REVIEW: The Whale Road by Robert Low

The Whale Road is a fearsome tale of a band of vikings hunting relics, drinking hard and fighting harder. Robert Low is another of the Norse-period writers on my favourite shelf.

“By Odin’s Hairy Arse!”

Robert Low has crafted a wonderful story of a Norse band sailing the whale road here. It is full to the brim of the sea-chest with authentic language, sayings, the imaginable harsh environment, the rough characters, and one that made me laugh every time I read “by Odin’s Hairy Arse!”

Orm Rurikson is a young Norse raider in training and is quickly inducted into the ways of the Oathsworn, the band who sail the seas aboard the Fjord Elk. The Oathsworn are a band of sell-swords and The Whale Road is the first part of Orm’s story within the war band. The Oathsworn – in a time of the White Christ growing in popularity – have been paid to find the sword of Attila the Hun and his infamous hoard of gold and silver.

“We were still on the whale road, in the wind that keened and thrummed the ropes.”

A short book at only 340 pages, The Whale Road is ram-packed with action, bloody fights, and shield-walls. There aren’t many moments to pause for breath as Orm is thrust into the new-world of relic hunting. Orm is a solid character and was well-written, with plenty of humorous and enjoyable interactions between him and the rest of the Oathsworn (well…those that last). Robert Low certainly has a way of keeping you guessing what is going to happen next and indeed, who is going to be slain next. The Oathsworn were the best part of this story, full of fun and dry humour. The audible narrator also did a cracking job.

It is hard to find a truly fantastic Viking-period novel, with Bernard Cornwell and Giles Kristian wearing the crowns at the moment. Robert Low’s promising debut of The Whale Road certainly is treading the same path, with great characters and plenty of gritty action. I just wanted more! I will most certainly continue with the series and look forward to seeing where Orm sails to next.

“Strange how we had longed for the feel and smell of land when afloat and now longed for the touch of ship and spray now that we were ashore.”

4/5 – A stormy tale of Vikings at sea, with enough hack silver and hacking off limbs to make every Norse-lover smile. Robert Low’s Oathsworn starts with a mighty shield-wall bang and bearded warriors that say all sorts of profanities. For lovers of Bernard Cornwell and Giles Kristian, check this out!

Buy The Whale Road by Robert Low

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Edward Gwynne

Edward Gwynne

Ed is a medieval re-enactor, spending his weekends hitting people with various shaped weapons. Ed is also a primary school teacher and spends the weekdays telling children not to hit people with various shaped weapons. He has been influenced by his brilliant dad to spend as much time reading fantasy and historical-fiction. Huzzah!