Review On J.T.T. Ryder's Hag Of The Hills: Book One Of The Bronze Sword Cycles




Hag of the Hills, is the first volume of the Bronze Sword Cyclesby J.T.T Ryder. The book’s genre is centered on Old World Heroism; that is to say in other words, it’s genre is based on epical medieval adventure.


The story is based on the life of a young lad; Brennus, who desired to be a warrior, just like his father and other ancestors were. He desired it so greatly, but he was prevented from having such a life by his eldest brother; Bodvoc. Bodvoc saw that way of life as a short lived glory that would profit a man nothing at the end. Fennigus thought otherwise and seemed to fancy such lifestyle as well.


The writer pulls his readers into a world of adventure as the story gets twisted. Brennus wants power, fame, and glory of a warrior. And eventually he gets it, but for a price that was quite gruesome to pay. The Hag of the Hills—this character is depicted like every villainous character from the ‘Snow White’ series, down to the ‘Sleeping Beauty’, or the wicked step mother of ‘Cinderella’. The writer presents her as the being of the shadows who lives high up in the Slighan Hills, and eats whoever dares to take those paths. Tales of the Hag frightens anyone who hears it, so therefore the say goes; “BEWARE OF THE HAG OF THE HILLS”.


After an unsuccessful raid led by Fennigus, which almost ends the life of Brennus, he fears what the Druids’ judgment would be on their life. He goes down to the stream to wash off the moose he’s covered in when, he sees Fennigus with his betrothed wife. Ignoring the sight before him, he hears the voice which always beckons him to go to the Slighan Hills. He succumbs to that voice and goes to the Hills. There, he meets the Hag and his life changes forever. She grants him his desire, and warns him of the inevitable price behind it.


Brennus returns home to find his village raided by the Men from the Hills. A band of soldiers he saw on his way from the Slighan Hills. There, he finds the bodies of his people. But that of Fennigus and his sister in law, Aunee is missing. He takes up the quest to avenge their death and decides to go after the Hillmen.


The plot twists get even better when more tragic episodes uncover and Brennus has no choice but to become a slave, in other to save Myrnna. And eventually parts ways with his brother and he is now reborn (renamed) as ‘Vidav’.


The story is told entirely by Brennus himself to a bard, while he rests on his old bed. How the book ends in this volume only reveals that there is more to it.


Now, moving to the characterization of the work, the writer amazes me with his creativity of crazy, funny, manipulative and challenging characters which intrigue the mind of its readers. Introducing ‘Brennus’, later known as ‘Vidav’, the writer portrays him as a young lad who desires power and better, and becomes quite a man he wanted. ‘Fennigus’ is seen as the strong minded, stubborn, and challenging one. He is the kind who doesn’t like to be shut off, and his presence in this commendable work of art gives it a beaut touch. 


The ‘Hag of the Hills’ is another intriguing character that gives the bubbling excitement to its readers. The writer stylish and creatively portrays her as the bringer of many surprises. In respect to the ‘Druids’, I’d liken them to the ‘Orators’ from the ‘Creed of the Oracles’ by Ebi Robert. They are portrayed by the writer as the grand chiefs of the people, the lawyers, and judges who give out the laws and punishments to the people. But where the difference lies between these two class of characters is; the ‘Orators’ from the ‘Creed of the Oracle’ actually uphold their might. They are mad thinkers, and creative inkers of the scrolls of knowledge and power. The writer of that book actually gives his readers the feels of a manipulative body.


But the ‘Druids’ only appear to be the cunning but not so manipulative ruling body. Their presence in the book does portray a substance of how the people are side-lined and easily manipulated to get their deeds done. The writer does a fine job in their creation.


As for the narrative skills used by the writer, I’d say it’s top notch. Though the book seems a bit complex, the use of appendix is quite helpful to the readers. The book is narrated in a first person narration method, and the language is a bit dicey and old, but still simple enough for the readers to understand the flow of it. Each event brings its bowl of suspense, so that device is also quite creatively implied by the writer.


All through the read, there was nothing foul for me to dislike the book. It is an interesting read, and the writer is simply creative.


In conclusion to this brief review, I recommend the book to all literary lovers. Both historical fantasy lovers, and general lovers of medieval masterpiece.       

 Interested in buying a copy of the Hag of the Hills? Click here.

Credit: The Imaginator, ACER Writing House 

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