Book Jacket


rank  Editors Pick
word count 25860
date submitted 07.06.2011
date updated 01.11.2011
genres: Thriller, Historical Fiction, Fanta...
classification: moderate

Venom Of The Malice Striker

Robert Myles

Ragnarök and Revelation in the time of The Black Death. A Viking seeks a cure, a Knight seeks a crusade. The Ends will meet.


1348. Alrik Olvirson is a hunter, an exile and a Viking. His peaceful existence shatters when a plague ship wrecks on the shore. The disease threatens Alrik's family. He resolves to journey out of exile in search of a cure.

With every step further into Christendom Alrik unveils signs of Ragnarök, the destiny of the Gods. This plague is the Venom of The Malice Striker, serpent herald of the end times.

An eccentric Prussian doctor searches for a cure that can wake Europe from its living nightmare, while an arrogant Venetian noble needs an army to restore his wounded Republic. Discovering a city free of the Black Death, they race toward Milan to unlock its secrets.

But a zealot Knight Hospitaller, defined by his Father’s failure at the Fall of Acre, makes the last heathen his personal Crusade. He will see his violent fervour bring the world into Revelation.

Can the power of the prophecies be overcome?


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action, adventure, axe, battle, black death, conspiracy, denmark, doctor, epic, germany, hospitaller, italy, malice striker, masons, nithhogg, norway,...

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missyfleming_22 wrote 1018 days ago

I've enjoyed reading this and for me it's usually touch and go with Historical Fiction. I think I will back this when I have some space. You do a great job of immersing the reader in this period. I can imagine the amount of research it took but it didn't feel that way, it felt natural, part of the story. Not like a lecture or info dump. If that makes any sense...

Anyway, you won over someone who most times will ignore a HF, so you've done a nice job here. Characters, description, dialogue...all something that set the tone for this book. I wish you luck with it.


Maxkrank wrote 1018 days ago

Cracking opening chapter. It's a great moment when the words 'Black Death' are uttered and no one on the beach understands them. Clearly a significant amount of research has been done. It shows on the page and informs whilst not detracting from the entertainment it provides. The uncompromising nature of Alrik makes for an attractive hero. Looking forward to reading more and will comment further. Stephen

KGleeson wrote 1018 days ago

I read the first chapter and found it a very powerful opening that shows a strong writer very capable of evoking vivid scenes. The first scene is very well crafted and gives the reader a real sense of place and time while creating such tension-- the reader is immersed in the elements-- all the cold and wind in a manner that remiinds me of Jane Smiley's Greenlanders. The sense of isolation, remoteness is so ably conveyed. The following scenes establishes well the kind of warm and loving family life he's established, despite the generations of exile from their real homeland. This sets the reader up well for the imminent tragedy when the plague ship arrives and Alrik loses all in a most horrifying and painful manner possible.

The research is artfully displayed in the detail of the description that lends authenticity to the whole of the novel. The tale is told in a manner somewhat similar to Tim Severin's novels or Bernard Cornwell's but actually with a bit more power. I'm sure this will find a market in that popular genre. My only one thought is that you might consider breaking the first chapter into two-- establish the happy home in the first one and then the arrival of the plague ship and its effects in the next. Kristin

Tails22 wrote 1031 days ago

This is by far one of the best stories I have found on this site. Not only is your writing style close to perfect but you make few grammar mistakes and your descriptions allow the reader to feel as if he/she is living this Viking life alongside Alrik and his family. In a way your writing is similar to that of Ken Follett (if I've spelled that correctly), who happens to be one of my favourite authors. This is backed with pleasure, and I hope with all my heart that I get to see this in a bookstore one day!

The Hunt for Taylor Mason

apelle wrote 1028 days ago

I can spot a good writer when i come across such a fine craft.
your writing is intense and it grabbed me quicker than i could fight it back....

neicyhope101 wrote 541 days ago

Looks like i'm a little late! Well, congrats!!! Please, don't hesitate if you produce another work of art and i'll be more than happy to read!


made wrote 557 days ago

This is really really good I could feel
My heart beat reading this

Bruce Springsteen wrote 769 days ago

I got your message too late. Congrats on your shiny badge there, mate! Good luck on your review, I think it'll be a good one!

DaveR wrote 796 days ago

Vivid scene construction, I particularly like the build up to the arrival of the plague ship. Nice sense of place, good characters, dialogue sounds true. It's a good read with a quick pace.

