Anvil of God: Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles

Anvil of God: Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles

by J. Boyce Gleason
4.5 22

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Overview

Anvil of God: Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles by J. Boyce Gleason

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781475990218
Publisher: iUniverse, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/29/2013
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 440
Sales rank: 462,254
File size: 563 KB

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Anvil of God: Book One of the Carolingian Chronicles 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
parker4rox More than 1 year ago
So, do you enjoy 24 hours of continuous travel on three flights with two extended layovers? No? How about watching Dumb & Dumber five times in a row or struggling through a French-language romantic comedy with syntaxially-challenged subtitles...in Russian? Really? Well, if you want to make the hours melt away, at home or on the road, you need your very own copy of Anvil of God. Tell that leggy flight attendant you don't need no stinkin' champagne and canapés; give the condescending purser with the vintage bourdeaux the heave-ho! And as for that meal - chateaubriand.... AGAIN!? if you like sex & violence (but not at the same time), drinking & swordplay (tankard in one hand and sabre in the other), comely women in various states of undress demonstrating, well, spoiler alert - you'll have to find out for yourself! It's a terrific story of familial & political intrigue laced with romance, religion, epic battles and a welcome dose of historical perspective. Keep your genealogical charting software handy and a Latin dictionary wouldn't hurt but this is historical fiction that may be a historical first - a page turner, cover to cover. I know you'll agree that Monsieur Gleason has done a bang-up job.
amm02 More than 1 year ago
I love historical books. This book has a even amount of releigion and fights. I was suck led in from the beginning. Trudi is such an amazing female character. Even though the age this story takes place she is still so strong and sure of who she is.  I like how it was written so that even someone who hasn't read much historical can understand what is being said. A must read if you love historical reads! I received  a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
When Charles Martel, or the Hammer, knew his death was coming, he divided the different areas of his rather vast kingdom between his three sons, and that was the beginning of a very chaotic and messy situation in what is now France, with somewhat enlarged borders. This is historically a very fascinating and key period though, for the future of the country. It is full of inner conflicts and conflicts with other neighboring kingdoms. Politics and religion are also together in the mix, and the situation is doubly complex as Christian and pagan rites still tend to cohabit together. I really enjoyed a lot how the author managed to convey the messiness of the situation. This is not recent history, and so there are lots of gaps that the author had to fill in. He explains his choices at the end of the book, and I believe his choices are consistent with the context of the time. They made total sense to me. The book opens when Charles is still alive. It is good at setting up the scene for what will happen later, with presentation of the key characters, mainly Charles, his 2nd wife Sunni (Sunnichild), their sons and daughter, Trudi (Hiltrude) and bishop Boniface. Sunni is originally a pagan from Bavaria. She basically faked being Christian to marry Charles and in that way try to insure safety to her own country. Her place between Christianity and paganism is central to the development of the story. This is a very strong woman, as strong as her step daughter Trudi (Trudi’s mother is Charles’ first wife, Chlotrude). Also for strategic and political reason, Charles is arranging Trudi’s marriage with the son of the Lombard’s king, but Trudi is not the type to let her father decide who she will marry. We find her escape and flee during the whole book, in the direction of Odilo, the one she loves, and who happens to be a Count in Bavaria! All her adventures give great momentum and suspense to the book, with really neat escape scenes. I also enjoyed the description of the various landscapes she went through. In her journey, she will meet key people in this complex geopolitical situation. Is there room for love in this, or is it all a question of power and influence? Does Sunni really wants Trudi’s happiness, or is she using her also for the sake of Bavaria? Meanwhile, what’s Sunni’s aim when she organizes a major defense preparing for the siege she knows is inevitable? Sorry for being a bit vague here, I don’t want to give out too much. As for religion, well, bishop Boniface and the Roman Catholic Church of the time definitely do not come out in a positive light. Did they really aim at the salvation of people, or again had just power in mind? What they did to pagans is quite revealing… There are great descriptions of pagan rites. At the end of the book, the author explains he found this information in manuals written for the Catholic priests of the time to help them when they had pagans come and confess to them. I thought that was really neat. The map, the list of characters, the Carolingian dynasty family tree, and the author’s final notes on what we do know about these characters and what he himself had to fill in were extremely helpful. I can’t wait for volume 2! To sum up, I really enjoyed how the book was suspensefully alternating between the different key areas of this troubled time, and how it highlighted all the mixed political and religious motives at stake. With a very solid historical information, full of suspense, this book will delight readers interested in early French history, in military campaigns, in strong women characters, and all historical fiction aficionados ready to open to new horizons.
