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Publisher's Summary

From acclaimed fantasy author John Gwynne comes the first in the Bloodsworn trilogy, an epic of wild lands and wilder magic, where not all monsters fight with tooth and claw...and the treasures of the gods come at a price.

This is the age of storm and murder.

After the old gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrio.

Now, power-hungry jarls carve out petty kingdoms, and monsters stalk the shadow-haunted woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power, promising fame, and fortune for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out. 

As whispers of war echo over the plains and across the fjords, fate follows the footsteps of three people: a huntress searching for her missing son, a jarl's daughter who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame, and a thrall who has cast off his chains and now fights alongside the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn.

All three will shape the fate of the world, as it once more teeters on the edge of chaos.

For more from John Gwynne, check out:

Of Blood and Bone series: A Time of Dread, A Time of Blood, and A Time of Courage

The Faithful and the Fallen series: Malice, Valor, Ruin, and Wrath

©2021 John Gwynne (P)2021 Orbit

What the critics say

"Gwynne, a Viking reenactor, puts in the work, with fine historical details that make the story come to life. Fans of the era will be delighted with the accuracy. This is a duly exciting start to the series." (Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Shadow of the Gods

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Gwynne is Gold

John Gwynne never disappoints, and this introduction to his latest series confirms it. Gripping from the first chapters, beautiful world building, with a great pace and a thrilling ending. When you add in a the voice talents of Mr. Mace for this audiobook, it's a home run.

Only listen if you're interested in: fantasy, vikings, exceptional story telling and violence.

3 people found this helpful

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In running for best book of the year

11/10 cannot wait for next book.
The narrator is a modern bard.
The story is a well crafted tail in a very unique world. Passion, Violence, Love and War all twisted in to a beautiful masterpiece.

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Legendary!

The pace is master class level. Just when the author has me thrilled to see ankle, he pivots and undoes a button! My only regret is listening to the book before the next is out because the ending is an impeccable cliff hanger. The narration is on point. I forget I am listening and remember little of the narration; this is how it ought to be. My thanks to both author and narrator.

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disappointed

found it a tad confusing. had to reread some chapters. not easy to read. will not buy the next book l, but thank you.

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  • George Palm
  • 2021-05-10

Amazing book with an unamazing narrator

The book is amazing, the story is enthralling, and the narrator was the only thing detracting from the book.

Seriously, his voice wasn't great, he constantly mispronounced words, and his characters weren't distinguished from one another even if the writing was. I'd pay to have someone else read this book tbh.

9 people found this helpful

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  • stephen
  • 2021-05-27

Nordic Inspired Fantasy

John Gwynne is one of my favorite authors. John writes Epic Fantasy that will remind you of David Eddings, Robert Jordan and Robin Hobb. Colin Mace is brilliant performing this novel which uses 3 POVs to spin the tale. I could listen to Colin Mace performance for hours at a time. Definitely one of my favorite narrator as this is the third series I have listed to that Colin has been the performer. If you want to experience one of the best marriage between author and narrator check out this new series.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2021-07-31

Great story, odd performance

This was a great story 10/10! And very excited for the next one! It was a refreshing new world that felt alien and exciting compared to a lot of fantasy I have read. Great work! My only criticism is I would have liked a little more exhibition and a few more slow moments for the reader to get their bearings in this violent world.

The reader made odd pauses in strange places in sentences. While I felt like the pronunciation on was on point, the voice was so monotone that it made it hard to tell who was speaking and from what perspective. It honestly made the book a lot harder to understand.

I plan to buy a version I can read to myself because I feel like I would enjoy it much much more! I recommend this if you don’t mind a performance that feels a little rushed. Otherwise read it with your eyes at some point.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Virate190
  • 2021-07-07

Excellent Hidden Gem

Ive become a bit conservative with my book choices recently, cause when i take a chance on a book without a large preexisting fan base i usually regret it. This time I don't.

