cover image A Gathering of Ravens

A Gathering of Ravens

Scott Oden. St. Martin’s/Dunne, $26.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-312-37294-1

In this lovingly crafted tale of high adventure, Oden creates an alternate early medieval Europe in which mortal men have defeated entire races of vicious magical creatures. Some nightmares have faded from memory as magic and ancient beliefs are supplanted by a new religion, Christianity. Grimnir, last of the giants called kaunar, is on a mission for vengeance several centuries in the making. The world is in disarray, but he happens on a pair of Christians who seem to hold the key to all his plans. He captures Étain to exploit her knowledge but unintentionally leads her on a path of spiritual enlightenment while also taking on armies that stand between himself and his prey. This fast-paced thrill ride might have been bleak or unsettling, but it’s rendered so lovingly that it reveals new layers of familiar territory. The fresh viewpoint is steeped in an appreciation for the terrifying and powerful characters of high fantasy, and Oden does them justice. He provides a satisfying saga that’s as complex as an old tree’s roots, and a pleasure to read. (June)