An #IndieApril #HistFic Book Spotlight | Enjoy this extract from “Sigurd’s Swords” (Book Two, Olaf’s Saga series) by Eric Schumacher

Posted Friday, 30 April, 2021 by jorielov , , , 2 Comments

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How I started hosting for HFBVTs: I am a regular tour hostess for blog tours via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours whereupon I am thankful to have been able to host such a diverse breadth of stories, authors and wonderful guest features since I became a hostess! HFVBTs is one of the very first touring companies I started working with as a 1st Year Book Blogger – uniting my love and passion with Historical Fiction and the lovely sub-genres inside which I love devouring. Whether I am reading selections from Indie Authors & publishers to Major Trade and either from mainstream or INSPY markets – I am finding myself happily residing in the Historical past each year I am a blogger.

What I have been thankful for all these years since 2013 is the beautiful blessing of discovering new areas of Historical History to explore through realistically compelling Historical narratives which put me on the front-lines of where History and human interest stories interconnect. It has also allowed me to dive deeper into the historic past and root out new decades, centuries and millenniums to explore. For this and the stories themselves which are part of the memories I cherish most as a book blogger I am grateful to be a part of the #HFVBTBlogTours blogger team.

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Hallo, Hallo dear hearts!

I originally featured this Historical Fiction author when the first novel in the series was released “Forged in Iron” – we had a wonderful conversation about his writing style and process as well as the saga itself. You might have noticed I have had a penchant for seeking out these kinds of stories in the recent past throughout my literary adventures on Jorie Loves A Story.

I sometimes have to take a few breaks from reading these kinds of stories – as their quite hard-hitting and of course, I’m not always keen on reading the extensive battle scenes — but its the drama and the life behind those battles which interests me the most. Especially as generally speaking – a lot of these stories are tucked into hidden areas of the historical past and through these stories the authors’ are telling are little kernels of insight about that past we might not otherwise have known.

I’m hosting an extract for this tour today – as it is an announcement about the sequel to ‘Forged in Iron’ – coming this JUNE. Thankfully there is quite a lot to this extract and it should give you a lot of context to see if this novel and series therein is a good fit for you as a reader. I, myself, look forward to reading this Saga in the future once all the installments are released into print.

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An #IndieApril #HistFic Book Spotlight | Enjoy this extract from “Sigurd’s Swords” (Book Two, Olaf’s Saga series) by Eric SchumacherSigurd's Swords
Subtitle: Olaf's Saga : Book Two
by Eric Schumacher

From best-selling historical fiction novelist, Eric Schumacher, comes the second volume in Olaf’s Saga: the adrenaline-charged story of Olaf Tryggvason and his adventures in the kingdom of the Rus.

AD 968. It has been ten summers since the noble sons of the North, Olaf and Torgil, were driven from their homeland by the treachery of the Norse king, Harald Eriksson. Having then escaped the horrors of slavery in Estland, they now fight among the Rus in the company of Olaf’s uncle, Sigurd.

It will be some of the bloodiest years in Rus history. The Grand Prince, Sviatoslav, is hungry for land, riches, and power, but his unending campaigns are leaving the corpses of thousands in their wakes. From the siege of Konugard to the battlefields of ancient Bulgaria, Olaf and Torgil struggle to stay alive in Sigurd’s Swords, the heart-pounding sequel to Forged by Iron.

Genres: Action & Adventure Fiction, Historical Fiction, Archaeological | Anthropological Historical Perspectives, Norse Mythos | Legacies

Places to find the book:

Add to LibraryThing


Also by this author: Forged by Iron (Interview)

Series: Olaf's Saga

Published by Bodn Books

on 28th June, 2021

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Olaf’s Saga:

Forged by Iron by Eric SchumacherSigurd's Swords by Eric Schumacher

Forged by Iron (book one) | see also this Interview

Sigurd’s Swords (book tw0) → a Digital First Release!

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About Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher (1968 – ) is an American historical novelist who currently resides in Santa Barbara, California, with his wife and two children. He was born and raised in Los Angeles and attended college at the University of San Diego.

At a very early age, Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis. Those discoveries continue to fuel his imagination and influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God’s Hammer, was published in 2005.

To date, Schumacher has published three novels, collectively known as Hakon’s Saga, and one novella.

Converse via: #HistoricalFiction, #HistFic or #HistNov + #Vikings
+ #OlafsSaga and #HFVBTBlogTours

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Read an Extract from “Sigurd’s Swords”:

( this is a long section of the first chapter; slightly trimmed by me )

Chapter 1

Konugard, Gardariki, Late Summer, AD 968

Fall was coming. I could feel it in the cold wind that whipped down the Nepr River to the east of us. I could see it, too, in the clouds forming in the north. Thick and gray they were, carrying rain that I welcomed. Anything to slake my thirst and give the vile nomads who encircled our city — the Pechenegs — something to make their siege a little less pleasant.

The Pechenegs had been our friends once, or so I was told. But they had turned on us while our leader, Grand Prince Sviatoslav, was away to the south, fighting the Bolgars. Now they camped by the thousands beyond our walls. Of those nomadic people I can say little, save how much I despised them. I hated their swarthy looks, their equine stench, and the damn drums they beat each night. I hated their black felt hats and the food they cooked beneath our noses as we starved on the walls of Konugard. But mostly I hated them for their arrows and how they killed us from afar, like cowards.