Wildflowers More than 1 year ago
The first book in the Carolingian Chronicles series, Anvil of God is a sweeping tale set in 8th century France. Mystical, full of suspense, action and family intrigues, J. Boyce Gleason weaves a fascinating tale much of which is based on true events. Historical fiction aficionados are in for a great treat ruffling through the pages of this compelling book. In Anvil of God, Charles Martel, the Hammer, is dying and wanted to ensure the continuation of his legacy by dividing his kingdom among his three sons: Carloman, Pippin, and Gripho. The older two brothers are Christians while the youngest is a pagan. But his wish remained a pipedream. Consequent upon his death, what seemed to be a farsighted move proved disastrous as a fierce battle broke out among the sons for consolidation of power. Charles Martel also had assured the hands of his only daughter, Hiltrude known as Trudi, in marriage to a Lombard prince to secure his borders. But she has a mind of her own. Sunnichild, the widow of Charles Martel, also has her own ideas. When the fight ensued among his brothers, Trudi, along with her second brother, Pippin, flees to the east in Bavaria. But the plan went horribly wrong as she is abducted on the way. Gripho, the youngest brother takes control of the city of Laon. In a bid to stamp his authority and dominion, the oldest brother, Carloman, lays siege to it. Anarchy and confusion is reigning in the kingdom. J. Boyce Gleason writes a truly well-researched book peopled by memorable and unforgettable characters. The author has painted vivid pictures of the battles, virtually taking you to the scene, and making the characters come alive. The book is simply fantastic and immensely enjoyable.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author does a splendid job of character development while keeping the readers attention from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down and am already looking forward to the authors next tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed the book. Excellent research behind the history of the period. I can't believe this is J. Boyce Gleason's first book!
truebookaddict More than 1 year ago
I was so glad to be offered this book for review because I have not read any historical fiction surrounding the Carolingian dynasty. I am pleased to say that Anvil of God was a terrific introduction to the era. Gleason's impeccably researched novel takes us into the heart of the time period and tells us an exciting and interesting tale of a time when Christianity was striving to quash Paganism and warfare was a constant. Struck with the reality that he is dying, Charles Martel (Charles the Hammer) devises a plan for his sons to rule the kingdom and to make an advantageous marriage for his daughter to achieve political stability. However, his offspring are not so ready to cooperate. Having different views on religion and wanting to choose marriage for love over political advantage, his sons and daughter have designs on choosing their own paths in life. What we are left with is a story of the bonds of family and what factors can cause those bonds to break. Gleason has written a fantastic historical novel. This being the first book in The Carolingian Chronicles, I am looking forward to the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anvil of God is a must read for all fans of historical fiction. J Boyce Gleason does a masterful job of providing keen insight into this mysterious period in time, and wraps it in a compelling story.  Kudos to J Boyce for an excellent job on his first novel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
J. Boyce Gleason is a really good writer, and this first novel is a cracking good read stuffed with bloody battles, political intrigue, brutes, beauties, pagans and priests. But no dragons. Well, we don't need no stinking dragons. (Apologies to the film classic, "High Sierra") Because this is history! Anvil of God is a page turner with the history of the Carolingian Dynasty at its heart. You know: Charlemagne and his family, beginning with Charles Martel. Who knew there could be so much fun in the Dark Ages! Mr. Gleason brings this history of the making of modern Europe to stark, violent, sexual life imbuing all his characters - both real and fictitious - with believable human qualities. There is no simplistic good and evil in his telling. How refreshing. If all of history were written this well, we'd all be studying history.
