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Feel free to email me: robert@robert-low.com. I'll use your comments, queries and resulting answers here.

September 2010

Just finished The Prow Beast and as with most of the other readers who have posted comments on your bulletin board, I could not put it down! It was a fantastic read, as were the other books in the series, with real characters that you can bring to reality in your minds eye and action all the way; thoroughly entertaining and one of the best reads I have had this year. Please don’t kill off the Oathsworn as they are quickly becoming a legend in this period as well as their own!

Don't worry too much about the Oathsworn; they are not all dead yet. I hope you enjoy the new trilogy as much.

I just wanted to say how much I am enjoying your books. I am an aspiring writer and your work is a fresh inspiration to me. You unquestionably rank among the
top writers today. Keep them coming.

I have just stumbled upon your 'oathsworn' series; what a fantastic read! As a viking reenactor since 1983 (and Jomsviking since 1992) I do like historical accuracy, which your books have in spades – many thanks!

Many thanks for the praise – hope you don't mind what I did with the Jomsvikings in The Prow Beast, all the same!
Robert Low

I have purchased all your books to date except the last at a bookstore here in British Columbia, and what I find annoying is that they brought in your first three novels but not the fourth. I cant understand why, if they ordered the first three, they didn't order the fourth? If it makes any difference to you I love the Oathsworn and their trials and tribulations. At my age, 63, through your books I do the things I would love to have done back then!

Just back from Canada (Okotosk, near Calgary) and the Gimli festival in Manitoba. I heard the same complaints from folk there, too. The pub dates are, of course, different in the UK and everything in North America seems to come out some months later. I imagine tour bookstore is a little reluctant to take hardback copies of The Prow Beast when the paperback is due out in the UK and available online. But thanks for your kind comments - we are of an age, and I am finding all these younglings more and more of a fighting handful every year. Soon I am going to have to admit defeat and hang up my baldrick!

I just want to thank you for writing the saga of Orm and his fellows. It has really sparked my lust for reading. I really like the historic feeling in the books. Its a great mix of history and fiction. One of the best tings about the books is the way you describe the little things. Like the small preparations before a raid, or the cooking by the fire. I can really picture the smells, the sights and filth of the people and places of the time. You describe it all with stunning realism. This is some of the best books i have read. And as a norwegian reader you described the viking life for me better than anything before. Thank you again, and keep on writing!

A great boost to my confidence to have a Norwegian tell me that I bring his history to life for him. I hope you enjoy the new trilogy, on the Scottish Wars, as much.

At three o'clock this morning I finished your book "The Whale Road". I was exhausted, happy and astonished after the enthralling and amazing journey I had the joy to follow in your book. At first it was a bit difficult to follow your style of writing and the all the Viking expressions - I am a non-native English speaker - but after about 30 pages I was pulled away by the drag of the story.

I am a fan of Harry Sidebottom and Bernard Cornwell, but where they write about the big historical picture, you are showing the day-to-day life of your characters, which is much more lively and coloured than their books. I love the harsh, ugly and coloured words your characters use, and the arguments they get into, be it human ones or the ones about religion.

As my friends gathered for a roleplaying session on Friday evening I read them aloud the part where Orm asks the Oathsworn where Gudleif is. My friends roared with laughter. Hild was also one of the scariest characters I read about in a long time. We are even thinking about running a Viking based RPG game in the future. Please excuse my bad English.

Your English is excellent - a lot better than any efforts I could make at your own language. I am delighted you enjoyed The Whale Road and I know you will love the others, too, since they are all better than that, my first book. Let me know what you think. Good luck with the RPG. I was a big fan of Runequest back in The Day, particularly their Viking expansion.

Over many years of reading novels I've come to realise that the most important thing for me is whether or not I care about the characters. They don't have to be angels – in fact they can be downright devils, just so long as I'm made to care. And your characters made me care. The Bearslayer got me straight away and of course when we find out he hasn't killed the bear, it makes him even more alive. I was so pleased to find you've written some more on a similar subject.  Many people in our sanitised world probably regard the Vikings with horror, whereas for example the Romans are held in esteem. Yet as far as I'm aware the Vikings never really yearned for the claustrophobic ego-trip of an empire (except maybe William if we still can called him a Norseman). The British aped the Romans; they would have done well to follow the Viking model which I sense would have been more natural to them.

I would like to claim that the Norse never really went for empire out of some radical sense of 'sod that' but it has more to do with a lack of resources and central authority. When both were sufficient, you can see an Empire of the North forming, with one ruler controlling large portions of Norway, Sweden and Denmark. What usually followed was an inability to hang on to it for longer than a hard man's prime, thanks to all the unruly wannabes who were his subjects. That, at least, is very Viking!

