Giles has led a varied life to say the least. During the 90s he was lead singer of pop group Upside Down, achieving four top twenty hit records, performing twice on Top of the Pops, and singing at such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, N.E.C. and Wembley Arena. As a singer songwriter he lived and toured for two years in Europe and has made music videos all over the world, from Prague, Miami, Mexico, and the Swiss Alps, to Bognor Regis! To fund his writing habit he has worked as a model, appearing in TV commercials and ads for the likes of Walls Ice Cream (he was the Magnum Man) Canon cameras and two brands of lager! He has been an advertising copywriter and lived for three years in New York where he wrote copy for movie marketing company Empire Design but mainly worked on his first novel.
Family history (he is half Norwegian) inspired GILES KRISTIAN to write his first historical novels: the acclaimed and bestselling Raven Viking trilogy – Blood Eye, Sons of Thunder and Odin’s Wolves. For his next series, he drew on a long-held fascination with the English Civil War to chart the fortunes of a family divided by this brutal conflict in The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury. Giles also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s recent No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion but in his new novels – God of Vengeance (a TIMES Book of the Year) and now Winter’s Fire – he returns to the world of the Vikings to tell the story of Sigurd and his celebrated fictional fellowship. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.
Winter’s Fire (2016) (The second book in the Rise of Sigurd series) A novel by Giles Kristian
Norway, AD 785 – a vow of vengeance must be kept . . . Sigurd Haraldarson has proved himself a great warrior . . . and a dangerous enemy. He has gone a long way towards avenging the murder of his family. And yet the oath-breaker King Gorm, who betrayed Sigurd’s father, still lives. And so long as he draws breath, the scales remain unbalanced. The sacred vow to avenge his family burns in Sigurd’s veins, but he must be patient and bide his time. He knows that he and his band of warriors are not yet strong enough to confront the treacherous king. They need silver, they need more spear-brothers to rally to the young Viking’s banner – but more than these, they need to win fame upon the battlefield. And so the fellowship venture west, to Sweden, to fight as mercenaries. And it is there – in the face of betrayal and bloodshed, on a journey that will take him all too close to the halls of Valhalla – that Sigurd’s destiny will be forged. There, in the inferno of winter’s fire . . . The Vikings return in this thrilling, thunderous sequel to Giles Kristian’s bestselling God of Vengeance.
This book i have to admit was right in the handful of books “I must read” in 2016, it was one i would drop what ever i was reading to start as soon as it arrived (something i don’t do lightly or often).
As with every book Giles Kristian produces the quality of the writing increases with each new book. The depth of history and the authors passion and empathy for the Norsemen portrayed is simply stunning. There are very few authors who can provide books of the level of descriptive prose displayed in this book, but beyond that, there are only a handful who can truly transport the reader with the power of the plot, the pace of the story and the totally immersive empathy for the subject.
I think what surprised me the most with this book is that while its a middle book, the plot is a middle plot and like all books of that type, its bridging the gap to a dramatic, climactic conclusion, despite all that its stand alone, brilliantly written. A tale of journey, the explosive action of God of Vengeance has its repercussions in Winters Fire, and decisions must be made. Sigurd isn’t ready to face his nemesis in the form of Oath-Breaker King Gorm, so he must travel, make his name, build his fortune and his crew. The journey is what we have in this book, imbued with many tales both large and more importantly the small, the minute details, the emotions the nitty gritty that makes this book come alive.
The quality of the book is truly displayed in the brutal yet elegantly lyrical nuances of the prose. Normally with Giles Kristian books there is a feeling of being sat listening to the Skald telling the tale by the fireside on a cold winters night, the deep aching cold held back by the flames of the fire-pit. But this book truly takes you on the adventure, part of the crew fully ensnared in the adventure out in that biting cold and on the waves, salt spray stinging your face.