This week’s One to Watch is relatively new to authonomy, and has been updated only a couple of weeks ago – but it’s already rising up the charts.
Children of the Raven is a very entertaining slice of medieval historical fiction. A fleet of sea reavers set sail from Denmark to England, intent on pillage and plunder – perhaps not the most obvious place to find a band of sympathetic protagonists to start your story. Ulf is a warrior, hoping to gain the same glory his father has already won in battle, surrounded by men who will gladly see him dead, and, unbeknownst to him, saddled with an adventure-hungry sister who has smuggled herself aboard the ship.
Magic and superstition are brilliantly portrayed in this story. This is the old, pagan kind of magic, where cold, perhaps cruel Gods may ignore or laugh at your desperate prayers – and punish any perceived slight or misconduct. Ulf chips away at a small wooden statue to ask for protection against a coming storm, while later a blade is tossed into becalmed seas to beseech the Gods for wind. All the crew can do is watch, helplessly, as the sword sinks, and hope someone – or thing, is listening. Once they reach the shores of England, blood feuds, Gods and monsters will all feature, in an accessible, clear writing style that maintains a great sense of pace and tension to keep you turning (clicking?) the page.
Only the first 12 chapters are up on authonomy so far, but it’s a cracking start by Eva H.
Check out Eva’s pitch below, and see if it tempts you.
In a world where myth and reality entwine, anything can happen.
In the year AD 865, a brother and sister journey far from their Danish home across the perilous waters of the North Sea to the dangerous lands of the Engles and Saxons.
When a storm wrecks his warship, Ulf is washed up on a beach in the lands of the Suth Folk.
Forming a warband from the survivors, Ulf leads them through their enemy’s territory, but danger lies in wait at every twist and turn of their path. And then he stumbles across a marker stone – a way between the worlds – and is set a challenge by the gods themselves.
On board the Raven, another warship in the Viking fleet, is a stowaway - Ulf’s younger sister, Ingrid. When her presence is discovered, instead of being sent back to Danmark in disgrace, she is tasked with a mission more perilous and exciting than any she could have imagined …
The siblings will need more wit than Loki, more strength than Thor and more wisdom than Odin. Children of the Raven is a story full of bravery and deceit, friendship and family rivalries, ancient magic and creatures from myth.