Posted by: markfender | August 5, 2015

The Whale Road

But there’s more!

The_Whale_RoadThe Whale Road is Robert Low’s first book in the Oathsworn series. In it, he details the adventures of the Oathsworn, a Viking company who go on many Viking type adventures. The first book in the series details the search for Attila the Hun’s grave and its many treasures. It remains mostly rooted in realism, with some odd digressions into possession, and discussions of wyrd.

This book really felt like the Viking equivalent of the “men’s adventure” genre. Here are vaguely sketched out characters who die and are replaced with other vaguely sketched out characters. The action is described with gristly detail, but emotional journeys are pretty sparse. Perhaps what annoyed me most was the Mary Stu nature of the main character, who apparently possesses every single characteristic that would require him to be in every important meeting or story beat. Yes, this is the author working around the limitations of 1st person narrative, but, by the end of the book, I was beginning to wonder if there was anything the main character couldn’t do better than everyone else. Despite his continual cries of incompetence, he’s the most educated, fiercest Viking on record.

Low is decent with prose. A few moments (notably the passage of time) felt odd, but he moves the story along at a brisk pace. However, I don’t think I’ll be visiting any other books in the series. The “men’s adventure” nature of the storytelling eventually did turn me off. Having grown up on that stuff, it’s not something I wish to return to. While he does talk about fate and generally has a pretty downer attitude (essential for stories from the time period), none of the characters really grabbed me enough to want to keep reading about their adventures. The poem that I inserted into the review of Kay yesterday shows up in this book as well, but with another, poorer translation. Which I think sums up the entire nature of this book and series – poorer than Kay’s own take on the idea.



  1. […] all my talk of Anglo-Saxon stuff for Exalted, I neglected probably the biggest popular source, […]

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