I was given the opportunity to read The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar by Kim Rendfeld and all I have to say is wow!
Normally I steer clear of anything during this period because of the sheer barbarism of the era along with the subject matter. Either authors are too technical or don’t put forth the amount of effort needed to make the world feel real. Ms. Rendfeld breaks both molds.
Immediately she creates a tight family unit we immediately care and identify with. Leova is a mother struggling to protect her child after a savage raid by Charlemagne’s men. Everything she has ever known (husband, village, way of life) is taken away from her. She is sold into slavery by her jealous sister-in-law and forced to do the best she can in an unknown and controlling world.
As a mother, my heart broke for this character. She felt real, thanks to Ms. Rendfeld’s beautiful storytelling. The world is flush with detail and tiny tidbits. Nothing was left out. I cringed when her daughter was sold as a slave and forced into compromising situations. I felt the stress and fear of not known if your master would sell you or your children at a moment’s notice. So many glorious ups and downs. I told myself I would read up to the end of the chapter before bed only to blow through three or four and realize twelve came and went hours before.
As stated by another reviewer, this story shouldn’t be a full 5 stars due to the abrupt ending. After so many trials, the end felt a bit flat. We are presented with a nice little happily ever after which came off feeling forced. But that detail only takes it down a small amount. The Ashes of heaven’s Pillar is sure to suck you in. Since I can’t give 41/2 stars, I am giving it 5. Seriously, it is that good.
Thank you for killing off the evil guy towards the end of the book – really made my night. I wanted to murder him in so many ways.
I was utterly amazed by the world building this author did. The hours of work and research is unfathomable. Wow. Don’t hesitate to check this story out. You will NOT be disappointed.
772 AD: Charlemagne’s battles in Saxony have left Leova with nothing but her two children, Deorlaf and Sunwynn. Her beloved husband died in combat. Her faith lies shattered in the ashes of the Irminsul, the Pillar of Heaven. The relatives obligated to defend her and her family instead sell them into slavery.
In Francia, Leova is resolved to protect her son and daughter, even if it means sacrificing her own honor. Her determination only grows stronger as Sunwynn blossoms into a beautiful young woman attracting the lust of a cruel master and Deorlaf becomes a headstrong man willing to brave starvation and demons to free his family. Yet Leova’s most difficult dilemma comes in the form of a Frankish friend, Hugh. He saves Deorlaf from a fanatical Saxon and is Sunwynn’s champion – but he is the warrior who slew Leova’s husband.
Set against a backdrop of historic events, including the destruction of the Irminsul, “The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar” explores faith, friendship, and justice. This companion to Kim Rendfeld’s acclaimed “The Cross and the Dragon” tells the story of an ordinary family in extraordinary circumstances.