The siege was entering its third month. In the first week of the siege they had overrun the neighboring land, driving our army back to the ramparts that stood inside the city’s moat. Those high wooden walls had been our home ever since.

I looked at Olaf. My friend and charge stood next to me, fiddling with his seax. We had been nobles once but had fled our homes when the sons of Erik had killed Olaf’s father. Our flight had led to our capture by Estland Vikings, who had sold us into slavery. For seven long summers, as thralls, we prodded the Estland bogs for pebbles of iron that our master smelted and sold in the market for profit. That had been a living version of Hel. I had vowed upon my escape never to be captured again, and yet here I was, caged in the city of Konugard and surrounded by death. At least here there was a glimmer of hope. We had sent messages to Grand Prince Sviatoslav early in the siege, begging him to return. If he did so before winter, we stood a chance. I glanced at the clouds yet again, as if I could divine the answer in their gray billows. They rolled on indifferently.

“Torgil!” called Lord Sigurd from his seat beneath the arrow-riddled parapet. I turned to find him regarding me wearily, his cerulean eyes dark-rimmed. He was a man in his prime — tall, muscular, his red hair unfaded — but I could hear the fatigue in his voice. Strewn across the fighting platform near him were the members of his household retinue, his hird. Roughly forty of us remained, representing all manner of people. Most of us were Rus, which is to say Swedes, Danes, and Northmen, though there were also many Slavs: Ilmen, Chuds, Krivichi, and other tribes whose names I did not know. We differed greatly from one another in looks, but we were all bound by one oath — to serve Lord Sigurd — and one language, if you could call our jumble of Slavic and Norse a language at all.

“Lord?” I replied.

“Mind your helmet,” he warned.

I reached up and straightened the conical helm on my head, then swiped my black bangs from my eyes with my grimy hand and turned back to the view.

Sigurd was the maternal uncle of Olaf and one of the lords of General Dobrynya, a prominent officer in the army of Grand Prince Sviatoslav. It had been Sigurd who had discovered Olaf in a marketplace when he was a thrall and he also who had come to rescue me and my fellow thralls from the Estland cesspit where we were being held. He had seen our sorry state and had brought us back to his hall near Holmgard, offering us a roof and food and rest, a kindness I promised to repay with my service to him. When I was sufficiently healed of my external wounds, he allowed me to train with Olaf and his men, for I had been taught in the way of weapons by my own father before my enslavement. Under Sigurd’s steady and patient tutelage, my body mended and my skills improved until that fateful day when he had offered me a place in his hird alongside Olaf. My service was for five summers, and I accepted it gladly.

Not a week later we received news that we were going to the great walled city the Slavs call Kyiv — Konugard to we Northmen — to protect Grand Prince Sviatoslav’s mother, Queen Olga, and his sons Yaropolk, Oleg, and Vladimir while he campaigned in the south. Sigurd had said it would be an easy assignment — a summer in a beautiful city surrounded by beautiful women. I bristled at the memory, for the Pechenegs had come not long after we arrived and quickly overran the area. Since then we had known nothing but misery.

“How do you think Turid would like this?” I asked Olaf, thinking of our mutual friend who served in Sigurd’s household. She had wanted to be a warrior — indeed, she had the skill for it — but Sigurd had forbidden it. He believed it would cause too much strife among his men. Mayhap he was right. Turid was a striking redhead with glacial eyes and freckled skin whose beauty had captivated me since we were children. It was not difficult to see how men might fight for her attention.

Olaf smirked through his short amber beard. “Truth be told, I think she would enjoy it. Not the suffering, but the fighting. That, she would like.”

I smiled at the truth in Olaf’s words. She had been a fellow thrall with us and had shown her fighting prowess during our escape. “Aye. She would. We should bring it up again to Sigurd if we return from this place.”

“When we return,” Olaf corrected. Unlike me, he did not see the dark side of reality. He still believed the rubbish his father had fed him when we were small: that he was destined for greatness.

I rolled my eyes but knew there was no sense in arguing.

“You should marry her, you know,” he offered quietly. “Neither of you is getting any younger and it would be good for you to have a son.”

I glanced at my friend, who was taller than me by half a head, though he was four winters my junior. It was true what he said — I was in my twentieth fall and Turid was older than me by a winter. I knew she was fond of me, but our friendship had never gone past a peck on the cheek. Olaf’s comment was not far off the mark, but I refused to let him know that. Any advantage given him was an advantage he would take. If not now, then later. So instead I furrowed my brows and gave him my most puzzled look. “What makes you think I want to marry her? Or want a child?”

“Oh, come. You have always had feelings for her. Ever since we were young whelps. And what man does not want a son to carry on his name and his memory?”

“What about you?” I countered. “You could easily marry her.”

He snorted. “I could never marry her.” He moved closer to me and his blue eyes swung to and fro as he checked for listeners. “I am a prince. If I marry, it will be for gain and she cannot offer me that. Though,” he raised a finger, “I would not mind discovering what other gifts she has to offer.”

