The Wolf Sea is the second book in Robert Low's Oathsworn series. After barely escaping from Attila the Hun’s hoard with his life, Orm Ruriksson is nominated as the new leader of the Oathsworn. The first problem Orm faces is that the Oathsworn are divided, as half of them were lost when the Oathsworn’s nemesis Starkad attacked. The second problem is that Orm has become very vulnerable because he now has the Rune Serpent Sword and many rich and powerful people want it. Orm has to make a decision. Should he return to Attila’s horde with the remaining Oathsworn or should he travel East in search of the oar-mates who are lost? Orm chooses the latter and sails to Miklagard, the Great City (Constantinople). However once there, Orm is attack in a dark alley and the Rune Serpent is stolen, by as Orm later finds out, Starkad. With this humiliation from the hands of Starkad, Orm and the Oathsworn follow him further east to Cyprus where they hope they can retrieve the Rune Serpent and get some revenge. But they soon find that they have beaten Starkad there and can use this as an opportunity to tarnish his reputation by posing as his band.
However, during their mission to ruin Starkad’s reputation, Orm uncovers a secret that puts his and the Oathsworn’s life at risk and must flee further East out of the grasp of the Byzantine Emperor. When they arrive in Antioch, they discover the whereabouts of their old oar-mates and set out towards Fatty Breeks or Fateh Baariq, a remote Mine in the scorching desert. On their journey to the mine the Oathsworn come across some terrible rumours of cannibalism and death in the area around Fateh Baariq and rush to save their comrades. But what they find when they get there is nothing compared to what the rumours said! Orm must keep the Oathsworn together with the promise of riches and fame if he will ever get the Rune Serpent back!
For me, this book went very slowly! I don’t know why because I did enjoy the story and am looking forward to reading the next book in the series. However like The Whale Road, I did find this book to be confusing at times. The swapping between languages makes the book a little harder to read as one city has about three different names! As well as the names of some of the characters, which I thought were quite similar to each other. Also it seems that Low builds up supporting characters from the Oathsworn and then kills the off quite quickly! For me it made it harder to remember who’s who as many of Orm’s oar-mates kept dying!
Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book! I would suggest it to anyone who is a Robert Low fan. I would also suggest it to any fans of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series. Great book, looking forward to reading the next one!
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