I recently finished the first installment of the Hraban chronicles, The Oath Breaker by author Alaric Longward and long story short I loved it and I am excited to read the rest of the series.
The book follows the story of young Hraban, a boy of the Marcommani tribe of germania, on the cusp of manhood born with the weight of dark prophecy upon his name. The setting of this book is during the rule of Caesar Augustus’ reign of the newly founded Roman Empire. As a fan of both Ancient Rome and the germanic tribes that existed during this time I can safely say that for me, the book was immediately captivating.
Mr. Longward’s writing gives us a window into a group of people almost lost to history and also one that has often been misrepresented as no more than brutal savages. In The Oath Breaker, the reader gets an amazing panoramic view of the ancient European cultures existing at the same time as the Roman Empire. And Longward’s representation of the germanic tribes shows them as they probably were, a group of independent tribes with a firmly grounded and established set of laws rather than the mindless barbarians of popular myth.
Hraban himself is an incredibly deep and interesting protagonist. A young man whose only desire is to prove himself and raise himself up in the eyes of his peers and elders, beset on all sides by the treacherous characters who see him as no more than a disposable pawn or a means to their own ends. Since he’s little more than a child, Hraban has to content with his own childish flaws in the face of tragedy and victory on his path to manhood. The journey from ignorant boy to fully realized man is one I am excited to experience as I continue the series and I have to say that the first book of the series has set some pretty impressive standards for those that follow.
The last thing I want to mention is the style in which The Oath Breaker is written. I love that this book is written in the first person, it really adds to the narrative by narrowing the readers view to the confines of Hraban’s mind. We experience the tale through his eyes and with his thought process making it feel realistic and visceral.
All in all this book is like a coming of age story meeting conan the barbarian and I loved it!