TheBibliophilicBookBlog More than 1 year ago
J. Boyce Gleason’s first book of The Carolingian Chronicles ‘Anvil of God’ brings the birth of the Carolingian dynasty to epic life. It is 741 AD and Charles Martel’s life is coming to an end and he must divide his holdings among his three sons. His daughter, Hiltrude, has been promised to the Lombard prince, but she turns to her stepmother to regain her own power. Charles the Hammer’s eldest son is a pawn of the Church, his middle son would like to spend more time with his girlfriend, and his youngest son, secretly pagan like his mother, is looking forward to claim his father’s power. Mr. Gleason’s book breathes life into historical figures and the religiopolitical struggle of this time period. He easily shows readers the unrest and fragility of Europe in this time period through stellar characters, intense emotion, and game-changing action. Graphic, bloody, and sinfully entertaining, ‘Anvil of God’ will be a treat for any lover of historical fiction.
Erin_Davies More than 1 year ago
Imagine you're under water; swimming low, along the bottom of a pool. You push off the floor, slowly rising till you break the surface and you take that first breath, filling your lungs to capacity. That's how I felt finishing Anvil of God... like I'd been released from another world.  Honestly, this is the kind of book I dream about stumbling over. An engaging narrative, J Boyce Gleason's startling debut brought 741 brilliantly to life, capturing my imagination in its recreation of an all but forgotten empire, drawing me into a whirlwind of intrigue that, even after days after reading, refuses to let me go.  For the record, my knowledge of this period was and to some extent remains overwhelmingly vague. I'm not exaggerating, before reading this piece I couldn't have differentiated Charles Martel from Charles Garnier which leads me to one of the more remarkable aspects of this book.  Gleason has a deep comprehension of and obvious affinity for this particular era, but he doesn't take that familiarity for granted. Exercising great care, he carefully reconstructs the political playing field, fleshing it out with vividly atmospheric descriptions and imaginative details that make the narrative easy to follow, even for those encountering the material for the first time.  Like most political epics, Anvil of God incorporates an extensive cast, but here again, Gleason exhibits a flawless mastery of his craft. Charles, Carloman, Pippin, Gripho, Boniface, Childbrand, Liutbrand, Odilo, Bradius, Sunni, Trudi, Greta, Bretrada... each has an individual personality, distinct emotional makeup and unique motivation. Independently dynamic, Gleason's characters are universally well-rounded, multidimensional and authentic. Fast-paced and fluid, Gleason hits the ground running, but what amazed me is how deftly he was able to sustain that momentum for all four hundred plus pages of the book. I'd intended to read Anvil of God a few chapters at a time, but quickly realized doing so was a practical impossibility. A compulsively addicting fiction, I simply couldn't put it down. Heartfelt romance, religious conflict, convoluted family dynamics, contrasting gender roles, political power struggles, violently gritty battlefield combat, Gleason fits it all in a single exciting volume. A spellbinding tale of valor, rivalry, and ambition, Anvil of God isn't to be missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Historical fiction at its best... The 8th century --- I know it well... NOT! But after reading J. Boyce Gleason's exciting new novel, Anvil of God, I feel much better informed of that distant and mysterious time in European history. Much like the Shaaras' writings of our Civil War period, Mr. Gleason uses the genre of the novel to bring historical figures to life for our reading pleasure. The depth of his research is apparent, but it is his use of poetic license in fleshing out the characters that makes this such an interesting read. And there is so much more to the book than strong and compelling character development. First, there is the role of the Catholic Church and the political intrigue of the day. Second, the competing but faltering presence of paganism throughout Europe is interwoven throughout the story. And his descriptions of battles, starting on page one with the defeat of Maurontus and the Saracens by Charles The Hammer, and later during Carloman's siege of Laon, offer a vivid view of the brutal nature of 8th century warfare. I strongly recommend J. Boyce Gleason's remarkable first novel, book one of a trilogy. And I suggest you read the Author's Note at the end of the book before reading, and again after you finish. It provides valuable insight as well as an excellent summary. (Reviewed by Hoss Rogers)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent historical fiction from a new author. Knights and horses and swords and sieges. Can't wait for the next book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The author does a splendid job of character development while keeping the readers attention from beginning to end. I couldn't put it down and am already looking forward to the authors next tale.
