(Title: The Children of Gods and Fighting Men / Author: Shauna Lawless / Publisher: Head of Zeus / Publication Date: September 1, 2022)

Book Blurb
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 his 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 De Dannan, a race of warriors who are sworn to kill Fomorians.

Fodla is one of the Tuatha De Dannan with the gift of healing. Her kind dwell hidden in a fortress, forbidden to live amongst the mortals. Fodla 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...

I absolutely love it when I end up being blown away by a book that I had virtually no knowledge about before reading it. Such is exactly the case with THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN by Shauna Lawless. All I knew going into it was that it dealt a good deal with Irish mythology/history and also had a solid basis in the pagan vs Christian split in Ireland at that time. And yes, there are Vikings, so I had some inkling that this book would be right up my alley. But I wasn't prepared for just how "up my alley" it was.

So many things kept me glued this story. One in particular was the amazingly executed political maneuvering and intrigue. I mentioned in one of my updates that it is really hard to pull off a story with lots of political intrigue because you have to make it interesting or you will quickly lose the reader. Well, this is some of the most tightly written and compelling maneuvering that I've come across quite honestly. The newly widowed Gormflaith is determined almost to the point of obsession to help her only son Sitric rise to become King of Dublin. And the lengths that she goes to try and place him on the throne are limitless. I was inspired by her dedication and yes, also her calculated scheming at times. But we all know that a mother's love can sometimes lead to extraordinary measures being taken in defense of their children, am I right? (See Orka from John Gwynne's Bloodsworn trilogy).

As the story goes on we get introduced to other characters who are on the complete opposite side of the coin in their motivations and desires. And that is really what made this book such a captivating read, both sides are given equal time through the alternating POVs and we get to view how the ensuing conflict develops through each of their perspectives. One thing is very clear, both sides think they are the "good guys" despite the growing feeling that neither one of them may be in actuality. And yet each has a strong sense that they should lead, resulting in many a violent altercation as you would expect.

I feel like there is so much that I want to say about this book but nothing seems profound enough or nearly sufficient to do it justice. All I can say is as I was reading it, with every passing chapter, I got the sense that I was reading the start of a series that is going to make big waves once it is released into the world. There's so much crossover appeal here with plenty to enjoy for fantasy fans, historical fiction aficionados, and those who love a good dose of folklore. Honestly, I can't wait until more people get an opportunity to experience it.

Lawless writes historical fiction steeped in fantasy and mythology like Bernard Cornwell, Mary Stewart, and Stephen Lawhead at the top of their games. I don't say this lightly either, I'm aware of the track record and accomplishments of these authors. But I have to say that Lawless more than holds her own among that lofty company. If you are an admirer of those books, you will absolutely love this.

Okay, i'm done gushing. Maybe. I'll just finish by saying that I was so impressed with every single aspect of this book. Shauna Lawless has loudly and triumphantly announced her presence to the world with this unforgettable debut and first book in the Gael Song series. Preorder it now because this is just one of those books that you must read the moment it is available. THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN is truly an epic tale that nobody is going to want to miss. Now I just have to figure out how I'm going to deal with waiting for book two!



  1. Definitely adding to TBR, I love Irish based stories! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Sure thing Athena! Glad you liked the review and hope you enjoy the book if you get to read it.


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