Wednesday, 17 July 2013

The Wind Thrums The Ropes Once More - CROWBONE by Robert Low

Crowbone by Robert Low
I won't pretend Robert Low did not throw me when I first found out #5 in the series was not going to be in the voice of his creation Orm Bearslayer. In fact thrown is an understatement. I had spent four previous books of this series inside his head - Orm's, not Robert Low's - and naturally there was some disappointment to discover Orm was not narrating Crowbone.
All was not lost though. There came a little thrill the closer I got to reading the latest instalment in the Oathsworn Series. Here would be a book that may spice the series up. Give the reader something new to chew on for a few years. A literary version of being slapped then kissed.
I am not averse to spicing things up in a series and I believe it worked with Crowbone.

Having now read it I have to admit that I can see exactly why Low did it. I can see that the author could have easily stopped writing the Oathsworn Series and gone off and started a whole new series. An author must go where his inspiration and creativity leads him, but there are the readers and fans to consider aren't there?
With Crowbone, Low found the middle ground. He found a way to please the fans and please himself at the same time. Another Oathsworn series that included Orm, but not in the first person. A book based on a character, but also not in the first person, that we met in child form in the previous books. I am of course speaking of Olaf Tryggvasson. To those who know him, Crowbone.

And here we find ourselves well placed to deliberate on Little Crowbone. Our protaganist. Our impudent scamp who sat on our purview in the first 4 books entertaining us from time to time with his stories and his distinctly cryptic and watchful bicoloured gaze.
In this instalment Crowbone is no longer the peculiar boy with a penchant for an axe kill. He has grown in attitude as well as stature and has become more unpredictable and erratic in his choices. But what more should you expect from an Orm and Finn child prodigy.
We all knew it was coming didn't we?

I had a borderline profound moment while reading the book. In the beginning Orm steps from the shadow, no longer the narrator, but for the first time ever, only a figure in the scene.
Seeing Orm through Crowbone's eyes was quite the experience for a fan of the series. Scarred, haggard, neither a youth nor a young man (by Medieval standards). I don't think that I would have seen Orm like that if it were not for Robert Low's change of tack from first person.

I will not reveal any of the story. I feel you must seek that out yourself through the pages of the book. Besides, the back of the book can give you the base if you want it. The rest will be better enjoyed if you unravel it slowly on your own.

Since this book, Crowbone, is such a change in style to the previous books, it is possible to read it without reading the first four books. But I would not recommend it. In my honest opinion the road that has been laid behind it is best journeyed first. You will surely enjoy Crowbone more and understand the characters more if you start with book one, The Whale Road.

- MM

Please NB* I read Crowbone when it first came out and seeing as I did not have this blog then, I felt this is a review that I would want to share as Medieval Mayhem now. I hope you enjoy it. Even if it took a while to get here.


  1. Wow, great review (Terri?). am sharing this in my group The Review on Facebook

  2. Yep, always Terri on the blog. I am Medieval Mayhem. :-)
    What's the link to your fb page? So I can like it.

  3. thanks Terri!its

    I would be very honoured!