The Hastening Storm by C F Barrington

August 30, 2022

Please note, The Hastening Storm is the third book in an on-going series. If you haven’t read what has come before, The Wolf Mile and The Blood Isles, then the book-related waffle that follows will contain something akin to minor spoilery-type stuff.  

Live by the rules. Die by the rules. Or break them and take your chances in the chaos that follows…

The Pantheon Games are the biggest underground event in the world, with millions watching online as modern-day recruits battle to the death with weapons of the ancient world. Tyler Maitland left his life behind to search for his sister, who disappeared after joining the Pantheon’s Edinburgh chapter. But one year on, he’s still no closer to finding her…

After the shocking climax of the Grand Battle, Tyler must now find a way to forge a new brotherhood amongst his enemies. There will be new identities, new teammates, a new cause… but the same blood will flow on the streets while those at the top enjoy the show and count the money rolling in.

This season will be like no other. Tyler must accept a new mission, one that hasn’t been attempted in twenty years of the Pantheon. His life, and the search for his sister, depends on it.

A reader’s life can often be a tricky one. When you find an author whose work you really connect with, there is always going to be that unenviable moment where you have to wait for their next book to be released. When it comes to C F Barrington, I was lucky with The Wolf Mile and The Blood Isles. I discovered the Pantheon series just before book two was published so the wait was minimal. Then the fates turned against me; I had to wait many months for The Hastening Storm. Finally, it has arrived and the excitement in the air is palpable!

Tyler has changed immeasurably from the man we first met in The Wolf Mile. Life in the Pantheon has reshaped him. I love how he has evolved when presented with each new challenge he needs to overcome. Tyler has become the quintessential Pantheon warrior, forged in steel and blood. The fallout from the end of The Blood Isles has shifted Tyler’s role in a fundamental way. Half the fun of this novel is exploring how he deals with this huge change.

Barrington also spends time exploring the inner workings of the vast organisation that manages every detail of the Pantheon Games. Tyler’s teenage neighbour, Oliver, finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that lies very close to home.

Calder’s story also moves forward. Her experiences are the emotional heart of the novel. Forced to experience some of the most traumatic events in the entire narrative, Calder’s grim determination and steadfast refusal to give up continue to be the most riveting aspects of each new novel.

The Hastening Storm does exactly what I had hoped it would. We are finally starting to learn more and more about the other members of the Pantheon. Don’t get me wrong I love Edinburgh, it remains one of my favourite cities, but I need to know what goes on elsewhere in the world. There are five other groups that had, up until now, only been mentioned in passing. I’m not going to give anything about this away though. Even for me, that would be one spoiler too many. Suffice to say, the other Pantheon members that are introduced play a pivotal role in the wider story. Gods and kings truly are a law unto themselves.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned this before, but as an aside, I have to admit a particular fondness for the berserkers that make up part of The Horde. I think it’s probably down to the barely contained emotions, unkempt beards and multiple tattoos. You can ask anyone, this is very much my style.

Ultimately though, this book is all about ramping up the action. Making the world of the Pantheon bigger, better and more all-encompassing. It succeeds on every level. Events gather pace with each new paragraph and the final chapters are just as chaotic as I could have hoped for. The author has a keen eye when it comes to capturing the frenetic mayhem of the battlefield. The perspective shifts frequently from character to character making things all the more exciting. I’m not embarrassed to admit the climax of events left me completely dumbstruck. I loved every single second. The Pantheon series continues to go from strength to strength. Long may it continue.

The Hastening Storm is published by Head of Zeus and is available from 1st September. If you have read the previous novels in the Pantheon series then I can guarantee this latest instalment is going to make your chin hit the floor*.

My musical recommendation to accompany The Hastening Storm had to be something suitably dramatic, something epic. I’ve chosen Call of Duty: Vanguard by Bear McCreary. Honestly, I’ve been at this book reviewing lark for a long time now and I’ve been recommending music with each review. This may be the best match I have ever come up with**. Trust me, read the book while listening to the album and the battles will feel that much more visceral and bloody.

*In a good way.

**I do not make such sweeping statements lightly. I work hard at this nonsense you know.


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