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Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
In the Shadow of the Beast is a work of fiction in the historical and adventure sub-genres, and was penned by author C. J. Adrien. The second novel in The Saga of Hasting the Avenger, this action-packed volume picks up where The Lords of the Wind left off. As we delve once more into the real history surrounding the figure proposed as the ideal Viking, we find Hasting in a divided world where the death of King Horic has left many nations in dispute and disarray. What follows is a tale of inner strength where Hasting must face the wounds of his past and carry himself bravely into an uncertain future.
Author C. J. Adrien packs another full force of realistic history and excellent knowledge into this truly engaging novel. Having enjoyed the opening to the saga immensely, it was another emotional journey to see Hasting, still relatively young and new to his Viking life, engaged in a complex system of lands in dispute and the effects of the wider world beyond his own bubble. This new and expansive viewpoint adds more layers to the journey, deepening our historical understanding of Viking culture, beliefs and ways of life, whilst also delivering a truly heroic tale of a young man facing a tough life and even tougher odds of surviving it. Overall, I would certainly recommend In the Shadow of the Beast to fans of the first novel, and indeed the saga as a whole to readers who love immersive and accurate historical fiction.