Author: Angus Watson
Series: Age of Iron, #2
Released: April 14th 2015
Length: 560 pages
Source: Publisher for review
Buy: The Book Depository
Iron Age warriors Dug and Lowa captured Maidun castle and freed its slaves. But now they must defend it.A Roman invasion is coming from Gaul, but rather than uniting to defend their home, the British tribes go to battle with each other -- and see Maidun as an easy target.Meanwhile, Lowa's spies infiltrate Gaul, discovering the Romans have recruited British druids. And Maidunite Ragnall finds his loyalties torn when he meets Rome's charismatic general, Julius Caesar.War is coming. Who will pay its price?
Clash of Iron, the breathlessly awaited sequel to Angus Watson’s Age of Iron is finally here. I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book ever since I finished Watson’s debut. When done right, historical fantasy is my favorite genre, and this author definitely knows what he’s doing. In Clash of Iron, he takes us one step further in exploring the British Iron Age, a period that gives him free reign and ample opportunities. Not much is known about that time, which gives Watson a lot of space to take the direction he chooses. We know, however, that Iron Age in Britain ended with Roman invasion, and that threat is at the forefront of our heroes’ minds in this book.
The first half of Clash of Iron is a bit slower than we’re used to. With so many points of view and without a definite threat on the horizon, the story lacks focus for a while. Romans’ arrival has been predicted and prophesized, but not many believe that they’re an actual threat. As a new queen, Lowa is determined to unite the tribes and give them a chance for survival, but others are not exactly cooperative.
I thought Lowa was particularly interesting this time. She struggled so much with her newfound power, unsure how to treat people or how to properly earn (or demand) respect. Most of the time, I felt that she was in over her head and the ineptitude was often quite evident from the results.
Like its predecessor, Clash of Iron is unapologetically bloody. It was a dark time and the low price of human life was reflected brilliantly in Watson’s story. There were times when it was a bit hard to read, but overall it gave the story and extra layer of authenticity, for which I was grateful.
The ending is very intense, not a cliffhanger per se, but emotionally harrowing nevertheless. With so many things going on and so many enemies coming from all sides, sacrifices have to be made and lives must be lost. Watson showed us many times that he is merciless when his story requires it, and this ending was no different.
Things are a tangled mess right now, especially when we know that the Romans actually invaded in the end, which ended the Iron Age. With that in mind, the ending seems to be pretty clear. I only wonder how Watson might handle it. We’ll find out later this year in Reign of Iron.
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
In his twenties, Angus Watson’s jobs ranged from forklift truck driver to investment banker. He spent his thirties on various assignments as a freelance writer, including looking for Bigfoot in the USA for the Telegraph, diving on the scuppered German fleet at Scapa Flow for the Financial Times and swimming with sea lions off the Galapagos Islands for the Times. Now entering his forties, Angus lives in London with his wife Nicola and baby son Charlie. As a fan of both historical fiction and epic fantasy, he came up with the idea of writing a fantasy set in the Iron Age when exploring British hillforts for the Telegraph, and developed the story while walking Britain’s ancient paths for further articles.
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