The Gatewatch, Advanced Book Review

The Gatewatch

Written by Joshua Gillingham

Released 17th May 2020

“The Gatewatch is an epic troll-hunting adventure inspired by the Norse Myths and the Icelandic Sagas.”



As the resident Valkyrie bookworm who feasts purely on Norse Mythology and Viking Historical fiction –  I was quite excited when I was lucky to receive an ARC copy of a new Norse Fantasy book that is positively dripping with the drama, adventure, and magic of Old Norse Sagas. The Gatewatch, is a wonderful blend of the same atmosphere of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (which was also influenced by Norse Mythology) and the narrative captures the imagination as if being told by a fire in a longhouse.

What is The Gatewatch?

The reader will follow the adventures of three young men, Torrin, Bryn & Grimsa – who have been called upon to serve their time at Gatewatch. It is an ancient fortress that stands between the mountains and the peaceful fjords and fields, but most significantly between the Trolls, Giants, and other dark forces that may threaten the people in the Realm of Noros. Delightfully, the adventure does not wait for them but begins with the first few pages, when a harmless night outside the fort is disrupted and pushes them headfirst into the dangerous Wild Lands. 

It both unites and sometimes weakens our heroes who have joined with other new recruits but ultimately forges them into heroes. They will be essential in saving the Gatewatch from destruction when they perchance to discover a most sinister plot beneath the mountains.

A unique voice and identity 

There is a lot about this story that made me think of Lord of The Rings. However, I am pleased to say this tale did still stand alone with its own identity, quality, and narrative. I also really enjoyed the references to the adventures the Norse Gods themselves had. In all the characters there are qualities that the Vikings themselves would recognise as heroic. Whether it involved competition by word, strength, agility, or by stomach through to the bravery demonstrated against each new danger and threat. For those of us who are familiar with the Norse legends, you will recognise motifs, scenes, and more.

The descriptions of the food and drink of this world are also Willy Wonker in quality. I was left drooling in a Homer Simpson like fashion during some of the more peaceful scenes. All of it was very fitting for both the historical and fantastical context of this new world.

Well rounded characters in The Gatewatch

The characters are far from two dimensional and very soon the reader will have a favourite. Each displays classical behavior such as the one who likes to drink & eat, the one who is fast and charming, and the one who is the thinker. Yet each also has deeper levels of character that come across with their interactions with allies and foes alike.

The Gatewatch front cover

The book cover is also a piece of unique and yet traditional design. It emanates the levels of adventure and magic to be found within its pages. This is a brilliant adventure book inspired by some of the oldest adventures known to the Norse. It will certainly delight young teen readers and adults alike. I am genuinely looking forward to the sequel.

Pre-Order your copy via Amazon UK by clicking here

The Gatewatch – Author Bio 

Joshua Gillingham is a Canadian author from the scenic city of Nanaimo, BC. There he enjoys life with his adventurous spouse and their two very unadventurous cats. The Gatewatch, his debut novel, was born of his unremitted fascination with Norse Myths and Icelandic Sagas. Joshua’s lyrical maritime ballad The Queen of the Rose Marie was selected for the Short Story Dispenser Project hosted by Short Édition and his award-winning essay Becoming a Resilient Writer has been featured on several sites for aspiring writers. When he is not hunched over his laptop sipping coffee and tapping frantically at the keyboard. Joshua performs Irish and Maritime music with The Ugly Mugs and designs Viking-themed board games for Little Hammer Games. 

Find more at joshuagillingham.ca or on Twitter – @JoshMGillingham. 

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