The Last Berserker (Fire Born: Volume One) cover reveal
You may already know that I have written the first novel in my new action-packed Viking series, to be published in February 2021 (The Last Berserker). You may even know that I have found a terrific new publisher (Canelo) and signed a three-book deal with them. But you probably won’t have seen this amazing cover for the first novel in the series. So here you go . . . Ta-dah!
I am absolutely delighted with it! The very talented folk at Canelo produced it for me, so I cannot take any credit at all. But I do think it’s one of the best covers I’ve ever had on any of my books (even including ones I helped to design). The image beautifully encapsulates the tone and content of the novel, which may also be my finest work yet.
The opening book of the series is set in the late 8th century AD, and follows the story of two warriors, Bjarki Bloodhand and Tor Hildarsdottir, who seek to join the ranks of the legendary, Odin-chosen, frenzied fighters of the North, the berserkir.
The action takes place all over northern Europe, mostly in Saxony and in Francia – the swathe of lands ruled by Charlemagne (called by his Latin name Karolus in this novel). He is King of the Franks (not yet Holy Roman Emperor, but that’s coming later) and a devout Christian who is determined to stamp out the paganism of the Saxons and bring the truth of Jesus Christ to these benighted lands. The Saxon are equally determined to resist the might of the Franks and are aided in their struggle by their Danish allies.
The map above show how unequal this conflict was and – spoiler alert! – how the intermittent wars ended after thirty blood-soaked years. The good news is that with a desperate thirty-year struggle, there is plenty of scope for a nice long series, rather like my Robin Hood-based Outlaw Chronicles.
I have a deal now for three books with Canelo, but if all goes well, I think I might write eight, nine, even ten Fire Born books. You can help me in this ambition by pre-ordering the first novel, in either eBook format or as a paperback, here. It will be published in February 2021, so not long to wait.
I am also looking for bloggers and journalists to help promote the book. If you write a well-regarded historical fiction (or other suitable) blog, or write for a local or national newspaper, and would like to read and review The Last Berserker before publication, please get in touch with me via the Contact tab above. But we’re not giving out free books to non-bloggers/non-journos. Sorry. Well, not yet. There may be giveaways at publication time. If you want to keep an eye on this, so you don’t miss out, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook, I’m pretty easy to find on both those sites.
Here is a bit of blurb about the book . . .
771AD, Northern Europe
Bjarki Bloodhand and Tor Hildarsdottir are journeying south from Denmark into the deep forests of Saxony. Their destination is the sacred Groves of Eresburg, in the shade of the Irminsul, the One Tree that runs through the centre of the universe. There, they hope to summon the ancient spirits of the wild and so enter the ranks of the legendary berserkers, the elite frenzied warriors of the North. This is no easy feat: many attempt to become Fire Born, as these fearless men and women are called, but few succeed. Meanwhile, Charlemagne (aka Karolus), new crowned King of the Franks, a fanatical Christian who controls much of Europe, has vowed to stamp out his neighbours’ superstitions and bring the light of the Faith to all heathen lands. Bjarki and Tor are drawn into the conflict against the Franks and must survive a cataclysmic battle to decide the fate of Europe.
Anyway . . . that’s my big news this week. I hope you like it.
It may be that you just can’t wait till February to get your hands on a new action-packed Angus Donald adventure and, if that’s the case, I have some more good news. I’ve another Outlaw Chronicle in the pipeline: I just need to give it a final read-through, then I will be self-publishing Robin Hood and the Castle of Bones on (or about) Tuesday, December 1, 2020.
If you cannot wait even that long, you could always console yourself with a copy of Robin Hood and the Caliph’s Gold, which is now available here.