The worldbuilding is excellent and original, with a cool blend of high magic and gritty historical realism that work together surprisingly well. The story is interesting, and each of the characters has a few secrets that we get to tease out as we go. The narrator was excellent, although be warned that hed sometimes skip right over natural pauses in both internal and external dialogue--a habit which could be jarring--and his character voices could blend together sometimes. All in all, really impressive work.

If i have a criticism for the story, its that at times the MCs feel a little one dimensional and predictable. Id like to see them grow a bit more as people over the course of the book, maybe have a few more moments of inner conflict where the inevitable choice isnt so clearly obvious. Otherwise it was an absolute gem, and im probably going to reread it more than once. When all is said and done thats really the highest compliment i can give.

TLDR: This book is excellent and i do not at all regret spending my credit.

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  • John
  • 2021-05-31

Not for me

I have heard nothing but gushing reviews for this book, things like "If you like Brandon Sanderson you'll love this book!" but I see zero comparison. Everything I love about Sanderson was missing in this book, especially interesting characters and a protagonist to root for. The three POV characters were all interchangeably boring from a perpetually unhappy mother who became murderously angry searching for her son (understandable but still not interesting) to Varg, a former slave sad-sack who could have been a great POV but just lacked any qualities to be able to empathize for him to finally a another character I have hardly any memory of or care for (nothing happened to her that I can recall).

I'm happy others liked this book, and perhaps the narrator just made the characters sound sad and uninteresting but I could barely finish this book (I hate to DNF) and ultimately I will not continue. Also, I hope to never hear the term "thought cage" again!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Brandon
  • 2021-09-18

Fantastic!

I loved every second of this book, some good plot twists, and a real joy to listen to. The narrator, which can make or break, had great intonation and a wide range of voices.

Definitely recommended! Can’t wait for the next ones.

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  • Seth Frampton
  • 2021-09-17

64 times…

Gwynne manages to use the word “thought cage” roughly 64 times throughout this book. I know because every single time he did, it completely broke my immersion and I was able to add another tally to the count. It’s as if the words “mind,” “brain,” or “head” weren’t invented during the time this book takes place. I was taught in middle school that the repetitive-use of words in writing detracted from the overall strength of the work and, damn, if this isn’t proof of that. Gwynne is a creative writer, but he isn’t what I would call “talented.”

I couldn’t keep characters straight, didn’t know what any of the words meant and, by the end, I was cackling put loud at how predictable the writing was. The characters were shocked at things near the end that became evident by the halfway point of the book

2-stars for the setting and the world-building because Norse mythology is awesome (though, really, I think it would be a stretch to call this anything other than “Norse-inspired.” I tried this book because of the norse-setting but forgot that I’m really not a fan of Gwynne’s writing. I couldn’t finish Faithful and the Fallen because he used the phrase “grinned fiercely” and described weapons as “whistling” through the air more times than I could count. To each their own.

Also, loved the narrator’s voice but he’s pretty unenthusiastic. He all but mutters a line, followed by mentioning that said line was actually growled, screamed, or yelled by the character. Boring.

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  • Kirk Anderson
  • 2021-09-09

Awesome book

Awesome book Great new series! Can’t wait for Book 2 in the series. It was a different take on your standard fantasy book. And the action is incredible!!

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  • Perry Taliaferro
  • 2021-09-06

My first, but not my last, John Gwynne book

I had never read John Gwynne prior to this title ... hell I had honestly never heard of him (to my shame), but wow, I am certainly glad I took a chance on this book. Sure, the main reason I did "take that chance" was due to the amount of positive reviews, but come on ... the cover? that fantastic cover is what originally piqued my interest, pulled me in and virtually forced me to listen to the 5 minute "sample". Yeah, hooked me from there.
But hey, an exciting cover rarely means an exciting read/listen, but trust me, this puppy is just as intriguing on the inside as it is on the outside. What you have here is not only a captivating story, but a captivating story with great narration as well. Really fits the tone of this book.
Well, that's all I have really, so I will close by quickly adding that I am now off to spend more Audible credits on more John Gwynne books!

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  • Kelli H. Dieter
  • 2021-08-25

Viking fun

A perfect viking adventure, like a video game with a great story and actual stakes