Review: Anvil of God (The Carolingian Chronicles #1) by J. Boyce Gleason

In 741, the western world is in a state of upheaval.

Pagan religion is at its height in what is now known as France and Germany, but Christianity is quickly taking root and spreading like wildfire while Islam is threatening to be a major religious contender in the west.

Charles the Hammer has conquered the continent for the Merovingian kings but he secretly hopes that his children will become kings in their own right.

The only flaw in Charles’s plan is he is dying.

Before he dies, he plans on splitting the Frankish kingdom into three regions making his three sons mayors of each.

The oldest son, Carloman, is a religious fanatic who closely adheres to the Christian doctrine, the middle son, Phippin,  could careless about politics as he is a warrior, and the third son, Gripho is secretly practicing paganism.

Charles also plans to wed his daughter, Trudi, to a Lombard prince to secure an alliance and a peace with them. However he doesn’t realize that she has no intention of marrying him, she is in love with a pagan.

When Charles dies, all hell breaks loose. Since Gripho is to young to rule his appointed region his mother, Sunni, acts as queen regent. The church demands that Carloman support their wishes which means overthrowing and making war on Gripho and his step mother Sunni.

While tensions rise between the two brothers, the middle brother, Phippin, struggles to make them both see reason and cease fighting and avoid a war.

Trudi runs away with the help of Phippin to be with the man she loves who also happens to from Sunni’s family. But along the way, Trudi begins to question that love and wonders if this is where her heart truly lies.

Tension mounts in this thrilling tale of politics, religion, and war. Who of you will follow the path of the righteous and read this novel? I highly recommend all!

This book took me entirely by surprise. I was expecting a book full of religious rhetoric about the early barbaric invasions. But I was thrilled to discover this book was so much more than that!

Obviously it has a lot of religious references but it’s not necessarily dense or thick with it. The novel is more about politics and rights to the throne than religion.

There aren’t many fiction books that are set in the Carolingian era which falls around the barbarian invasions. I thought this book was both exciting and educational!

It contained lots of history and facts while at the same time incorporating a fictional story that had a little something for everyone–romance, political intrigue, and action. I loved how Gleason brought all of these elements together.

If you like Medieval type books with lots of political plotting and deception like A Song of Ice and Fire series (minus the magic and fantasy etc) or The Pillars of the Earth then this is right up your alley!

The writing style was fast paced and directly to the point. The novel opened with a lot of action and right away jumped into the story line. I loved that I didn’t have to read a lot of back story to get into things.

All of the language was modern enough for the average reader to follow along with but still held onto it’s authenticity for the era. At times it was a little simplistic but what it lacked in complex linguistics, the story made up for in it’s characters.

I adored Trudi. She was unforgettable and I found myself racing to get to the next  chapter that had Trudi in it! I loved her. She was spunky and tough, though at times young and naive, I thought she was strong enough to carry her role throughout the book.

The only thing that I struggled with in this novel was there wasn’t an immediate villain for me. It seemed like each character has both good and bad attributes in the beginning and it took a while for the ‘villain’ to develop for me. I like to have the characters in their roles early on but at the same time not knowing in this novel kind of intrigued me more.

I guarantee you haven’t read anything like this novel before. It’s set in a unique period in history and is full of war, love, and politics. It’s a lovely and refreshing blend of a bunch of different genres. I am eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series!

Be sure to check out the other stops on the Anvil of God tour for interviews, guest posts, reviews, and giveaway opportunities. I also included a list of the other tour stops at the end of this post!

Challenge/Book Summary:

Book: Anvil of God (The Carolingian Chronicle #1) by J. Boyce Gleason

  • Paperback, 440 pages
  • Published July 29th 2013 by iUniverse (first published July 26th 2013)
  • ISBN 1475990197 (ISBN13: 9781475990195)
  • Review copy provided by: HFVBT as part of the Anvil of God book tour in exchange for an honest review

This book counts toward: NA

  • Hosted by: NA
  • Books for Challenge Completed: NA

Recommendation: 4.5 out of 5

Genre: Historic fiction

Memorable lines/quotes:

Such beauty has power. But power often has consequences.


Monday, January 20
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Tuesday, January 21
Interview at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, January 27
Review & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick

Friday, January 31
Review & Giveaway at The Novel Life

Saturday, February 1
Review at Closed the Cover

Monday, February 3
Review & Giveaway at Words & Peace

Thursday, February 6
Review at The Lit Bitch

Friday, February 7
Review at A Bookish Affair
Interview at The Novel Life

Wednesday, February 12
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Thursday, February 13
Review at Peppermint, Ph.D.

Friday, February 14
Giveaway at Passages to the Past

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