Sue50 wrote 906 days ago

Very captivating! Happy to place your work on my shelf. Hope you have a chance to take a look at Dark Side by CC Brown.

BobbyDazzler wrote 909 days ago

Good luck with this. I enjoyed reading it and would buy it in a shop.

Amaresh Pandya wrote 911 days ago

An amazing plot, Robert! No wonder, this is on the verge of the Editorial Desk. My best wishes!!


sixpence wrote 911 days ago

Elegant and poetic writing. Not my usual genre, but I enjoyed this because of the richly textured prose as much as anything.

Wanttobeawriter wrote 912 days ago

Venom Of The Malice Striker
This is a story which is great to read because you describe details like body movements and your characters’ surroundings so vividly. You have a good hero in Alrik. He strong and courageous, yet concerned about his family and their future. Makes a reader want to follow him to see how this al turns out. I’m adding it to y shelf. Wannabeawriter. Who killed the President?

AMW wrote 913 days ago


Vivid writing and an unusual story. Felt a chill as I read the part about the hunt.

I did notice some homonym difficulties. Chap 1 calloused hand - should be callused (callous is the attitude.)

In chap2 noticed pale used instead of pail.

Beginning of 2nd scene and beginning of 2nd chap, you left us wondering whose head we were in. First example it was Thora, second Alrick. But there's no reason not to let the reader know right away.

Congratulations on your high rating with this!

Ann Warner - Absence of Grace

Amobi wrote 916 days ago

Excellent writing and research. I will back it and look foward to reading more. I love historical fiction and have one right now on the Authonomy website. If you can, please take a moment to read it and hopefully back it. It is titled "Women of Steel" Thanks,

Cosmicdancer83 wrote 916 days ago

Exciting stuff! I wish history had been taught to me like this!

KirkH wrote 916 days ago

Amazing story! Amazing writing! What can I say. I read all three of the (very long) chapters and wondered how long it would take to read the entire novel if this was posted on Autho in its entirety. Alrik is the ultimate kick-ass Viking, Parsifal, the German scientist, who is the ideal right-hand man and close friend to the Norseman, while Morosini is the untrusted compnaion who is needed for the journey to MIlan due to his connections and wealth - but has other ambitions. The story reminds me a little of Bernard Cornwell's novel "Azincourt" and a mixture of Tolkiens's first ring book, "Fellowship of the Ring", because we have a council in the presence of the Bishop in Copenhagen, a rumor of Milan being free from the Black Death, and the hopes of finding a cure through some sort of black magic (the so-called venom of the malice striker - the title of the book). Well done.
I hope you find a good review and grace from the "venomous" clutches of the HC Editors!

Ribbon wrote 919 days ago

I think you have a real knack of setting the scene. When he is hunting the pace is slowed helping us to move along with the action. Your description is great giving the reader a real sense of the place and time.

I have to say that I found the chapters a little long and sometimes I would prefer more action from the characters to show how they feel rather then tell us about their emotional states.

A lot of time and effort must have been done in respect of research and it shows.

Good job,


Douglas Fir wrote 920 days ago

As I am a fan of both historical fact and historical fiction, I found this read to be extremely interesting. There is not much more I can to the comments already posted. Some outstanding research has gone into the crafting of this piece. Careful attention has been given to the understanding of the factual material upon which the story is based. It certainly deserves to be published.

Hermione wrote 920 days ago

Lots of people seem to like this, but it's so not my sort of thing that if you don't mind I'll save my shelf space for someone more needy. It's really well crafted, though, and I wish you luck with it.

orma wrote 921 days ago

A well written story. Realism is crafted into the story, so much so I was aghast at the step by step enactment of the killing of the deer!!
You have a woderful descriptive narration. I could imagine every scene in my head and I do not have the least idea, what it was like in this historical era.
But that didn't matter as you write with a passion which brings your characters to life, very easily.
I cannot find a criticism to bestow on this cratwork of a very realistic story.
Well done and good luck to you.
six starred.

