Published by Pan MacMillan on April 18, 2019
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Military, Action & Adventure, Historical, General
Source: Purchased Book
Buy on Amazon
A Time of Blood, the second book in the Of Blood and Bone series, is the spectacular follow-up to A Time of Dread by John Gwynne. Defy the darkness. Defend the light . . .
At the battle of Starstone Lake, Drem and his friends witnessed horrors they’ll never forget. They saw magic warping men into beasts and a demon rise from the dead, creating something new and terrifying. So they flee to warn the Order of the Bright Star. But the demons’ high priestess, Fritha, is determined to hunt them down.
Concealed in Forn Forest, Riv struggles to understand her half-breed lineage. It represents the warrior angels’ most dangerous secret, so when their high captain tracks her down, he aims to kill.
Meanwhile, demonic forces are gathering a mighty war-host, to crush their enemies and rule the world of man. And the angels are already fractured and facing betrayal. Like heroes of old, Riv, Drem and the Bright Star’s warriors must battle to save their land. But can the light triumph when the dark is rising?
Continue the heroic fantasy series with A Time of Courage.
'Reminds me of why I became a fantasy enthusiast in the first place' – Robin Hobb on A Time of Dread.
'A great read that accelerates the pace and goes one up on its excellent predecessor . . . Exciting, action-packed fantasy' – Mark Lawrence, author of Prince of Thorns'This is extraordinarily good, an epic feat of the imagination. In this series Gwynne is setting a new benchmark in fantasy. I’d love to see it on screen' – Giles Kristian, author of Lancelot
Please allow me a moment to breathe before getting into the guts of my A Time for Blood review. I absolutely fell in love with A Time for Dread but book two blew my mind. I have the utmost respect for John Gwynne’s writing style and his prowess of delivering a story with such raw intensity. It’s a completely different type of magic. I’ve got so many ARC copies I need to read at the moment but I just couldn’t deny what the heart wants – and it wanted to carry on with this series just like the body needs oxygen to breathe!
A Time of Blood is book two in the Of Blood and Bone series and it continues in the same vein that A Time of Dread left it in. characterisation that just gets stronger with each book. Battle scenes that has you heart palpitate with each swing of an axe. It leaves you hungering for more with Gwynne’s swift and brutal technicality. Nothing about this book is slow or lacking, its to the point from the first page, an elbow to the jugular. The book is the perfect build-up to book three, the conclusion that I am hungering for.
John Gwynne has once again left me at a loss for words. There is one thing that is always a foregone conclusion and that is his impeccable writing. The narration is with purpose, each word soaking into you like rain in a storm, it soaks you until it becomes bone deep. It’s categorized as Epic Fantasy and you can’t get more epic than this series. The world building, the emotion…the blood lust. If your looking for a fantasy novel that pays attention to the favourite characters look away because Gwynne isn’t afraid to torture or kill off well loved characters.
A Time of Blood is hard hitting with a pace that is more likely to snap necks than comfort. Being reintroduced to well loved characters in hellish circumstances made me panic but Gwynne knows what he’s doing so I just had to trust it would all be ok. The three hero’s, Riv, Bleda and Drem are all interconnected under a bleeding sky. They all share a relative moral compass but would any of them make it out unharmed? This isn’t a happily ever after and you will read page after page with a physical lump in your throat.
It’s a story that feels like a stab in the back at times. It hurts but it intends to. It settles under the skin and takes root, needing to consume and be consumed. Motivations and actions speak loud and clearly, whether for good or evil and Gwynne nailed it with laser like precision.
A Time of Blood just proves that no-one can write epic fantasy quite like Gwynne. The intensity never slackens just like the vice grip that it has you under. Buckle up, it may cause whiplash.
ABOUT JOHN GWYNNE
My parents are from Wales, but I was born in Singapore because my dad was in the RAF. We moved around pretty regularly, roughly every three years or so.
I saw a fair bit of the UK because of this semi-nomadic lifestyle, beautiful landscapes that left their mark on me and I may have turned our travelling into an imagined fantastical quest.
I studied and lectured at Brighton University. I’ve played double bass in a rock ‘n’ roll band, packed soap, been a waiter in a French restaurant, worked on landscaping and carpentry crews, travelled the USA and Canada.
I’m married with four children and a handful of dogs, most of whom will chew anything that stands still for too long. I suspect one of them thinks she’s a wolf.
I live in Eastbourne running a small family business with my wife (which means doing what she tells me to do) rejuvenating vintage furniture (which means lifting, chopping, painting and gluing, not necessarily in that order).
When I’m not writing or fixing furniture I can be found training for battle with spear, sword and shield on the South Downs, dressed in a coat of mail and standing in a shieldwall.
(Sometimes I can be found stuck in my coat of mail. It’s harder than it looks).
I am a passionate Viking re-enactor, standing alongside my three sons, who share my passion for history and swords.
The reading bug came early. I clearly remember my teacher settling us all down in a circle and then beginning to read from Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three. I was around seven or eight years old, I think. It was a slippery slope from there, filled with Hobbits and Ringwraith’s, magic, minotaur’s and snake-haired monsters, dragons and giant spiders and Holy Grails. A love of fantasy, mythology and ancient history sank its claws deep into me.
Even so, I didn’t begin writing until I was in my early thirties, and only then because my wife and children encouraged me to do so.
I can remember vividly the moment I decided to have a go at writing. It kind of happened by accident, really. I used to teach at Brighton University, but stepped out of that due to the poor health of my daughter, Harriett. She is profoundly disabled, my wife and I being her sole carers. Early in 2002, which is when the Faithful and the Fallen began, I have a vivid memory of returning home from watching The Two Towers at the cinema with my family. We were sitting around the table and having dinner, and Caroline, my wonderful wife, said.
“You should try writing a book!”
I told her that was a silly idea, explaining that there were necessary ingredients to writing a book that I was most definitely lacking, such as characters, a plot, and talent. But then my children were caught up in the excitement of it all and so my resistance began to crumble. I had been thinking about taking up a hobby, one that I could do from home, as that’s where I spent most of my time because of looking after Harriett, as well as our vintage furniture business, which is also run from home. So eventually I thought.
“Why not. It might be fun.”
So that’s how I started writing the Faithful and the Fallen, as a hobby.
Malice, my debut novel, is inspired by the epic and heroic fantasy I fell in love with, and then thrown in the pot with my love of mythology and history. At its heart Malice is a coming-of-age tale about a young man named Corban, who yearns to become a warrior, although there is a lot more going on than just Corban’s tale. It’s a story of love and loyalty, betrayal and hope set in a feral, war-torn land that is prowled by monsters and on the brink of the God-War, about to be fought by angels and demons.
Malice was published by Pan Macmillan in 2012 and went on to win the David Gemmell Morningstar Award for Best Fantasy Debut of 2012. That was a truly wonderful moment, as David Gemmell is a hero of mine and one of the reasons I write.
The following three books in the series – Valour, Ruin and Wrath, were all shortlisted for the David Gemmell Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novels of 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Wrath, the fourth and final instalment of the Faithful and the Fallen, won Fantasy Faction.com and Booknest.eu awards for best fantasy novel of 2016.
My new series has gone back to the Banished Lands. Book one, A Time of Dread, was published in January 2018. Book two, A Time of Blood, will be published in March 2019.
Drew @ The Tattooed Book Geek
Great review, I love Gwynne’s work, absolutely amazing author and you are in for an absolute treat when you read A Time of Courage. 🙂
I can’t wait to get stuck into it!
Some day I will read John Gwynne, I swear!
You really must!
I’m so glad to hear that the second book is just as good as A Time of Dread. Yay for awesome reads!