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Publisher's Summary

Set in a brand-new, Norse-inspired world and packed with myth, magic and bloody vengeance, The Shadow of the Gods begins an epic new fantasy saga from best-selling author John Gwynne.

After the gods warred and drove themselves to extinction, the cataclysm of their fall shattered the land of Vigrið.

Now a new world is rising, where power-hungry jarls feud and monsters stalk the woods and mountains. A world where the bones of the dead gods still hold great power for those brave - or desperate - enough to seek them out.  

As whispers of war echo across the mountains and fjords, fate follows in the footsteps of three people: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman who has rejected privilege in pursuit of battle fame and a thrall who seeks vengeance among the famed mercenaries known as the Bloodsworn. 

All three will shape the fate of the world as it once more falls under the shadow of the gods....

©2021 John Gwynne (P)2021 Hachette Audio UK

Critic Reviews

"John Gwynne is one of the modern masters of heroic fantasy." (Adrian Tchaikovsky)

"John Gwynne writes fantasy with the heart of a hero and the inventiveness of a master mage." (Sebastien de Castell)

What listeners say about The Shadow of the Gods

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

non believable female characters

men and woman are different, if you want to put value then both in terms of rowing a galley or fighting, you are going to need to explain how that makes sense. magic, females in this world/ species are larger and stronger or whatever, explain/show how that dynamic manifests in this society.

otherwise it just makes everything so unrelatable and unbelievable.

And I know its fantasy, but dragons, trolls, magic all needs to be explained to make sense. you can use other authors work, or rely on the non fiction world. but this does neither, therefore it doesn't work.

9 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome!

What an awesome story. I struggled for a long time to find something as good as The First Law series, but this looks like the beginning of something really good. Loved it! If you love Viking type stories, you won’t be able to get enough of this.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Epic saga!

This book is awesome! John Gwynne is my newest favourite author. This story was lightning paced, full of battles, fights, gore and blood. The supernatural side is brilliant and the characters are great as well.
The mythology is awesome too. Its a current day Vikingr saga, loved it a lot.
Colin Mace is an excellent narrator here too, perfect gravity with a deep gravelly voice to match the theme.
Cannot wait for the next book.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can’t wait for the next one

Realistically this is a 8.5/10 but 4/5 stars doesn’t sound as good. Easily a top 10 book for the year

A liked a lot of the aspects of this book but the brilliant world was what has left me wanting more the most. Not telling every little detail or lore-dumping was a great choice as the wider lore/ past that had led to the current world is fed naturally through events or character interactions.
I want more of the world so badly that I’m going to run RPG sessions in the world to satisfy that itch till the next book comes out. I don’t usually read books for action sequences but these ones are so well written I’m beginning to change my mind on that.

I’d liken the writing to Jo Abercrombie strong characters moving the plot along/ being a part of major events less politics focusing on war bands or individuals rather than nations (for now at least there’s certainly setup for that sort of thing).
The book also sticks the landing
The performance is excellent but doesn’t go above and beyond (music or multiple narrators).

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent story - but too violent!

The story and world-building is excellent - But I could only get half way thru.. There is too much blood, gore and violence for me! Ok, kill the poor giant - but why do you want to cut his testis off in the process? And get sprayed by his blood! I feel we are trying to match the gore of the Colosseum? "Are you not entertained?"

2 people found this helpful

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  • Tim
  • 13-12-2021

Great grimdark

Will definitely scratch that grimdark fantasy itch. Blood, gore and compelling characters. Did take about four hours to start placing names and getting familiar, but that's the part of any good fantasy world building. Will come back for the second in the series!

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Vikings meets Game of Thrones.

Enjoyed this quite alot. If you like medieval fantasy and mythological creatures, this is for you.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars

Just read any major fiction instead

Going to start a drinking game with this book. Drink every time a new character is introduced that you'll never get to know or care about, drink every time the narration says "thought cage" (as if the writer uses the same language as his characters)...you will be well pissed by the first hour👍
Obviously John Gwynne is a fan of GOT, Vikings, probably the Stormlight archives, Joe Abercrombie, and I even started to suspect, Twilight, in the end.
That's a credit I can't get back. Going to listen to Name of the wind... to wash the taste out of my thought cage.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

intense story with a mild narrator.

loved the book. Great pacing throughout. Events you expect to happen do, but has some satisfying twists in there as well.

A shame though that I didnt feel connected to the world because of the narrator. His somber and lamenting tone are great for atmosphere, but really kills the mood for dialogue. Lot of snarling in the text thats delivered with the same enthusiasm as you would describe doing mundane household chores.

I get it. Violence, brutality, death are all common in this world. Still kills the mood when the person guiding you through this world makes it sound so mundane.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Absolutely amazing

If you like medieval fantasy this is it! So many ups and downs, the magic and genetic systems are so cool in this universe

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-09-2021

What?!

What the F****ck did I just listen to??!!

