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Summary

It has been generations since the Northlands have seen a hero worthy of the title. Many have made the claim, but few have lived to defend it. Timid, weak, and bullied, Wulfric is as unlikely a candidate as there could be.

A chance encounter with an ancient and mysterious object awakens a latent gift, and Wulfric's life changes course. Against a backdrop of war, tragedy, and an enemy whose hatred for him knows no bounds, Wulfric will be forged from a young boy into the Wolf of the North. This is his tale.

©2016 Duncan M. Hamilton (P)2017 Podium Publishing

What members say

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Hungry Like the Wolf

Our hero Wulfric treads a path familiar to anyone who has read much of this genre. He follows a tough course through his "coming of age" which is populated by rivals, enemies and naturally a love interest too.  The building of his world is not hugely detailed but interesting nonetheless including some of the customs of Wulfric's village. Magic is there but handled with a light touch.  It's all told in a direct and straightforward approach making this easy listening fantasy.  The narration by Simon Vance is very good with a wide variety of voices though some of them sounded a bit weak and wheedling to me.

Even if it isn't going to set the genre alight this book made for a pleasant read.  It ends this first part of the story with a good setup and it did actually develop the politics of the village and those it interacts with in an interesting way.  If what I've written sounds in any way dismissive it's not meant to be.  This was an enjoyable audiobook and I'll likely follow the series as more is released.  It's just not one I would place alongside a Sanderson or Abercrombie though to be fair there aren't many that I would!

17 of 20 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I cant help but think someone had read the Lord of the Rings....

...And I don't care! I really liked this and I've immediately bought the next one and I'm sure I'll be getting The Blood Debt when that comes out in October-ish this year.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Gripping

Good narration, edge of the seat story, on par with Bernard Cornwall. Impatient for more.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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superb

great story and easy to follow, didn't get complicated trying to follow lots of side stories and characters. inspiring main character, underdog to hero. if you're a fan of Cornwell, Gilman, Iggulden, Mackay and the like, you will enjoy this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Terrific!

Excellent story, wonderful narration by Simon Vance (as always). Characters a plenty and their development within the narrative keeps your interest. Looking forward to book #2! Keep it up.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Solid and enjoyable

No big the world is doomed plots or complex intertwining narratives (refreshing). Instead a grounded and enjoyable story about a warrior and his village. Only slight qualm is why main characters in fantasy are so often soppy romantics bound in platonic love. Narrator was very good.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great story; tremendous narration

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wolf of the North, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

the book was great and really brought to life by an excellent narration

Any additional comments?

a great story; actually my first audio book but won't be my last; really enjoyed the interpretation by Mr. Vance

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great story

A great listen, can't wait for the next book in the series.
Highly recommended listening

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant new saga - Fantastic narrator

Brilliant story - can't wait for the next installment. Highly recommended.
Simon Vance was his usual, sublime self - definitely one of the best narrators around at the moment.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a great read could not put it down.

enjoyed the first book so much just downloaded the second book Jorundyrs Path straight away.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 22-05-17

Great opening to a series

Would you consider the audio edition of The Wolf of the North, Book 1 to be better than the print version?

The print version was good but it is always better to listen so you can get subtle nuances that you can miss when reading the print version. I love print but an really learning to love unabridged audio versions lately.

What other book might you compare The Wolf of the North, Book 1 to and why?

I am just getting into this genre and this 1st book rivals Bernard Cornwell's The Last Kingdom. I have listened to the entire series and it was a great series so Mr. Hamilton is off to a great start.

Have you listened to any of Simon Vance’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

I listened to The Millennium Series (Lisbeth Salander) by Stieg Larsson, V for Vendetta by Alan Moore, and Daniel Silva's Portrait of a Spy all of which he was great in.

Any additional comments?

Only comment I would make is I beg please, PLEASE don't make the same mistake so many audible authors make and change the narrator. Simon Vance is a phenomenal narrator and now he is the voice of the series. I know it may seem a small thing but it throws the listener, or at least it does me, off when a different narrator is reading the story.

84 of 89 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christopher
  • 12-07-17

I liked it but it could have been better.

What did you love best about The Wolf of the North, Book 1?

I loved finding out more about the world he was building and can't wait till book two to find out more about it.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wolf of the North, Book 1?

The end of the book. I won't spoil it, but it's one of those moments you say "finally I was about to go into the book and do that myself just wish the second one was there too but then there wouldn't bad guy for future books".

Which scene was your favorite?

I would have to say it was the same as my most memorable moment.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

No. Not really.

Any additional comments?

