Hammer of Fate by G.N. Gudgion (Reviewed by Lena)

 Book Review: Hammer of Fate by G.N. Gudgion

Hammer of Fate by G.N. Gudgion
Order Hammer of Fate here

OFFICIAL AUTHOR INFO: G.N. Gudgion (‘Geoff’) grew up with his nose in a book, often one featuring knights in armour. A later search for stories where women didn’t have to be either beautiful damsels or witches led him to the fantasy genre and the works of Guy Gavriel Kay and Mark Lawrence.

After Geoff gave up a business career to write, it was natural to gravitate to historical fantasy, to stories with complex, conflicted characters that a reader can bleed with, cry for, and perhaps fall in love with. They live in worlds where you can smell the sweat and the sewers, as well as the roses.

Geoff lives in a leafy corner of England, where he’s a keen amateur equestrian and a very bad pianist. He spends much of his time crafting words in a shed, fifty yards and five hundred years from his house.

He is also the author, as Geoffrey Gudgion, of supernatural thrillers Saxon’s Bane (Solaris, 2020) and Draca (Unbound, 2020)

“No surrender. No retreat.” With twenty enemy swords at their backs and a broken bridge ahead, the last knights of an outlaw order turn to fight. A young woman with forbidden magic joins their final stand. And as blade meets blade, she starts to sing…

Adelais was raised in the far north, learning stories of the old gods and the skill of weaving runes into magic. Now, she is locked in a convent far from home, forced to kneel to a foreign god.

When inquisitors arrive with plans to torture an innocent man, Adelais cannot stand by. She aids an attack to free the prisoner and joins the raiders as they flee into the night.

Her new companions are the last of the Guardians—once a powerful holy order, now ragged fugitives, hunted almost to extinction.

The knights carry a secret treasure, precious and powerful enough to shape kingdoms. Their pursuers, desperate to possess it, will crush any who stand in their way.

Nowhere is safe—in city or chateau, on the road or in the wilds. And even disguised as a boy, Adelais draws attention wherever she goes. Is she angel or demon, priestess or witch?

Adelais must summon all her courage and all her memories of the old gods’ magic as the noose tightens around her and a thunderous final reckoning approaches.

Discover a thrilling new series, with a rich world and action that will leave you breathless. Hammer of Fate is inspired by Viking magic, medieval combat and the fall of the Templar knights—perfect for fans of Mark Lawrence, Andrzej Sapkowski and Robin Hobb.
Published by Second Sky on June 1st, Hammer of Fate is the first book in The Rune Song trilogy. It has 463 pages and three points of view characters (Adelais, Guy and Malory).

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: Hammer of Fate, the first book of The Rune Song Saga, begins with a very intriguing set up. It has three point of view characters, Adelais, Guy and Mallory.
Adelais is a novice who wants to escape her forced internment; Guy a blacksmith’s apprentice anxiously awaiting news from a priest to be reunited with his father; Mallory is that priest, he’s not a benevolent one though, but one of the Inquisitors in charge of extracting, by any means necessary, the secrets of the Order of the Guardians from Guy’s father.

When the cart carrying Carel de la Tour, Guy’s father, is attacked by a hooded figure and Carel almost killed, Malory has to stop at Adelais’ convent as his health, after suffering torture for months, is rapidly declining. You see, this is the final act of the Inquisition to destroy the Order of the Guardians, claiming it an order of heretics. And they’ve done it for the greed of the King. As Carel was the accountant for the Guardians treasury, they assumed he knows and he would tell them where every valuable is, but he proves hard to break. So, Malory wants to use the son to finally break the father.

When they get to Adelais’ convent and she finds out part of what’s going on, she decides that when she has a chance to help the tortured Guardian escape, she would take it. When the opportunity arrives, she helps a group of the last of the Order of the Guardians rescue Carel. And because she knows Malory would suspect of her involvement in Carel’s escape, she runs with the rescue party. Otherwise, Malory would do anything and everything to her to know Carel’s fate. During their journey, the real reason they’re being pursued comes to light.

I thoroughly enjoyed the story. The characters there’s a perspective of were great characters to follow as it is a wonderful opportunity to know their most private thoughts. Malory’s thoughts in particular were so interesting and contradictory at times.

The world is amazing. Although one of corruption, unfair with the less powerful and so grim, there was hope, love and empathy in the corners.

I’m only a tiny bit disappointed by the fact that the magic was so subtle, especially since the rune song seems such an interesting magic system. I didn’t feel it was magic when it happened, just a bit of a coincidence. I wanted and still want more magic.

I think the predominant religion was very well realized and the inquisitors cruelty, lack of empathy and lust for power inside their own hierarchy was nicely done. There’s little knowledge about the old gods by the end of the book. I expected more but I understand that this is one of the beliefs systems that’s being mostly erased from the land, and replaced.

I really enjoyed the characters, their relationships with each other, romantic or otherwise. Their interactions in general felt very real, genuine and many times, so rough and painful, that it would be really hard not to relate.

The imagery had a cinematic quality to it. The descriptions were amazing. It was like watching a movie unfold.

I enjoyed the overarching plot a lot. The fact that the group doesn’t have it easy, and the stakes are really high, was one of my favorite aspects of the book. The author doesn’t shy away from injuring or killing characters.

CONCLUSION: All in all, this book is a great first book to The Rune Song trilogy. It has a wonderful world, very compelling and relatable characters and a magic system with an amazing potential and one that I would love to see more. With all that said, I’m very much looking forward to Runes of Battle.

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