The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Shadow of the Gods (The Bloodsworn Saga, #1)

by John Gwynne

'A masterfully crafted, brutally compelling Norse-inspired epic' Anthony Ryan


A century has passed since the gods fought and drove themselves to extinction. Now only their bones remain, promising great power to those brave enough to seek them out.

As whispers of war echo across the land of Vigrid, fate follows in the footsteps of three warriors: a huntress on a dangerous quest, a noblewoman pursuing battle fame, and a thrall seeking vengeance among the 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.

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 bestselling author John Gwynne.

Further praise for The Shadow of the Gods

'Visceral, heart-breaking and unputdownable' Jay Kristoff

'A satisfying and riveting read. The well-realised characters move against a backdrop of a world stunning in its immensity. It's everything I've come to expect from a John Gwynne book' Robin Hobb

'A masterclass in storytelling . . . epic, gritty fantasy with an uncompromising amount of heart' FanFiAddict

'Quintessential Gwynne honed to perfection . . . The Shadow of the Gods is absolutely stunning, one hell of an epic series opener and a spectacular dose of Viking-flavoured fantasy' The Tattooed Book Geek

'Reminds me of all that I love in the fantasy genre. The Shadow of the Gods is an action-packed cinematic read' Fantasy Hive

Reviewed by Ashley on

3.5 of 5 stars


I was really excited for The Shadow of the Gods because I wasn’t impressed with Malice and was really curious to see how John Gwynne has changed as a writer since his debut novel.

At the beginning, I was immediately more impressed. The writing was better and I was more interested in the characters.

It took hitting the halfway mark to start feeling disappointed. That’s when I realized that where John Gwynne doesn’t seem to click with me is the middle of the books. That’s when things get boring. That’s when, somehow, characters don’t live up to their initial hook. They have interesting stories and motivations, but I lose interest in their actions and interactions over time. The book never develops into something that’s “unputdownable” or even hugely memorable.

This wasn’t a bad book; it was still much better than Malice. But I still don’t have that same amazement and wonder that so many other people seem to have. It’s a bummer, because some components are definitely there. The three characters we follow all have intriguing stories. For me, John Gwynne is just missing an X factor that actually makes me fall in love with them and invested in their fates.

Last modified on

Reading updates

  • 10 May, 2021: Started reading
  • 10 May, 2021: on page 0 out of 496 0%
  • 10 May, 2021: on page 28 out of 496 6%
  • 11 May, 2021: on page 96 out of 496 19%
  • 12 May, 2021: on page 160 out of 496 32%
  • 13 May, 2021: on page 234 out of 496 47%
  • 14 May, 2021: on page 250 out of 496 50%
    Getting sick of the phrase "thought-cage".
  • 15 May, 2021: on page 333 out of 496 67%
    "He is not a man any more. He is a stepping stone on the path to our vengeance."
  • 15 May, 2021: Finished reading
  • 16 May, 2021: Reviewed