GCleare wrote 922 days ago

I had trouble with the beginning of this book. The first paragraph of chapter 1 is boring and confusing (curling curtain of ice??), frankly. Here you are with a great action hunting scene, but you start off telling us about the weather. It would be vastly improved by jumping right into the action, and then telling us about the white snow after you get our attention. Beginnings are so crucial! A great first sentence can make or break you with the editors. Aside from that, your writing is clean and eloquent, I enjoyed the read. Good luck with this! It looks like you may make it to The Desk this month. And I hope you have time to take a quick look at one of mine, whichever appeals to you more. ~Gail

Marla-Bowie wrote 922 days ago

This genre isn't my cup of tea, however, I must say I really like your writing style. Your descriptions are lovely to read and creates wonderful imagery. I do feel like I'm in the moment when I'm reading your book.


fullhouse07 wrote 923 days ago

Chapter 1 Long sentences need to be shortened into more sentences. In this fast paced world where readers want to move on, commas make them keep an inventory and bog them down. Love your descriptions. There are some minor errors and questions, but this format is difficult to pinpoint the spots. Hopefully they will be corrected when publishing. This is a wonderful, heart wrenching story.

Second Chances
Summer Vacation

Sue Harries wrote 925 days ago

will back asap excellent
sue ''It's a Dog's Life''

Watchmaker wrote 925 days ago

A very exciting, enjoyable read. I could almost feel the snow in the first chapter. Great use of language. Backed and highly rated.

Seraphim62 wrote 925 days ago

I started reading your book this moning whilst on my tea break, but was unable to tear myself away and found myself in between serving customers. Your first chapter (all I've had chance to read) is brilliant, and really grabs you by the throat from the first paragraph - never have I been so engrossed by a Viking hunting in the snow.
Your characters are the richest I've read so far on Authonomy; Alrik, is a brilliant protagonist, stong and unyielding, but at the same time holds a frailty that's very endearing; Frodi, is the perfect Viking child, his vivid emotions at the end of the chapter really brought him to life for me:- "Frodi's eyes shone with the first sparks of manhood. He hated his father, ther murderer, but could not speak for grief of his mother." Immaculate description.
I love the tone of the book and how the innocence of this picturesque family and their home has been blighted by the plaque.
You write brilliantly and I can't wait to read further about Alrik, and your other two viewpoint characters.
Backed and starred with pleasure.

Philthy wrote 925 days ago

Hi Robert,

I’m finally getting a chance to check out your book. In a forum, I saw that you were thinking about changing the title. Not sure why. My vote is to keep it. I like it.

Here are some comments and findings. They are, of course, my humblest opinions.

Your short pitch is confusing, hence, not effective. I don’t know what Ragnarok is or what it has to do with your story, nor do I know what “ends” you’re talking about.

“shipwrecks” should be one word, though I’m not sure it’s the best word choice. Can a plague shipwreck? A crew is shipwrecked because they lost their ship and are stranded. A plague doesn’t work this way. It can come off a ship regardless of it being wrecked, and it doesn’t care about losing its ship. This is awkward. I’d choose another word.

In the second paragraph, there should be a comma after “Christendom.”

This pitch starts off great, but gets jumbled with too much back story and excessive wordiness. Might consider scrubbing it to focus on the hard-hitting hooks.

“Scandinavia had been subjected to forced conversion of Christianity.” Simplify to “Scandinavians had been forced to convert to Christianity.”

Chapter I

You start with “his.” Why not tell us his name right away?

The ice curls to reveal reindeer? Hard to see. I think this needs to be clearer.

“in such frigid opposition from the elements” is awkward. “amidst frigid opposition” or “in the frigid environment.” It is clunky saying he’s IN the opposition. Doesn’t really work.

Good stuff! You’ve got some great description. Other imagery I’m not sure works so well, but overall this is good writing and a very good story. I’ll give it some time on my shelf when I have a spot. Might be a little later in the month though. I know you’ve got a race going on, but that’s the best I can do right now. It deserves a backing, though.

If you get the chance, I’d invite you to check out my pitch and read on if it interests you. I’d love to know your thoughts.

Good luck, Robert and all the best!

(Deshay of the Woods)

ironinthesoul wrote 927 days ago

An exciting and credible beginning. The hunt is so well described and the arrival of the Black Death is horrifying. I don't know this historical period that well but it feels like a lot of research has gone into the book. A very satisfying read.

Penny Leigh wrote 927 days ago

I truely enjoyed this on a whole. The historic fiction blended nicely with the characters woven into a creative tale. The amount of research must have take a while to compail, but it flowed smoothly and it shows. Well done!

The Glass Serpent

KClark64 wrote 927 days ago

I read some of this. Obviously, you have done a good deal of work on this and it is pretty polished. While I was reading about the hunt in the beginning, I was wondering how important this hunt is? If he brings back no meat, will his family not eat. Are they waiting at home expectantly? It just seemed to me that knowing that the family was possibly living on the edge would give this more immediacy. Although, perhaps this would not fit into the narrative.

