Heroes of the Valley
A review of the audio book by Jonathon Stroud
By Neldoreth
January 5, 2011



It depicts a scene...

Introduction

This book was inspired by the viking sagas, which is a bit of subject matter that already compels me, not only through the texts themselves, but all of the other material (Lord of the Rings to name just one) that has been inspired by them without being wieghed down by lengthy, arduous text! Going into this book though I didn't know that, so I was delightfully drawn in.


A Little More Detail - but no spoilers

This book tells the story of young Halli Sveinsson, a second son of noble birth associated with one of the major families in an early viking/saxon type world. Like the viking sagas, it's generally a hostorically-feasible setting with bits of the super natural scattered throughout.

The presentation of the book is pretty cool; each chapter starts off with narration from the saga that defines how the world/culture was started and features the actions of the heroes that set up the great families in antiquity. Those stories are great fun in themselves. Meanwhile, the story of Halli tells the accurate version of what is to become another episode (or two) in the saga of the land. I really love the implied contrast between the reality that inspired the sagas and the sagas themselves.

I also really related to Halli's story; it's almost like it was written for me, and I am sure that many miniature gamers will have a similar empathy towards the main character. Not only that, but it has a strong socially and culturally progressive message, which I really appreciate!

Finally, the presentation is excellent. David Thorn does the reading and he is a fantastic voice actor who offers great narrative qualities.


Conclusion

Over all this book is great. It's so good in fact that I listened to it twice in a row while painting my undead skeleton spearmen and revenenats for my Undead Army project. The storyline, the viking-saga-inspired world, and the presentation make this one likely my favourite audio book in recallable memory! Highly recommended!