Last year Gollancz published three short, brutal novels featuring Gallow, a fighter from a not-un-viking-like culture with a strong sense of justice and a big axe. Having decided to remain behind in the land he and his comrades invaded and ravaged, as the first book (GALLOW: THE CRIMSON SHIELD) begins he’s just about managed to carve out a life of peace for himself, despite the distrust and suspicion of his new village. But then he learns that his countrymen are coming back… and Gallow must chose who to fight for.

Over the course of the trilogy we learn why Gallow didn’t leave with his countrymen, what’s been happening back home, and how much trouble he’s in. We meet his new family, who don’t know Gallow as a fighter (but they soon will!), and we meet his old comrades-in-arms, who have never understood why he betrayed their warrior’s code. And we meet the new king of Gallow’s people, who has a very personal reason for wanting the strayed sheep to return to the flock. (NB – Gallow is not a sheep.)

We also enjoy some intensely crunching fights, some tough moral dilemmas, some scary magical armour (seriously, you don’t mess with the fateguard) and the best siege I’ve read in fantasy since Helm’s Deep.

The three books were published as paperback originals with striking, textless covers, over three months, and the response was very favourable.

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There were some lovely reviews:

“So go buy the whole series, you will not regret it, this is a series for fans of Historical fiction, fantasy, or those that love great books with great characters. Very highly recommended.” – Parmenion Books

and we had amazing quotes from fantasy authors, as you might expect from a Gollancz book:

Tom Lloyd, author of the TWILIGHT REIGN series, said : “A great mix of bloodied axes and brave warriors, an honest hero and the war that gets in his way”

James Barclay, author of the RAVEN and ELVES series, said: “‘The Crimson Shield is at once a huge adrenaline rush and a thoughtful examination of the destructive nature of war. The key protagonist, Gallow, is a cleverly constructed hero, full of conflict, confusion and bravery, a man who is unsure where his loyalties truly lie. A man driven by his upbringing and his love for his wife and family – factors that make very uncomfortable bedfellows. Mind you, he’s handy in a fight, very handy. Hawke has created a world with enough history, myth and folklore to make it believable. His prose is fluid, his dialogue crisp and his action very well-handled and visceral. It is not a long read and all the better for it. Entertaining, sometimes moving and always eminently readable. Highly recommended.”

But we were also thrilled to find that GALLOW’s low-magic, hard-hitting world found favour with some of the biggest authors of historical fiction writing at the moment:

Giles Kristian, author of the RAVEN series (a different one to James), said: “Reminds me of the tales that made me want to write novels in the first place. Great stuff.”

And Conn Iggulden, one of the bestselling authors of historical fiction in the UK, said this, which made us go all faint: “Shades of David Gemmell… It’s about time someone good took up the torch for heroic fantasy. Inspiring characters, great plot and culture. I read this in one session, utterly absorbed.”

So why am I telling you all this? Well, two reasons, really. At the time of release, Nathan Hawke provided us and various other websites with a dozen or so short stories, fragments and background material. We’re thrilled to announce that we will be publishing an omnibus of all three books along with the extra material (which adds up to an extra 10,000 words or so) slotted into the correct places. I should point out that all of this extra material is available for free somewhere on the web, but not all in one handy place. The physical omnibus of GALLOW: THE FATEGUARD TRILOGY will be out in December this year, ISBN: 9781473208384, but because we love you all, we’ve gone ahead and released the eBook omnibus early. That’s right, all three novels and the extra material, available right now for your e-device, at the low low price of whatever Amazon or your retailer of choice has decided to charge for it today.

So if you were looking for some tough, straightforward heroic fantasy, or some historical fiction, and weren’t sure what to buy, why not give these a go!

And for those of you who have already read them, good news – we’re delighted to say that in 2015 we’ll be publishing three eBook shorts/novellas continuing the Gallow story. We’ll tell you more about them soon, but for now, tell your friends and family… Gallow is coming…