Are there any thoughts about putting The Oathsworn on the silver screen? There hasn't been a great historical epic adventure/war movie in some time.

I am at once attracted and repelled by the thought of a film – there are no plans but getting the Oathsworn into live action is a dream, tempered by the nightmare that had been made of every other Viking movie I have ever seen...

I have been intrigued with history, more importantly the history of Vikings and the sort, for as long as I can remember. Out of whim I bought The Whale Road and could not be happier with my investment. Your style of writing, character development, and realism in your stories have me turning page after page every night. I'm now starting The White Raven and will be very excited, yet sad, to read The Prow Beast.

I would not be too sad at reaching The Prow Beast – the Oathsworn are not done sailing yet – and I hope you enjoy it as much as the others.

July 2010

I'm 25 years old – but, I'm ashamed to say, have just recently begun writing books. I chose your Oathsworn series to start me off. I was a little anxious as I thought the books might be a bit complex for a beginner – but now that I'm on the second book I simply had to tell you how fantastic and gripping your books are. You're a genius! I can't put them down. I suppose what I'm trying to say is: thank you. At last I can appreciate reading a good book.

Never be ashamed to admit that you can read! I am delighted that I have been the author to introduce you to the sheer delight of books. Keep going... there are loads more books out there by authors every bit as good as me. And some, whisper it, who might be better on a good day...

I saw an advert for the prow beast on the History Channel and was happy to find it was the fourth in a series. I've now read them all and I'm happy to say Orm is up there with Cornwell's Uhtred. Your writing us up there with Cornwell and Pressfield, Iggulden and Sidebottom. Please keep it up – and don't be in a rush to kill Horshead off!

That's a rare crew to be among - thank you for the honour. And don't worry, Horsehead is not dead yet!

Thanks for another great read with The Prow Beast. I thought iw was going to be the end of the whale road for Orm until his Lazarusesque moment at the very end. Was that outcome in mind when you started the fourth book? You and Bernard Cornwell seem to have it in for the clergy of the time. Not that I'm a fan either, but were they really so despised and feared or both by Vikings and other non Christians? 

I honestly did not know how The Prow Beast was going to end myself, right up to the last minute. Then the ending popped up, clear as you like, and just fitted so well I knew it was right. I actually have no qualms about killing off anyone in my books – even the teller of the tale! There is a spin-off book about Crowbone and Orm and Finn. But that will come after my trilogy on Wallace and Bruce, so expect no more Vikings before 2014.

As for the clergy – well, it is a historical attitude, not my own or Bernard's. Blame Charlemagne. In making his Frankish and very Christian empire, he forcibly converted all the eastern pagans, especially in present day Belgium, Holland and north Germany. He even baptised pagans just so he could kill them and send them to God rather than the Devil. The legacy of that era haunted all those who fled into Denmark and then Scandinavia. So the truth is that the Vikings were more afraid of Christians than vice-versa – they believed a Christian was getting ready to top you when they dipped you in holy water!

I've just about finished The White Raven and pre-ordered The Prow Beast from US Amazon. It seems they don't know when the book will be available for distribution in the States. Can you enlighten some of us?

Turns out that HarperCollins have not yet completed the sale of the US rights. In theory, this means you can't buy it via Amazon US – but you can still get it from Amazon UK. Or Canada. This will be remedied very soon. I hope it doesn't spoil your enjoyment.

May 2010

Your series of books are inspirational and you have definitely become one of my favourite authors - beating Cornwell by a hair's breadth and just behind Phil Rickman. Now that I’ve finished The Prow Beast I have decided to re-read the series again. Please don't leave us hanging on a limb without another Orm tale. He seems to be almost back where he started, so could he not regain his fair fame and live again with Finn and Crowbone into yet more fantastic exploits? I love the authenticity of your writing and the way you have of really giving your characters depth and life. I look forward to reading your coming Kingdom trilogy and becoming equally enthralled.

I have read and enjoyed all your Viking books but I was hoping for more before our hero ended back home. There must have been some interesting story lines with his trip home…?

Rumours of the demise of the Oathsworn are premature - I will return to them sometime in the future, after my new trilogy on the Scottish Wars with Wallace and Bruce. There is a book, written and delivered, detailing the further adventures of Crowbone, but Harper are reluctant to publish it over the top of the new trilogy, so you may not see it until 2014, sadly.