I see a lot of people comparing this to Patrick Rothfuss' KingKiller Chronicles but it reminds me more of Anthony Ryan's A Raven's Shadow novels. This book started great. At first it had me hooked and I couldn't stop listening, but then probably around the second time skip I started noticing that the characters while getting older they didn't really progress and grow. They stayed the same and nothing really ever changed about their way of dealing with things and their thought process. Looking at how many years passed in the time skips you would think they would grow and mature but I didn't really feel that. So I never really cared much about any of them. They where all pretty predictable and you could tell what was going to happen chapters before it did. I just felt kinda cheated because it felt like such a great start to a good book (I think I feel that way because I went into it comparing it to KingKiller Chronicles), but that is my biggest complaint about this book and hopefully we will see more character progression in the second book.
The only other complaint I have about the book was the cussing. Now don't get me wrong I'm a fan of Stephen King so foul language in a book doesn't turn me away, but at the same time the cussing in this book just felt out of place and didn't really add anything to it. In that aspect it's kind of like Brent Weeks' Lightbringer novels where his first book is clean and then in his second book for some reason he started adding in cussing. So in these cases it feels like they are adding the bad words just so people won't mistake it as a "kids" book.
Okay, now that I ranted about the stuff I didn't like let's talk about what I liked. So like I said earlier the book started off strong and the beginning had me hook. I wanted to find out more about the characters and the world they live in (I think that's why I felt let down about the character progression, also once we see our main character out and about in the rest of the world hopefully we will see him mature more). So I'm hoping in the second book we will actually see some growth. This series has good potential and I hope it grows into a series I want to listen to and immerse myself in, but that will definitely depend on the second book. So, fingers crossed I hope that happens.
Now the narrato. I like Simon Vance's voice and if I see his name on a book, I know if I don't like the book it will not be because of the narrating. He is a little slower when reading so in some books I turn the speed up to about 1.5x but that's only in the slower parts "filler" of the books.
So, now the big question is, is this book worth a credit? I would say yes. While I was a little let down after reading the other reviews because they made it sound more like the KingKiller Chronicles than it actually was, it was overall an interesting story in which I want to find out more about the world and characters. Like I said earlier, what is going to make or break this series (at least to me) will be how the author handles the second book. I hope he does a good job on the second book. (That way I can add another world to lose myself in;) Hopefully someone will find this review helpful (it's my first time) but if not just take everything I say as the ramblings of a crazy person.

42 of 46 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • VJG
  • 22-05-17

Classic epic tale

I felt like I was part of the crowd around the fire listening as the storyteller enthralls his audience with a tale of a young lad who'll become a great warrior and all the people who will help or harm him along the way. Simon Vance is perfect as the storyteller and all the characters he portrays - I loved his rendition of everyone from the world-weary speaker (who knows how to spin a yarn) to Wolfric who is figuring out his place in the world. Have already recommended this to friends who love epic fantasy.

34 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Allan
  • 30-06-17

Fantastic start but...

First, the narration is bar none the best I've heard on audible. The story starts off amazing, it has all the right makings of a truly epic tale. If you've noticed how dry epic fantasy has been this book will hit a cord.

I have few gripes with this book but they do exist. The author falls prey to the dumbing down of the main character to perpetuate the plot. Spends half the book to build him up and then take sit away for conveniences sake. Secondly you will notice that one character keeps leaving and returning whenever its convenient, eventually it becomes predictable and annoying. I Remeber it happening for the last time in the book and I just turned tool off my headphones and left the story unfinished for a day. It's annoying.

Other than that this book is fantastic, can't wait for the second one.

15 of 17 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Avid Books and TV
  • 14-11-17

Slow, Derivative, Predictable, Fraction of a Story

The opening chapters were well-written and had potential, but after that, the remainder of the book was slow, predictable and dragged out. The book ended without much of significance happening between then and the halfway point. It has the feel of being only a fragment of a full book, that got split up into multiple books with a lot of filler added in and scenes dragged out into chapters that a good writer could finish in a few sentences. If it's building to something that would be forgivable, but little of note actually happens throughout the 2nd half of the book, and the main character gets dumbed down to a plodding, unsympathetic brute in service to the plot. What's worse, is that he's really the only character with any real development at all, with most of the others lacking agency.

The story also had a very derivative feel to it, similar to Name of the Wind and Blood Song, but not done even half as well. Those books had good, complete opening stories, not just a fraction of one stretched out into a full book. The use of the framing story felt unnecessary, and at times clumsy and forced. I'm astonished at the number of good reviews this book has received, as there's really not much there to like about it. Slow, plodding story, unsympathetic characters and an unfinished plot.

The only redeeming quality is Simon Vance as narrator, and even he seems like a wrong choice for this kind of book. He has a wonderful voice, but his narration seemed far too refined for something taking place among a barbaric culture far from civilization.

I will not be getting the second book. The first is so predictable that I can already tell you what the big plot twist will be in the next one, and can expect it to be dragged out before it even gets to that point.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Sterling
  • 17-12-17

Great Narrator Saves the Day.<br />

I love fantasy stories I suppose it goes back to my Dungeons & Dragons days. But unfortunately this one though it has all the makings of a good series fell short in the first one. Mymajor complaint is that the characters are never developed and sub characters are wholly neglected. The story is all over the place at times, and fails to pursue some very obvious interesting story lines and instead it takes the shortest route. I will purchase the second book and hopes that it fulfills its potential. Cheers

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Mike tauss
  • 24-06-17

Very enjoyable!