Best audio book this year period.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 07-06-2021

A master storyteller at work

John Gwynne has transitioned from one believable world to the next. This story takes you on a ride that never allows you to breathe beyond the gasp it takes to get to the next chapter. Shield wall to Shield wall, this saga drags you through mud, blud and gore to a breathtaking end. Definitely a story worth your time!

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-06-2022

Empty thin characters

Finally finished. Took me 5 or seven attempts to get rolling and listening to this book regularly. Boring. It gets more interesting with about 6 hours remaining. Problem is that the characters are totally bland, they have no interesting conflicting virtues or interests.
First character - bad ass warrior smashing skulls to get her son back
Second character - bad ass warrior smashing skulls to get renown for smashing skulls (and a glimpse of daddy issues that don't play a meaningful part)
Third character - a warrior having a limited understanding of the world, untrained but talented in smashing skulls.

There is nothing to tell about their personalities. It's just a bunch of typical DnD human fighters that you hear jokes about.
The world is somewhat interesting once the characters start to explore the mythical lands and creatures, but since it's so hard to care for the empty characters the adventures are boring. For me this book would have been better as a lore encyclopedia, just cut out all the meaningless characters and their time wasting adventures.

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  • Tuang Dheandhanoo
  • 24-05-2022

It's gripping

I bought the 2nd audiobook right away after finishing this one. The story is getting more exciting, and I want the 3rd book right now.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-05-2021

Wow.

Damn that was good. Narrator is good and story is great. Give it a listen.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Samuelson Obigbesan
  • 09-05-2021

Finished it in a day

Step into a world of blistering carnage, mercenaries in search of battle fame, legends in the making and ancient Norse inspired gods.
Feel the burn of your muscles as you row around the fiords and battle in the shield-wall.

I finished this masterpiece in a day, I just couldn’t put it down. Each of the characters were compelling for their own reasons. From the slave seeking revenge, to the noble woman seeking fame and the bloodiest of all, the warrior seeking her child. John Gwynne’s world came alive to all my senses, as I heard the creaking of the dragon ships, smelled the sea, the smoky mead-halls and felt the jolt of shield clashing against shield in battle.

I’m sure there are better reviews than mine. I’m only putting down what this novel made me feel. I laughed, I exclaimed in surprise, frustration and triumph. I felt the wonder, the camaraderie between the characters and I just did not want to leave Vigrið.

Last but not least, Collin Mace was an excellent choice as a narrator for the audiobook, his gruff and versatile voice fully immersed me into the world.
This was a four stars for me. I really Liked it.

31 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • dinks
  • 05-07-2021

Good story

Good story but I did get a little lost in places. The story follows 3 groups of people but 2 groups have similar situations & a couple of similar names, I was 1/2 way through before I realised what I thought was 1 group was actually 2! (if that makes sense)

15 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • A. J. Watkins
  • 02-09-2021

Poor narrator

Hard to review in it's entirety as I had to give up during the second chapter due to the poor narration. The voice of the narrator is gravelly and has the potential to add much to the audio but his intonation and pacing is very odd so it sounded stilted and halting. I have however read very good reviews of the story and the content is very promising so I will read the book. But if you're used to a high calibre of narrator such as Tim Gerard Reynolds (Red Rising) or Rupert Degas (Kingkiller Chronicles) or Angele Masters (The Crimson Empire series) then sadly this narrator my disappoint.

10 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Kerry B.
  • 15-08-2021

Tortuously Long , Bloody, convoluted and confusing

I found this story torturous to listen to, hoping that eventually things would become clear and the different threads ,of the very complicated story would come together. After never ending graphic descriptions of bloody killing, eighteen hours later some of the threads finally connected at the very end, to then leave you waiting for the next book to maybe see how it all comes together. 18 hours of my life I won’t get back.
If endless waiting, for a minuscule crumb at the end , is your thing, then this is the book for you.

8 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • A. Smith
  • 09-07-2021

Gripping

This has served as my introduction to John Gwynne's work; I look forward to the next instalment with much anticipation. The story follows three main characters, but as it unfolds it becomes apparent that there are complex strands of coherent storyline between them all. Gwynne is an excellent story-teller and he manages to pull a few surprises out of the bag with almost every chapter, ensuring that the reader/listener is compelled to go on with the tale. It doesn't disappoint at any level.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Roy H.
  • 24-09-2021

Enchanting.

Such a skillfully woven tale.A fine tapestry of words and visions that enthrall you .Make you want more .

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Pau
  • 12-08-2021

Great but it needs a Dramaties Personae

Only negative is that the names makes it hard to follow towards the end, you don't know who is who form the side characters

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Louis
  • 29-09-2021

Amazing

Norse-style characters with a bespoke pantheon mixed with fantasy mixed with epic twists. can't wait for the sequel. took a couple of chapters to familiarise with the characters but worth the wait!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mark
  • 08-08-2021

very pleasant surprise

exceptional narration, enjoyed every word. highly recommend and can't wait for the next one

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mrs J E Close
  • 03-08-2021

Great immersing adventure

Brilliant performance of a great book - need to pay attention to who is who or you have to go back.

2 people found this helpful

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