Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blog Tour Review: Age of Iron

Age of IronAuthor: Angus Watson
Series: Iron Age, #1
Released: September 2nd 2014
Publisher: Orbit
Lenght: 560 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository

Bloodthirsty druids and battle-hardened Iron Age warriors collide in the biggest epic fantasy debut release of 2014.
Dug Sealskinner is a down-on-his-luck mercenary travelling south to join up with King Zadar's army. But he keeps rescuing the wrong people. 
First, Spring, a child he finds scavenging on the battlefield, and then Lowa, one of Zadar's most fearsome warriors, who's vowed revenge on the king for her sister's execution. 
Now Dug's on the wrong side of that thousands-strong army he hoped to join ­- and worse, Zadar has bloodthirsty druid magic on his side. All Dug has is his war hammer, one rescued child and one unpredictable, highly-trained warrior with a lust for revenge that's going to get them all killed . . .
It's a glorious day to die.

Not much is known about the British Iron Age – a terrible thing for historians, but a very promising fact for historical fantasy authors like Angus Watson. It gives them centuries of nothing more than vague information to build upon and in Age of Iron, the first book in a major new epic fantasy series, Watson does this (and more) quite impressively.

The story takes place in Britain during the first several years of Roman invasion – around 40 AD. Our three protagonists come from three different sides: Dug is a mercenary who (more or less accidentally) fought for the losing side, Lowa is a celebrated archer in King Zadar’s winning army, and Spring is just a little girl on the run from the Romans.

A lot had to come together in order for this story to function, which made the beginning a bit slow and demanding, but when things started picking up, they were quite spectacular. The story is told from multiple perspectives, but Dug, Lowa and Spring are at its very center. It must be said that Dug Sealskinner is a very unlikely hero. He is unusually old for a mercenary, a fact that speaks for itself. He didn’t make it to his forties by being kind, generous and self-sacrificing. His most important rule is ‘every man for himself’, and that includes the women and children as well.

He is, however, a fully fleshed and fascinating character. Although he’s a fairly successful warrior, he is in fact deeply insecure, and he doesn’t think much of himself. He is not a leader by nature, far from it, he is a weapon to be aimed by those who pay the most. Lowa, on the other hand, is a force of nature. She is much younger than Dug and far more successful in everything she does.

Age of Iron is extremely dark at times, but that was to be expected considering the time period. There were scenes that made me cringe in disgust and horror, but I didn’t mind them at all, they gave the story more weight and authenticity. On the other hand, when an author has hundreds of years of historical tabula rasa to build upon, he can do whatever he likes with things like social structure and gender equality, and Watson chose to portray women as equal, just as strong and fierce as any man, which I greatly appreciated.

Angus Watson’s fantasy debut is multi-layered and quite brilliant at times. There were a few things I wish were done differently, but overall, this was a splendid beginning to what promises to be a brilliant new epic fantasy series.

A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher for review purposes. No considerations, monetary or otherwise, have influenced the opinions expressed in this review.

Thanks to Orbit UK for inviting me on this tour. Please make sure to visit the other tour stops. You can find them all on the tour poster below. 

Click to enlarge

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Anything that is dark and can make you cringe in horror and disgust but still keep the story real, has to be a good read in my book. I know very little about this time period as well so I think I would really like this. The history nerd in me wants to read it. :)

  2. This one looks super awesome. I love books like these, that have historical aspects written in a way that is fun to learn. Great review, thanks for putting it on my radar!

  3. This sounds like an extremely fascinating new series and one that I need to add to my wish list for sure!
    Women as equals on the Iron Age? Sign me up for reading it!
    Thank for discovering this new series for me, Maja!

  4. I don't think I've ever read a book set in the British Iron Age. That's really interesting and I'm curious for sure now. I'm always up for a multi-layered book.
    Lovely review!

  5. There definitely isn't enough historical fantasy out there and the fact that this explores a time period left untouched makes it all the more alluring. I hadn't heard of it before but it seems right up my alley so onto the TBR this is going. Thanks for putting this on my radar, Maja! :)

  6. The guy on the cover is INTENSE. Definitely not someone I would want to mess with Maja! I'm so glad this one ended up being a winner for you despite the slow beginning, I tend to love dark and gritty worlds even when they horrify me, so I think this would be one that I'd enjoy. Plus, love that he made women on equal footing with men!!!

  7. I have a deep love for high fantasy. I dint read that many books from that genre but what I di read was spectacular so I am choosing very carefully. Age of Iron sounds amazing. The era which is known little about, horrifying scenes and dark characters. Seems like my kind of read. Great review !

  8. Dark and scary and made you cringe in horror. You know I struggle more with horror scenes like this because they did happen vs. something in a paranormal horror book.

  9. I really know next to nothing about the Age of Iron...I didn't even realize when it was until I read your post! Definitely ripe for development. And "Dug" as the MC. Heh. Dug.

  10. The guy on the cover reminds me of Glimli from Lord of the Rings. Lol I like how the author made the female characters just as strong as the male ones. Unfortunately, you don't see that very often in fantasy books written by males.

  11. I'd try it if only for the cover (that's really fantastic!) and the setting, quite unusual.
    The MC sounds intersitng... not not really new. I like the 'old warrior' kind of character ;-)


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