Today I’m pleased to welcome you to my stop on The Wolf of Kings blog tour, celebrating the new digital release of the second book in the series called Shield Breaker. Now, I haven’t read the second book yet although I’m really hoping I can get the chance to soon, but today instead I will be sharing my review of the first book in the series Oath Bound which is such an amazing read! You can find out more about the book and author below as well as my thoughts, but first I’d just like to say a big thank you to Andrew from Head of Zeus for a chance to be on this tour and for a copy of the book. 🙂 Now let’s find out why I have enjoyed this book so much…
Title: Oath Bound (The Wolf of Kings #1)
Author: Richard Cullen
Cover design: Nick Venables
Publisher: Aries (Head of Zeus)
Genre: Historical fiction
Book format: Paperback
Description: The champion of a dead king has nothing left to lose…and nothing more to fear.
Hastings, 1066. Styrkar the Dane stumbles wounded and delirious fron the corpse-strewn battlefield of Senlac Hill. He has watched his king butchered at the hands of foreign knights, seen his countrymen defeated in battle, and he will not stop until there is a reckoning.
Styrkar embarks on a bloody quest to avenge his dead master, becoming an outlaw in the wilds and earning a fearsome reputation. when a Breton knight seeks to track down this fugitive and make his own name, he can little envisage the task he has set himself. For Styrkar, the Red Wolf, last surviving housecarl to King Harold Godwinson, will carve the story of his vengeance in Frankish flesh…or die in the attempt.
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Wow what an amazing, exciting and gripping story! As a child Styrkar the Dane was taken from his home and made into a slave by the Norsemen who invaded his village. Some years later,he ends up on the shores of Britain where he is saved from his Norse captors by the soon to be king Harold Godwinson. Ever loyal to the man who freed him, Stykar ends up going into battle for his king more than once. But soon the Duke of Normandy invades the country and after that battle King Harold is killed. Enraged by the invading Franks and what they’ve done to his king, Styrkar sets off on a journey to enact revenge on all of the invaders. But things get complicated, and while Styrkar is out for revenge for King Harold’s death, someone else is out to take their revenge on him.
I can’t believe how much I have enjoyed this story from the very first pages! The book begins with a brief prologue on Senlac Hill (after the Battle of Hastings) in 1066 before going back in time to when Styrkar is just a boy. I loved this introduction to Styrkar’s life, first as we find out his back story with his mother and where he comes from, and later his life as a slave to the Norsemen before being freed in England to then serve King Harold.
As the story moves on Styrkar ends up close to Harold and his family. He develops a bond with the man who freed him, so when King Harold dies though, Styrkar is so angry he sets out on a quest for vengence, vowing to kill every Frank who has invaded the country. The book is split into four parts, and each part is filled with short chapters which are all so interesting and exciting to read. The book pretty fast paced, with lots happening throughout. Even when there are slower moments such as the time Styrkar spends with Harold’s wife and sons, the action never slows down, with so many things happening and this playing out quite like a movie in my mind.
Although following Styrkar’s story alone was interesting, I did find it even more interesting when we start to see things happening from the point of view of other characters too, especially Ronan. The chapters often alternate between what is happening to Styrkar and Ronan, as well as some other characters. I especially liked finding out more about Gisela whose story gets more interesting the further you read into her tale.
The story is so good throughout. There are lots of tense moments, interesting characters met and lots of great battle scenes too. There is a lot of action happening and I like Styrkar’s character as he grows through the story and realises the consequences of his actions and what really matters and is important to him. The ending has a great build up to it, a brilliant battle and finishes in an interesting way. I like what happens,with the last scene openning up the way forward for the second book in the series, Shield Breaker, which I really want to read now as I want to know what happens to Styrkar and that other character!
The book has the occasional use of the f and s swear words and there is a lot of violence, battles and fighting. Some of it is a bit gory, some deaths, but to me this book isn’t as gory as some books I’ve read, which I like. There is a list of place names at the front of the book, the old names used in the story and what some of these places are called today. There is glossary at the end of the book too, which I wish I’d known about before reading this as it makes it easier to understand what a few key words are in the story without prior knowledge or having to look them up.
Overall this is such an amazing read and a book which I just couldn’t put down! I enjoy a lot of historical fiction from the medieval period but this is definitely up there with some of my favourites! I can’t wait to read the next book in the series Shield Breaker, and can’t recommend this enough if you like exciting medieval historical fiction with lots of battles and a brilliant and exciting story!
Buy the Books
England, 1068: a land gripped in the iron fist of Frankish invaders. But the Conqueror does not sit easily on his fledgling throne. Rebellion is rife, and the flames of uprising have been ignited in every corner of the kingdom. Thrown back into this crucible is Styrkar the Dane, former housecarl of the slain King Harold. Forced to travel to Ireland by his deadliest enemy, he must risk the fates of his brothers-in-arms in order to protect the one thing he loves. So begins a journey that will take Styrkar to the royal court of Dublin, and the frigid climes of the north of England, for loyalty, love and vengeance. He will be tested, beaten and broken, but can any man keep the Red Wolf chained for long?
About the Author
Richard Cullen originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire. Oath Bound, his debut historical adventure novel, was longlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2022. As well as being a writer of historical adventure, he has also written a number of epic fantasy series as R.S. Ford. If you’d like to learn more about Richard’s books, and read free exclusive content, you can visit his website at follow him on Twitter at, or join him on Instagram.
Blog Tour Banner
I hope you’ve enjoyed my stop on the blog today for this amazing book! Please do check out the other earlier stops on the tour on the banner below, which is a gif and shows which book is being reviewed on which day! 😀
What do you think of this book? Do you like historical fiction? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