I absolutely love the series and with each passing book mourn the loss of another crew member! I am two thirds of the way through The Prow Beast and you have bested yourself once again. Being Scottish, I eagerly look for to your Scottish series of Robert the Bruce and the adventures awaiting that series!

I was always a believer in bowing out when you are on a high - but the lure of the Oathsworn will drag me back, I know it will. Not, however, before three books on Wallace and Bruce, which I also hope you will love.

April 2010

I have been eagerly awaiting the launch of the Prow Beast and am about to re-read the first three books in the series. I am looking forward to seeing if the saga goes full circle and Orm ends up in the same position as Einar when they first met in the Whale Road – and if he recognises that. Please could you let me know if there are any book signings planned as part of the launch.

Delighted to hear that you consider the series good enough to re-read – hope you enjoy The Prow Beast as much and I leave it to you to discover if Orm and Einar are connected at the end. Book signings - depends where you are. I have just come back from London, I have signed several hundred here in Glasgow for dealers, but the days of bookshop signings are few and far between - mainly because there are fewer bookshops. Only Waterstones seems to be in operation these days and I will be slipping quietly into the Glasgow branches to sign some copies for them to put stickers on. Most of my sales are through Amazon and, believe it or not, Tesco!

G'day from Down Under! I've just finished The White Raven and now wait for the next soft-cover in the series, out in August. Thanks so much for the first three books in the Oathsworn saga - brilliant stuff and the best read I've had for years and years. I've been waiting for Killer-Styr (from the Laxerdale Saga) or Styr Thorgrimmson (from another Icelandic saga) to show up and perform some incredibly heroic feat, so I'm recovering from the introduction to poor old Stoor, Klerkon's thrall, who doesn't come off as well as I'd like. Alas we appear to be name-related, since my folk were named Sture until the 1700s.

Greetings to you and thanks for taking the time to email - glad you are enjoying the books so far. Sorry about Stoor - but he isn't a Styr from the sagas. He's based on a Norwegian re-enactor who tried to do a fancy two-weapon hand display a-la Indiana Jones movie - and succeeded only in whacking himself above the eye. Cue blood, hospital and stitches. Made us laugh though!

Well I've finished the Prow Beast, my favourite Oathsworn of the series, and I've posted a suitably glowing review on Amazon! It might just be the fevered ravings of a 40-plus aged mind but I'm sure I remember reading that you had a Crowbone book written? Is there any chance of it coming to print? I fully intend to buy the Wallace/Bruce story but I amm not sure I can face my midlife crisis without another Viking saga in the next year or two. I like Giles Kristian and the living legend that is Cornwell but they don't make me feel I'm actually there in the same way Orm and Finn do. Surely HarperCollins can allow you to have a double presence on the book shelves next year? Lastly, thanks to the site's contributors I recently looked up and bought The Longships by Bengsston. Great stuff! I've ordered a Poul Anderson too.

I have just finished reading The Prow Beast. Magnificent – congratulations! It has been an undiluted pleasure reading the trials and tribulations of the Oathsworn – but now I’m going through what I imagine is akin to cold turkey. Please tell me that you have plans for number five. Orm is still wet behind the years after all! Nobody I have read (Iggulden and Cornwell to name a couple) capture the camaraderie and nature of man as you have. The peaks and troughs of life, the sheer delight of existing after hardship, simply staying alive... the banter, humour, characterisation, vulnerability etc... I can go on and on...

There is indeed a Crowbone book, written and delivered, but HarperCollins are still considering what to do with it, considering that the new Kingdom trilogy is coming out next year. If it makes financial and marketing sense to them, the world will get it sooner - if not, you may have to wait until 2015! Actually, in the terms of the age he lives in, Orm is almost past his prime and Finn is already old - but I suspect there is life left in the pair of them, and others, for a while yet...

I have just finished the Prow Beast after receiving it from the UK. Bloody fantastic! It is the best yet by far. I was so excited by it and could not put it down. You have captured a tale that will stand the test of time and be read for decades. I was in deadly fear that Orm and the old Oathsworn were all going to die by the end of the siege but was elated and saddened to find they were destined to survive but without so much of their past. Someday, I hope you will return to it and write a fifth volume. They deserve an epitaph. I heard a rumour that you might be coming to Canada this summer, and if this is the case, I will no doubt cross blades with you and get my four volumes hopefully autographed. Till then, have a great spring!

Always nice to get praise from re-enactors - a bit like comics making the band laugh! I am coming to Gimli this summer, so you will get a chance to cross blades - I will glady sign your copies, too... but only providing you let me win!

You can find previous comments in the old website archive.