It took Hohlbein a long while to finish the book, but it was definitely worth it. As I already have pointed out the book was orignially going to be much thicker, but then Hohlbein decided to split “Death’s ship” into “Blood war” and “Ship of Demons“.
In the icy northlands, Andrej Delany and Abu Dun encounter vikings, and find out that they are plagued and terrorised by the god Odin. Andrej promisses Thure, leader of the vikings, to help them fight for their freedom, and together the raise an army for war. In the meantime, he also falls in love with Urd, Thure’s sister.
The journey to the isle of Odin (you know, the isle Andrej and Abu Dun landed on in Bloodwar) is under no good star, as the vikings are attacked by the demonic “ship”/ monstrum “Nagelfahr”, “the ship of the dead”. Then they have to fight valkyries, Odin’s ravens, Sleipnir, his eightlegged horse, and at last an almighty god.
But would a god’s defeat really bring Andrej peace? Or is it more a beginning of a new jounrey? Andrej will learn the tragic truth when he returns to his own ship of demons…
“Ship of Demons” has a lot of story going on, and it’s still one of the thickest books in the franchise. You may have noticed in my description, that the fight- and action-scenes are amazing. Every singe lone of them is well described, thrilling and very individual (keep in mind that this may be the book with the most fight scenes in the franchise so far)
But even more fascinating (and thrilling!) than the fight scenes are in fact the quiet scenes between Andrej and Urd. The characters are appealing, the dialogue is so well written. It’s like watching real people getting into a relationship. Urd is a special character: She is strong, astonishingly beautiful, while being kind and lovely in the same time. In fact, I kinda like her more than Maria, Andrej’s “one true love”. She turns out to be not as vulnerable as you may think at first.
I’m aware of the fact that I almost didn’t mention Abu Dun. To be honest, I have not got much memory of him in the book other than forging a huge sword throughout the book. Ok, in the last third he does some awesome stuff .
As for the showdown. It’s short, but awesome. The true villain is revealed to be none other than the God of Deceiving in disguise. But how can a god be killed with ordinary weapons? Well, he can’t, that’s why during the fight Andrej’s beloved Sarazensword bursts and is lost forever… But Odin has a change of heart and presents Andrej with hos own sword/spear Gunjir. The bloodseeking blade may be the only weapon that is able to kill a god.
You may already haev noticed, but “Ship of Demons” is my favourite book in the chronicles’ franchise. I’ve given enough reasons to love the book in the above, so there’s not much more to add. It’s kinda pity that the original title wasn’t used further, for “Death’s ship” would be much closer to the true meaning of the book, and it would also lead to a double interpretation, as it could not only mean Andrej’s ship, the Fenrir, but also the Nagelfahr, the seamonstrum that creates zombies and ghuls. “Ship of Demons” refers to the Fenrir, as it priorly has been belonging to the werwolves from “Bloodwar”. The ship’s name is based on the mythological creature “Fenrirwolf”, probably parent of all werewolves. The Fenrirwolf was a child of Loki, Odin’s son.
The rest is up to your imagination…