Outlaw when it arrives.
    The reason there is no hardcover edition of the book is that it was my first novel (although it has sold well and I’m now working on the third book in the series) and the publishers felt that, as nobody had heard of me at that point, no one would shell out £20 for a hardcover edition. There may well be hardcover editions of future books but it is up to my publishers at Little, Brown.
    As for Amazon.com, I don’t have a US publisher yet – there are some potential deals in progress – and so, for complicated business reasons, the numbers of books released to that online bookseller have been severely limited. Sorry about that. I’m afraid it’s out of my hands. I just do the words – much cleverer people than me do all the business stuff. Anyway, if you like Outlaw, the next book in the series, Holy Warrior, is out (in the UK) in July. But only in paperback!
    Best wishes, Angus

  3. levi says:

    ahh man i cant wait ’til july!
    i guess i’ll just have to read outlaw another few times, which wouldnt be hard as it’s such a fantastic book! and i agree with Tod, after i read the book for the first time i was suprised there wasnt a hardback version.

    levi

  4. AngusD says:

    Thanks Levi for being so kind about Outlaw. I can’t wait for the summer either – mainly because I’m fed up with this bloody miserable weather. The good news is that I’ve just signed a contract to write five Robin Hood books in total so you will be able to enjoy one every summer for the next four years. Best wishes,
    Angus

  5. Mike says:

    OHHH Wow 5?!
    i was expecting 3 at most,
    sooo excited :-)
    thanks for the great book and look forward to the rest

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