I've been in a slump lately waiting for the next installments of my favorite series and have swung and missed a few times when taking chances on new ones.

However "The Wolf of the North" was definitely a hit! It's not a complex, genre twisting fantasy tale, but rather a straightforward, well done story that was very enjoyable to listen to. I only wish it were a bit longer and I cannot wait until August when the next installment comes to Audible.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Tina
  • 20-01-18

A Damn Good Book!!!

I'm not much for writing reviews, explaining what makes a book good or bad, or of giving my input into what could have been changed but I know a good story when I hear it and this is a great story. I personally love Duncan M. Hamilton, I think he's a great writer, and I really believe that we will see a lot more novels from him in the future, his Society of the Sword Trilogy was amazing and so far this one is as well. I have no words to express how amazing Simon Vance is, he brings this story to life in ways that no other narrator could and his reading of it made it so enjoyable I felt that I was completely impressed in the world with the characters. I personally had to set my player to .90 where as every single book I listen to I always set it at 1.25 but the accent that the story needed projected, sort of a slight British maybe had me turning the speed down to fully understand the pronunciations of names, places etc. But I can't understand anything but country talk so I'm sure you educated, worldly, city-folk will be just fine. 😆😜😉 Happy Reading everyone, I hope you enjoy the novel as much as I did, now I'm on to read the second book, curious as to where Mr. Hamilton will take me next.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cameron
  • 09-10-18

Extremely boring

I really had high hopes for this book. It's a bit of a trope but I can't help but love tales mixed with Northern warriors/Scandinavian influence/Viking like culture etc., and this book seemed to promise that. It definitely is set in a world that is akin to that of The Vikings, but it also has a more advanced Southern civilization.

My main problem with this book is that it's so slow which comes off as boring. The characters are very generic and unmemorable/unlikable. I understand this is supposed to be a "set up" novel, setting up the series for the next book, however, the first book should have some action and intrigue that actually DOES set up the next book. The first 40 out of 50 chapters covers hardly nothing but Wulfrics (our main character) journey/training from being a fat, incompetent child to growing into his 20's and being a muscled, gigantic warrior that excels at everything he does. The problem is, none of the training that is required to transform someone like this is really showcased with any depth, which makes the transformation feel forced and unnatural. We don't actually see a battle with real life or death stakes until around chapter 30 to 35 or so, and even then it's a short and poorly written scene that reveals a talent that Wulfric suddenly discovers he has, and then the chapter ends. This is only 1 of about 3 chapters that involve an actual battle scene with humans (not counting two, long and drawn out different chapters where Wulfric fights the exact same type of creature).

Most of the book deals with his awkward and many times annoying romance with Adalaide. A female (that's about as interesting as a shallow mop bucket) in which Wulfric has cared about since childhood. Most of the romance is akin to what you would find in a young adult/teen novel, which is exactly the vibe this book has going for it. The whole thing just felt very juvenile and silly.

The author repeats himself so many times, sometimes within seconds of each other. He will say something like "Adalaide had been away three years, what if she's changed... what if she thinks I'm a Northern Brute? She had been studying at a University, learning many things I could only dream about. After all, she had been studying for three years at a University and there was a good chance she would think Wulfric was brutish, as many Northern warriors tend to be in the eyes of a Southerner". The author does this quite often, repeating inner monologues as if he's really trying to drive a point home with the reader. It just comes off as lazy story telling. The author also jumps from multiple POV's all within a single chapter, giving each character 2 or 3 minute's worth of dialogue or inner monologue. It makes it very hard to get into what's going on with each character when such an insignificant amount of time is spent on them.

World building is also done through the narrator simply dumping tons of information on the reader. Whereas we had too little time with each character at times, we have far too much time with the narrator feeding us chunks of boring information that's meant to tell us about the world this all takes place in, the villages, the culture, the history, peoples roles and parts that they play etc. I prefer these things to come about in a natural manner, usually through character dialogue, but this is definitely not the case here.

I'm sorry to sound overly negative about this book, maybe the second and third could be a vast improvement? I don't know and I'll never find out because I'm just not interested in the world, the characters or what little plot there is, to continue reading this series sadly. I'd say the only positive thing about this audiobook is that Simon Vance does a fantastic, top shelf job narrating it. I went into a "Young adult" book recently, dreading it, thinking it would be too immature and simple for my tastes. I only read it because it was written by one of my favorite authors. It actually turned out emotional, deep and well written with great characters and tons of excitement. I went into this, being an adult fantasy book, and I got much more of a simple, immature and under developed story than the former was.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Glorianna
  • 28-11-17

Poor use of great potential.

At the beginning of the story I was sure they were describing an 8 year old boy, to find that he was in his teens simply displayed a pathetic version of a young man. Fat, cowardly and afraid of horses, with such a great example as a father. Poor description of a warrior's life in a medieval world. It would appear the author has no knowledge of a martial lifestyle either then or now.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful