Release Date: 1st September 2022
Publisher: Head of Zeus
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.25/5 stars
They think they’ve killed the last of us…
981 AD. The Viking King of Dublin is dead. His young widow, Gormflaith, has ambitions for her son – and herself – but Ireland is a dangerous place and kings tend not to stay kings for long. Gormflaith also has a secret. She is one of the Fomorians, an immortal race who can do fire-magic. She has kept her powers hidden at all costs, for there are other immortals in this world – like the Tuatha Dé Danann, a race of warriors who are sworn to kill Fomorians.
Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with the gift of healing. Her kind dwell hidden in a fortress, forbidden to live amongst the mortals. Fódla agrees to help her kin by going to spy on Brian Boru, a powerful man who aims to be High King of Ireland. She finds a land on the brink of war – a war she is desperate to stop. However, preventing the loss of mortal lives is not easy with Ireland in turmoil and the Fomorians now on the rise…
The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is a stunning debut historical fantasy tale from Shauna Lawless. Lawless weaves history and Irish mythology into this unforgettable tale. Set in 10th Century Ireland, the story follows Gormflaith, the widow of the King of Dublin. Gormflaith has high hopes for her son, but kings don’t always stay king for long. Gormflaith also has a secret – she is part of an immortal race with fire magic that she has kept hidden to protect herself from the Tuatha Dé Danann – those sworn to kill her kind. Meanwhile, Fódla is one of the Tuatha Dé Danann with a gift for healing. When she lands in Ireland she finds a county on the precipice of war and she will do anything to stop it.
Going into this book I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was captivated right from the very beginning and I found I could not put this book down. The story is full of political intrigue and scheming. The story is well executed and I definitely found myself thinking about the book when I wasn’t reading it. Lawless has created a really clever story with a really tense and compelling plot.
One of the things that captivated me most about The Children of Gods and Fighting Men was the detailed worldbuilding. The story and world felt so well crafted and I am so looking forward to reading more from this author. Not only is the worldbuilding excellent, but Lawless has also created some truly fascinating characters. Our two main POVS – Gormflaith and Fódla were really well developed. I enjoyed both points of view a lot but I think my favourite was Gormflaith, she was so determined to get what she wants for her son and there is nothing she won’t do to succeed.
The Children of Gods and Fighting Men is a tense, addictive fantasy tale. If you’re looking for a story with strong female characters, lots of political intrigue, and a plot that will keep you turning pages long into the night – this one is definitely worth checking out.