BrokenTeepeePW More than 1 year ago
Anvil of God takes place in a period of history about which I know very little. The time period is pre-Charlemagne and the plot deals with  many issues from the fight between Christians and pagans, brothers warring on each other, power, lust and love. It begins with Charles Martel (Charlemagne's grandfather) and his second wife, Sunni. Charles is committed to working with the church and relies on his childhood friend who has risen far in its hierarchy - Boniface - but he does not make his decisions solely based on what is best for the church. Sunni has ostensibly joined the church but she has not left her pagan beliefs behind. Charles feels his death looming so he divides the kingdom up between his three sons; Carloman and Pippin from his first marriage  and Gripho from his marriage to Sunni. He has a ceremony where he makes his nobles swear fealty to the boys for after his death but we all know how those promises play out in time. A subplot has Charles' daughter Trudi refusing to marry the man of Charles' choice and running away to marry for love. All I can write about this book is - WHERE IS THE SECOND VOLUME AND CAN I HAVE IT RIGHT NOW. RIGHT NOW! I found myself lost in this 8th century world populated with fascinating and diverse characters and I was so very sorry when I turned  the last page. I am thrilled that this is Book One because that means there will be more to come. Mr. Gleason writes a thrilling story  taking what little is left to history and spinning it into a page turning look into the world before the countries we consider Europe were drawn. There are really 7 main charaters, Charles Martel, his three sons, Sunni and Charles' daughter Trudi. There are several very strong secondary characters and they are all distinctly developed and unique unto themselves. It took me a little to sort them out at the  start but once I did I had a very hard time putting this book down. It carries some tough scenes as there are battles, scourgings, rape, pillage and all that you would expect in these times. These scenes are handled in a straightforward manner and not exploited. The weakest subplot I do feel was Trudi's but apparently there is some basis in history for it. Mr. Gleason leaves his reader with a detailed Author's Note which I appreciated. It is always a pleasure for me to find one at the end of a historical novel so I can glean fact  from fiction.  I will anxiously await the next installment of The Carolingian Chronicles.
Griperang72 More than 1 year ago
I have not read anything about this time period before and was a little leary about it - in fact I read what this book was about more than once before I decided to read the book and I was not in the least bit disappointed with it. This is my first book by this author and I have to say that I am impressed. The book itself was very interesting to me. I thought the author did a good job with developing the characters so you could get a real sense of who they are/were. Also for me I really enjoyed the historical detail that was used which to me helped me understand the time period and such. If you like books with religion, action, drama, history, a little romance and so much more than this book is for you. I look forward to the next book in this series. 
avalonpriestess More than 1 year ago
8th century Carolingian history is unfamiliar to me. I'm glad I read this amazing story. Gleason did his research. The story is unforgettable. Basically, Charles the Hammer dies and leaves his vast empire to his three sons. His has promised his daughter in marriage to a man she wouldn't chose as a husband. Trudi is her name, in my opinion, she was the best of The Hammer's four children. She was a sword yielding, fighting individual- don't mess with her. The three sons, two Christian and one pagan, are fascinating characters. Pippin, is my favorite. Pippin and Trudi are two characters who will grab your heart. As a reader, I became emotionally involved in their lives. In short, this book will just pull you into the plot. It is action packed from the beginning to the end. For those of you unfamiliar with Charles "The Hammer" Martel, he is the grandfather of Charlemagne. He started the Carolingian empire in what is now France. I cannot wait for book two! I look forward to reading more about these characters. For those of you who love reading period pieces, ie- The Tudors, The Borgias- you will love this series.!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you like Bernard Cornwell, you will love J.Boyce Gleason. His Anvil of God is in the great tradition of historical novels much like Cornwell's Saxon Tales and the Grail Quest Series. Kudos for this debut novel of a young writer with much potential. The plot is well-thought out, the historical research well done and interspersed with intiriguing characters. I wait anxiously for Book 2 of the Carolingian Chronicles.
eheinlen More than 1 year ago
Well-written and very nicely fleshed out, but not my type of story. I tend to shy away from books where you need a genealogical diagram and map to follow what's going on.