Riddle of the Gods by Eric Schumacher

June 5th, 2024 Kimberly Guest Post, Review 8 Comments

5th Jun

Sophia Rose is here today with the fourth book in the best-selling series chronicling the life and adventures of one of Norway’s most controversial kings, Olaf Tryggvason. Come check out Sophia’s thoughts and add this saga to your TBR pile.

Riddle of the Gods by Eric Schumacher
Riddle of the Gods
by Eric Schumacher
Series: Olaf's Saga #4
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Author
Purchase*: Amazon *affiliate
Rating: One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Riddle of the Gods is the riveting fourth novel in the best-selling series chronicling the life and
adventures of one of Norway’s most controversial kings, Olaf Tryggvason. It is AD 976. Olaf
Tryggvason, the renegade prince of Norway, has lost his beloved wife to a tragedy that turns the lords of
the land he rules against him. With his family gone and his future uncertain, Olaf leaves his realm and
embarks on a decades-long quest to discover his course in life. Though his journey brings him power and
wealth, it is not until he encounters the strange man in the streets of Dublin that his path to fame
unfolds. And in that moment, he is forced to make a choice as the gods look on – one that could either
destroy him or ensure his name lives on forever.

Sophia Rose’s Review

The intrepid and fierce Vikings live again within the pages of the latest book in the Olaf Saga, Riddle of the Gods. Eric Schumacher is a new to me author and I have rarely ventured into books featuring a Viking protagonist or the Viking world of the early medieval age, but I can be open to the exception when the mood hits me.

Riddle of the Gods is the fourth book in the Olaf Saga following the life and adventures of notorious real life Viking, Olaf Tryggvason in a well-crafted historical fiction filling in where detail is scarce in a way that felt plausible and authentic to the character and times. Riddle of the Gods is not the best place to start for following the human story going on, but I didn’t feel lost, either, jumping in here with Olaf and Torvil, his longtime loyal friend’s story. So, this is book four and a lot has gone down in Olaf’s life up to this point.

This saga is narrated from Torvil’s perspective. Torvil swore to Olaf’s father to take care of him and they’ve been through thick and thin together, I gather. Olaf seemed to have settled in with the Wagarians and had a wife, but that falls apart when Olaf’s wife dies. Olaf goes a-Viking. He becomes a mercenary, hiring out to an Irishman against other Irish. At this point, the title of the book comes into play when Olaf is faced with Christianity or Pagan? Can a pagan give his sword-arm to a Christian? And other moral concerns related to who he hires out to and what he does. Olaf has no scruples about it if the money’s right. He’s going for the money and power now.

And, herein lies the rub, poor Torvil has scruples about who he fights for and against. A friendship is torn asunder and they part ways, though both remain at distant locations within what will be the British Isles. There is even dangerous reference of traitor about Torvil within Olaf’s band. In my mind, that all depends on some factors of who was being traitorous, and Olaf wasn’t exactly truthful when he talks of what split the two. Yes, I was more drawn to Torvil than Olaf, but Olaf is a big move and shaker who captivated my attention. I found it easy to see how such a character could rise and dominate in a ruthless world, knowing exactly what was at stake if he was seen as weak or vulnerable.

Riddle of the Gods didn’t stint on the fighting (and, yes, those who are familiar with my reading habits can count on me rushing quickly past the details when reading the squicky bits), but was also layered with an eye for character development, build of plot, and historical backdrop so it was a fully fledged out historical saga keeping me in the story. Obviously, Olaf’s saga is nowhere near completion, but I appreciated how this segment of the saga felt resolved to an extent.

In summary, I was impressed with my first venture into Eric Schumacher’s writing and delving into his Olaf’s Saga Viking world. This is historical fiction for those who like the bark on it when it comes to the dark and gritty medieval ages and I definitely recommend it to Viking era fans.


About Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher

Eric Schumacher discovered his love for writing and medieval European history at a very early age, as well as authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Bernard Cornwell, Jack Whyte, and Wilbur Smith. Those discoveries fueled his imagination and continue to influence the stories he tells. His first novel, God's Hammer, was published in 2005.

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About Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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About Kimberly
Kimberly is a coffee loving book addict who reads and listens to fictional stories in all genres. Whovian, Ravenclaw, Howler and proud Nonna. She owns and manages Caffeinated PR. The coffee is always on and she is ready to chat. Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

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8 Responses to “Riddle of the Gods by Eric Schumacher”

    • Sophia Rose

      I never did watch that popular Vikings show, but I’ve watched a few real life documentaries and historical locations, like you, and enjoyed them. I did need to skim a few parts to make it through so I don’t blame you if you’re wary, Rachel. The world of the story was very strong as were the characters which helped pull me through.

  1. Ethan

    Despite being new to Viking tales and starting with book four, it’s great to hear that you could still follow the story and enjoy the rich historical details and character development.

    Ethan recently posted: The Unwedding by Ally Condie
    • Sophia Rose

      I confess to not being confident I could jump in on the saga four books in or handle the gritty nature of a Viking band, but I was fortunate. 🙂