cover image The Hunger of the Gods

The Hunger of the Gods

John Gwynne. Orbit, $17.99 trade paper (672p) ISBN 978-0-316-53992-0

Lik-Rifa, the dragon god, is free from her prison and marches with her dragon-born Tainted followers to conquer the divided realms of Vigrid in Gwynne’s furious, battle-filled follow-up to The Shadow of the Gods. As Orka Skullsplitter and Uspa, the Seidr-witch, both search for their stolen children, their quests lead them into the path of the Lik-Rifa’s fierce war band. But Orka and Uspa have war bands of their own, along with monsters called vaesen and spell books written by the gods that can resurrect and enthrall even long-deceased deities. While reborn gods take to the skies to fight for dominion, mortals plot, scheme, and betray down below, all in the name of power. Gwynne keeps mainly to the Norse elements that make his prose ring with verisimilitude, but he expands his world with a visit to the mighty southern empire of Iskidan that gives the book a bit of a Byzantine feel. He also plays fair by giving his characters challenges that sometimes do defeat them, even as they hold the reins on revivified gods. It’s an exciting outing that nicely sets up the trilogy’s finale. Agent: Julia Crisp, Julia Crisp Literary. (Apr.)