The Road To Rus’
In the 9th Century, Rome had long since fallen in the west, and its new capital in the East — Constantinople — desired to reclaim the empire’s former glory. The world was divided and splintered into warring tribes. The histories and legends of the past were told by song, life was hard, the climate was unforgiving, and the Vikings fearlessly roamed the known world.
In Michael Hnatyshyn’s new book The Road to Rus’, the reader is transported back to a time without laws and without borders — when life was cheap and the warrior’s sword ruled the day. A selection of tribes, along with their various allies and compelling leader Vratymyr, take on the new Byzantine Empire, daring to dream that they can form their own nation — a homeland that would ultimately become modern day Ukraine.
Some of the book’s greatest strengths are its attention to detail, the author’s deep knowledge of the time period, and its layered characters. There are parts of this book that feel like history, like you are suddenly knee-deep in a sweeping narrative that a brilliant historian has managed to stitch together. The author found a way to miraculously bridge the gap between our time and our long forgotten past. Other times, I’ll read a passage or finish a chapter and get the feeling that I am reading a great piece of fiction. Some of this book seems right out of Welsh mythology or The Chronicles of Prydain, with its similar dark undertones and complex characters. Other times, I feel like I am consumed in the same culture and world of the great novel the Eaters of the Dead. Similar to Michael Crichton’s great epic, Michael Hnatyshyn’s novel has managed to effectively combine historical events and concepts into this tale of middle aged combat with a touch of romanticism.
Hnatyshyn is a lifelong scholar of middle aged culture and customs, and it shows in every page of his book. It is simply impossible to not get sucked into the book and its characters. I hope this becomes a series of books, and, despite being a novel, there is something for the history lover in every family. Richly textured and inventive, this book is highly recommended.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||316 pages|
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