When she had flowered, the son of our Estland slave master had taken Turid as his concubine. It was a wound from which she would never heal, and a wound on which Olaf had just trodden. My temper flared and I punched him hard in the shoulder.

“What did you do that for?” His eyes flashed as he straightened from the blow, genuinely shocked at my response.

“To remind you to watch your tongue,” I growled. “You know how sensitive she is about that.”

“But she is not here, is she?” Olaf snarled at me and slid down the wall to a spot near my feet. I did not care. His callous comment poked at wounds he had no business poking.

I was about to say something more when a horn rang out from the watchtower and turned my attention back to the enemy.

“What is happening out there?” Sigurd asked.

I peered more closely at the Pecheneg encampment. “There is some movement.”

“My dead mother could give a better report than that, Bog-Breath! Why is the watchman blowing a horn?” asked Sigurd’s second-in-command, a brute named Ulrik, who lounged near Sigurd with his eyes closed. He’d had the honor of serving as Sigurd’s second-in-command for multiple summers and had the scars to prove it. At some point in our journey to Konugard, he had decided I needed a byname and so had started calling me Bog-Breath because of my time as a thrall in the Estland bogs. I hated the name.

“What kind of movement?” Sigurd asked more patiently.

A small number of men had climbed onto their stocky steeds and were heading off to the west. “Looks like a foraging party,” I surmised.

“That is what you said the last time they attacked,” mumbled Olaf.

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I admit, this entire saga is a firm step outside my comfort zone and regular routes into Historical Fiction but that was actually part of the appeal. I also admit siege and heavy battle novels aren’t my favourite to read through normally as sometimes I feel bogged down in the battles themselves as I had with large portions of Tristan’s Folly.

The main draw is I have come to love reading about the Vikings and a subniche of early Saxon Histories – these usually are similar in tone and texture of story to the Arthurian legend stories I enjoy reading as well. I sort of fell into those kinds of stories quite unexpectedly several years ago – which I felt was hinged to my readings of the Guinevere Tale Trilogy.

What I do enjoy is the drama and the stories behind the battles – the power changes and the strife of the people who are constantly fighting – both to survive and to have a future for themselves. There is always a lot of layering in these stories – as it is quite an intricate plot to tackle as a reader as there is far more happening than what is readily seen in the individual scenes and pages. And, that is what has left me curious for stories like this one.

Plus you have to smirk about how these men are facing a keen enemy and would rather converse and banter with each other whilst noting that one of them has a better perspective about how to live their life. I appreciated the historical notes by the author – of how he placed us visually in this scene and how we can definitely tell its far step removed from anything we would be familiar with ourselves. This is why travelling through time’s arrow in Historical Fiction is such a wicked wonderful adventure! You get to see and hear things you would otherwise miss from knowing and you get to step into people’s shoes who lived quite an extraordinary life.

I hope this extract might have tempted you to consider this Saga for yourself and perhaps if you revisit the interview I shared last year, you might have a better understanding about the Saga Schumacher is writing overall.

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 I look forward to reading your thoughts & commentary!
Especially if you read the book or were thinking you might be inclined to read it. I look forward to your comments about this spotlight. Kindly give the author a boost of joy by sharing your thoughts with us. Bookish conversations are always welcome!

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NOTE: Similar to blog tours wherein I feature book reviews, book spotlights (with or without extracts), book announcements (or Cover Reveals) – I may elect to feature an author, editor, narrator, publisher or other creative person connected to the book, audiobook, Indie film project or otherwise creative publishing medium being featured wherein the supplemental content on my blog is never compensated monetarily nor am I ever obligated to feature this kind of content. I provide (98.5%) of all questions and guest topics regularly featured on Jorie Loves A Story. I receive direct responses back to those enquiries by publicists, literary agents, authors, blog tour companies, etc of whom I am working with to bring these supplemental features and showcases to my blog. I am naturally curious about the ‘behind-the-scenes’ of stories and the writers who pen them: I have a heap of joy bringing this content to my readers. Whenever there is a conflict of connection I do disclose those connections per post and disclose the connection as it applies.

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{SOURCES: Book covers for “Forged in Iron” and “Sigurd’s Swords”, book synopsis for “Sigurd’s Swords”, author biography, author photograph of Eric Schumacher, the tour host badge and HFVBTs badge were all provided by Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours and used with permission. Post dividers and My Thoughts badge by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination. Tweets were embedded due to codes provided by Twitter. Blog graphics created by Jorie via Canva: Stories in the Spotlight and the Comment Box Banner.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2021.

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About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Friday, 30 April, 2021 by jorielov in Blog Tour Host, Book | Novel Extract, Book Spotlight, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author

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2 responses to “An #IndieApril #HistFic Book Spotlight | Enjoy this extract from “Sigurd’s Swords” (Book Two, Olaf’s Saga series) by Eric Schumacher

    • The pleasure was mine, Amy! I still intend to read this one eventually — it isn’t oft I find historical dramas which tuck into a storyline like this one. I am looking forward to going through the route as well – thanks for having me!

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