The Visigoth Chronicles – Charlotte Jardine
I love stories set in the Roman era particularly those which provide insights into the tribal and cultural aspects, mythology, and social norms of the period. But it’s rare to find a story which focuses on Visigoths, so I was excited to come across The Visigoth Chronicles by Kiwi historical fiction writer Charlotte Jardine and even more excited to discover that the series involves significant supernatural elements. Surreptitiously, I moved the first book, Jaws of the Wolf, to the top of the to-read pile, but the cover kept waving at me, so I moved it to my lap and started reading. Here’s the blurb:
He’s her father’s slave. She’s promised to another. But war changes everything.
Northern Europe, 376 AD. Gelvira dreams of becoming a powerful jeweler. But the arrogant son of a tribal elder wants her for a wife instead. After a Hun raid sends her people into exile, her chance to master the ancient secrets of her craft are stripped away…
Adafuns yearns to become a great warrior and win Gelvira’s affection. But as a slave in her father’s service, he has little chance of either. Captured and carried off by the Huns, Adafuns’ dream of being a warrior could come true… at the cost of losing Gelvira forever.
With her people starving, marrying the tribal elder’s spoiled son may be Gelvira’s only hope to save her family. Will Adafuns reunite with the exiles in time to free Gelvira from her loathsome vows?
As you can tell, it’s a dual protagonist story, with the stories of Gelvira and Adafuns running parallel throughout the narrative. The teen characters are well drawn and their voices distinct, told in Jardine’s crisp and evocative style. The world-building is sharp too, Jardine’s research hors pair, the author adding important details to her narrative to reveal the beauty and brutality of life for her embattled tribespeople. The battle scenes are violent and fast-paced, but not graphic, while the love scenes are tender and fleeting, making Jaws of the Wolf appropriate for both YA and adult readers. The themes are universal ‒ love and loyalty in the face of war ‒ but Jardine also addresses the complex issue of slavery during this tumultuous time, and cleverly connects the story threads using Gelvira’s skill for metallurgy.
I was a little disappointed that ‘Vira and Ada’s story wasn’t resolved by the end of Jaws of Wolf, but the conclusion is coming, with the second and final instalment, Shadow of the Eagle, releasing on November 25. I pre-ordered it. I know, I know. I couldn’t help it. Jaws of the Wolf is a great read and if the cover of Shadow of the Eagle is anything to go by, there is a good chance it will bunny-hop to the front of the queue, too.
Biography: Charlotte Jardine writes Historical Fiction, Contemporary Romance and Romantic Adventure. Her books feature courageous heroines, big-hearted heroes, adventure and love. Her love of history came from reading the adventures of Asterix and Tintin at a young age and continued into adult life, when she studied Classics and Roman History to postgraduate level at university. While working as a desk slave by day, she spends her evenings escaping into other worlds via her writing. You can visit her at her website: