Earlier this year I was happy to read Gurzil by I, Anonymous. The first in the Wars of Wrath series, it ended on a cliffhanger, so I was eager to see what would happen next. The second installment is Badon Hill, a transitional book that sets up what is sure to be an exciting end.
Spanning just a few days in July 543 C.E., Badon Hill picks up right where Gurzil left off. It follows the same characters — George, Morgana, Sabra, Kaboan, and more — but also introduces some new point of view characters as well. As you can tell from some of those names, this series features characters from well-known legends and mythology. It’s a bit of a retelling of the Arthurian legends, but is combined with a retelling of Northern African mythologies and history as well. However, whereas Gurzil spent more time on the characters based in Libya, Badon Hill is more focused on those located in Britain.
Although Gurzil had a fair amount of backstory when introducing new characters, Badon Hill offers even more. For some this may slow down the pacing a bit. For me, however, I appreciated getting to know more about the characters’ backgrounds, personal issues to overcome, and goals going forward. In fact, many of my favorite passages appeared in some of the more backstory-heavy chapters. For example, one chapter about Pudentius depicts his time as a prisoner, and it is terrifying and nightmarish. Another shorter passage follows Kaboan as he tries to rescue Sabra; while trying to get her to safety, flashbacks make the narrative similarly dreamlike and haunting. One of my favorite scenes involves George, and it could be compared to the scene in The Fellowship of the Ring when Galadriel invites Frodo to look into the fountain. Like Frodo, George has an opportunity to see something that could change his entire perspective.
While these bits of backstory can be dark or heavy, much of Badon Hill is actually a lot of fun. More than Gurzil, this one has a lot of humor and is at times playful. There’s also plenty of action, with battle scenes that will keep you on the edge of your seat. For a long time, the dragon Gurzil is barely mentioned in Badon Hill, but eventually he does appear in all his glory, and he’s more than a little displeased. We also finally get to learn more of Gurzil’s past and connection to some other characters up in Britain.
There was some potential romance set up in the first book; in Badon Hill, it’s looking more and more like a love triangle… or maybe a love square? These romances are sure to get even more tangled as the story progresses.
As with the first book, I love that there are so many important and strong women characters. Sabra and Morgana get less attention here, but Gwenivier rises up as a key player. Iseult also continues to be amazing in her own right. One of my favorite quotes comes early on, when Sabra muses, “Perhaps the prince was not her hero, nor her monster. Maybe he came to her dreams so that she might see that she could be her own hero. Her own monster.” Powerful!
Two small notes I should mention: First, Badon Hill is filled with anachronistic language. There is modern-sounding swearing, and many phrases reference things or events that wouldn’t have happened yet. For me, that doesn’t detract from the story. As long as the anachronisms are consistent and self-aware, then they’re okay in my book. That seems to be the case here. Second, and my only real critique of the book, is that it could use an editor. It is independently published, and I recognize that the circumstances are quite different. But an editor to fine-tune the language would help immensely. Even so, the story itself is captivating.
Apart from some key battle scenes, important conversations, and flashbacks that fill out some characters, Badon Hill still feels very much like it’s continuing to set the stage. Indeed, the book ends on another cliffhanger, so hopefully we won’t have to wait too long for book #3. The final chapter here does introduced an intriguing character, and features another of my favorite quotes: “I strongly suggest you become a cat person.” I’ll give no context; you’ll have to read it yourself and find out what that’s all about!
Badon Hill is a dense, fun, transitional book, and in some ways I liked it more than the first book. It’s made me even more excited for what comes next. I, Anonymous recently revealed that the current working title for the third book is The Order of Two, and it features a character “darker and more terrifying than Gurzil.” I can hardly wait to read that!
Get the Book
You can buy Badon Hill here – it’s available as a paperback and ebook.
|Badon Hill by I, Anonymous|
|Series||The Wars of Wrath (#2)|
|Genre||Historical Fantasy; Historical Fiction|
|Number of Pages||337|
|Format I Read||Paperback|
|Original Publication Date||August 13, 2022|
THE DRAGON GURZIL HAS LOST HIS PRIZE
In Byzantine-occupied North Africa, Princess Sabra, must now contend with new threats. For the arrival of her father and the high priest Ierna brings new dangers and new conspiracies.
As treachery brews on the sands of Lybia; far to the north in Britain, the battle for the island is at hand.
While the arrival of the newly crowned Arthur Pendragon gives new hope to the outnumbered Briton forces, it also brings new conflicts. Now if they are to survive the coming battle, and defeat the Saxons, the Briton lords will need to put aside old hatreds and bitter rivalries.
Complicating matters is Arthur’s impending marriage to georges former lover, Gwenivier of Camliard. Now with the Saxon army fast approaching the prince of Cear Celemion and the future queen of Camelot must come to terms; both with each other and the ghosts of their shared past.
As George and Sabra both move towards their inevitable confrontations they begin to realize the same dark truth.
Those whom they trusted and loved have betrayed them.
FOR THIS HAS BEEN FORETOLD
AND THIS WILL COME TO PASS
About the Author
I write to preserve the legends of yesterday, in hopes that others to come will record the legends of today.
I am Outis, I am No Man, I am Nemo.
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