Saturday , June 15 2024
Tim Hodkinson - Sword of the War God

Book Review: ‘Sword of the War God’ by Tim Hodkinson

The Fall of the Roman Empire

Sword of the War God by Tim Hodkinson transports readers into one of the more turbulent times in European history – the last days of the Roman Empire. The Empire, which once spread from the British Isles to what is now Turkey, is on its last legs. Split into two, with the Eastern half ruled from Constantinople and the West from Ravenna – Rome has been sacked far too many times by the Goths – it no longer can be said to rule the known world.

However, as Hagan of the Burgundar people is forcibly reminded, the Romans aren’t done yet. Along with their new allies, the Huns led by brothers Attila and Bleda, the legions of Rome completely decimated his people. Faced with the option of death or enlisting in the Roman legions, Hagan, and other surviving young men, chose the latter.

Hodkinson takes us across the crumbling empire as he follows the trials and tribulations of three of the surviving Burgundar. Aside from Hagan we watch how two of his childhood companions, Gunhild and Gunderic, the daughter and son respectively of Gundarhar, the king of the Burgundar who died in the battle, deal with the diaspora.

Each of them makes their own journey to the outer reaches of the Empire and beyond. For Hagan it takes him to Britain as part of a mercenary company contracted to one of the minor kings in England fighting against the Picts. Gunhild ends up as second wife to the King of Denmark, while her brother works to establish a new home for his people as a governor in a Roman province.

When Attila and his Huns decide to turn on their former Roman allies and take over the empire, Rome turns to some of her former enemies and allies for help. Thus are the three childhood friends united under the banner of their former enemy. For the Romans have used the old “an enemy of yours is an enemy of mine” to enlist the Goths and the Burgundar to help them fight the Huns.

Hodkinson does a good job of bringing the era to life, describing the turmoil of the period and the the changing social and political nature of the times. Not only do we witness the earliest beginnings of Europe as we know it, he also shows the conflict between the onset of Christianity and various peoples’ traditional belief systems. 

With The Sword of the War God Tim Hodkinson has brought a fascinating era of European history to life. His mixture of historical and fictional characters gives it the depth required to make it both more than simply fiction and more interesting than a straight history. 

About Richard Marcus

Richard Marcus is the author of three books commissioned by Ulysses Press, "What Will Happen In Eragon IV?" (2009) and "The Unofficial Heroes Of Olympus Companion" and "Introduction to Greek Mythology For Kids". Aside from Blogcritics he contributes to and his work has appeared in the German edition of Rolling Stone Magazine and has been translated into numerous languages in multiple publications.

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