Anvil of God, Carolingian Chronicles #1, by J. Boyce Gleason Details the Beginning of Europe Middle Ages

Anvil of GodThis book embodies one of my favorite historical time periods and the one I most enjoyed during my undergraduate studies–the Middle Ages! Taking place in the 700s, Anvil of God is the first book in J. Boyce Gleason’s The Carolingian Chronicles and based on this book, I am definitely looking forward to more of this series!

Gleason is wonderful writer, with a great flow and deep character development. Even though this is a larger size book, and I had a million things happening the last few weeks that might make me not get any heavy reading done (including being ill), I was so intrigued by this book and read it quite quickly. The pace was swift and the content interesting. As most historians know, the amount of information available from this time period is inadequate for most researchers and authors. However, with some amount of facts, great writers can mold a story based on researched observations, knowing the times and how people might have acted, and the rest is of course guesswork, but Gleason pens a novel that is highly authentic and admirable. He’s written an account for the history shelves of Charles Mantel, or Charles the Hammer, and his family that allows readers a glimpse into what motivated this family’s pursuits and details their progress and lasting legacies.

I enjoy stories in which strength, courage, determination, and motivation are shown in characters. Charles the Hammer ruled as Mayor of the Palace, and de facto ruler of Francia, from 718 until 741 even though he was a bastard son and was instrumental in the creation of the middle ages in Europe, including things such as feudalism and knighthood. He did things his way politically, never swayed by protocol.  He controlled the pagans, stopped Muslim advancement, and is known for a large amount of political and social advancement even though he never became a true King in title.

In Gleason’s book he passes away fairly early in the timeline of the book, so the novel really showcases more of the drama that ensues after he leaves his seat to two of his sons, Carloman (who will later father Charlamagne, the first Emperor since the Fall of Rome) and Pepin. History enters into the Carolingian ages where even more religious and political strife abounds. I enjoyed how Gleason’s book showcased not only the male players of the time, but also their wives, who were also power mavens.

In this book, there is so much history of politics and religion and how they intertwined to change the course of history.  I wish I had more time currently to discuss the many facets of what Gleason presents, but instead I will say for now that I highly recommended this book to historical readers, especially those who love the medieval ages. However, for anyone who loves history at all, this book would be a must.  If you’re a reader who thinks they might not normally like this time period, you will after this book!! It’s full of drama, intrigue, violence (it was pretty brutal during those times!), and harsh love and family relations. It will keep you captivated even when you shouldn’t have time to be entranced by it, so I recommend carving out some time and really diving into this book!

I am really looking forward to more in this series by Gleason. He packs a lot of detail and history into his novels, but yet it is a smooth read and doesn’t read like a textbook. You’ll be educated, but also entertained and enjoy the reading journey immensely. The writing is well-crafted, well-edited, and overall, well-done! If you like Game of Thrones, you’ll certainly enjoy this as a next series to grab ahold of for those long winter nights!

ANVIL OF GOD, Synopsis~

Anvil of GodPublication Date: July 26, 2013
Paperback; 440p
ISBN-10: 1475990197

It is 741. After subduing the pagan religions in the east, halting the march of Islam in the west, and conquering the continent for the Merovingian kings, mayor of the palace Charles the Hammer has one final ambition-the throne. Only one thing stands in his way-he is dying.

Charles cobbles together a plan to divide the kingdom among his three sons, betroth his daughter to a Lombard prince to secure his southern border, and keep the Church unified behind them through his friend Bishop Boniface. Despite his best efforts, the only thing to reign after Charles’s death is chaos. His daughter has no intention of marrying anyone, let alone a Lombard prince. His two eldest sons question the rights of their younger pagan stepbrother, and the Church demands a steep price for their support. Son battles son, Christianity battles paganism, and Charles’s daughter flees his court for an enemy’s love.

Based on a true story, Anvil of God is a whirlwind of love, honor, sacrifice, and betrayal that follows a bereaved family’s relentless quest for power and destiny.

Author J. Boyce Gleason, Biography~

J. Boyce GleasonAfter a 25-year career in crisis management and public affairs, J. Boyce Gleason began writing historical fiction and is publishing his first novel ANVIL OF GOD, Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles.

With an AB in history from Dartmouth College, Gleason brings a strong understanding of the past to his historical fiction. He is married, has three sons and lives in Virginia.

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