There were a couple of phrases you might think about modifying.

"hunter stayed laying the snow" seems awkward, perhaps rephrase
"But so too did it blind his prey" maybe "But it also blinded his prey"

I'm also not sure the title is a grabber. It seems a bit opaque. But what do I know?

I'm not really active on the site much now, so don't feel any obligation to read/comment on any of my stuff.

Hope this helps.

Kevin Clark

celticwriter wrote 928 days ago

Hi Robert, it's all so much a wonderfully visual tale. On WL for now.... Would make a wonderful movie.


AlexB1 wrote 929 days ago

I couldn't access part 1 for some reason but I started reading part 2. I liked what I read, well written and evokes interest in the character.

WL and backed. Will read some more tomorrow

AlexB1 wrote 929 days ago

I couldn't access part 1 for some reason but I started reading part 2. I liked what I read, well written and evokes interest in the character.

WL and backed. Will read some more tomorrow

jterru wrote 929 days ago

The Blurb grabbed my attention due to the historical nature. A strong first chapter will keeps fans of historical fiction coming back for more. Another Benard Cornwell in the making.

Ivan Amberlake wrote 929 days ago

Hi Robert! I read the beginning of your book and was really impressed with your writing. Well done with your pushing for the desk! Gave it my six star rate to help you get on the desk this month :)

By the way, I saw in the forum you have doubts about the title of the book - to me this one is really evocative. That's just my pov.

Ivan Amberlake
The Beholder

angelwithabullet wrote 930 days ago

i don't think you need me to heap praise on your work as you have so many fans already.
i love this eara and i love your writing of it.
perfect in every sense. you had me from the first few lines when the tide came in to drown the poor souls ...
great. i've given it five stars and rated it too.
good luck - although i don't think you need it!
kaye x

Warrick Mayes wrote 930 days ago

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. I read to where the sailor on the beech is found alive, and would easily have read more if time allowed.
This is wonderful story telling, magical in its descriptions and pure in its path. The characters are vivid and believable, and the language is most enjoyable.

I see you've had many comments, is it still climbing the charts? It deserves a high place in my opinion.


book fan 85 wrote 930 days ago

Not usually my kind of read, but i saw a t.v. program on these Vikings a while back and it deff sounds like you've done your research. You have a strong and fluid writing style that draws the reader into your Historical tale, which is something that's usually hard to do without leaving out facts or long descriptions. A book with promise :-)

Tamme Fawn wrote 931 days ago

I have just started reading, but you have fine writing style, very similar to what I have seen written by excellent writers. Keep up the good work!

Noelle J. Alabaster wrote 931 days ago

Hi Robert,
This is very interesting, set in a time were few books are. Here are some thoughts I had as I read through the first half of chapter one.
"Wrapped in skins, his chest pushed into the thick snow." This kind of confused me at first. You might consider saying he's was in a snowdrift sooner than later.
"respectful ever to his opponent" you might try saying 'ever respectful of his opponent'
"getting drunk and having fun" in the dialogue you've been using "having fun" sounds odd.
I hope this helps you.
You book is on my WL and I'll be back. Looks good!

Floodo wrote 931 days ago

I liked this becuase of the sheer immediacy of the story - one is with it all through. What you do less effectively perhaps is repeat language . Look at the last para in Ch 1. 'Three of them watched as he turned from them. 'As he walked away'. Be a ittle more adventurous wiht vocabulary as it is less likey to become repetitive that way. Good story though. I haven't read it all yet.

LouiseSopher wrote 931 days ago

For something that I did not think was my kind of read I was pleasantly surprised. It took me a little while to get into it, but as soon as your dialogue began: 'Frodi says the mountains are going to eat us! He says their tummies are rumbling like ours do!' - I was gripped.

Backed with pleasure.

Best of luck,
Diane Cannan
'Drifters: The Impossible Sky'

D M Sharples wrote 931 days ago


Your imagery in this is good, with well thought out metaphors and similes used skilfully to enhance it. I would watch for overuse of adverbs and adjectives - at the start the heavily worded description sits well, as it slows the pace down in line with the required patience a hunter would have. Later on, it serves to help create the sense of an isolated, harsh existence. However, at times it does come across as a bit flowery, with an unnecessary number of words used.

A few grammatical issues:
'Sometime' used instead of 'sometimes'
'Practiced, worn hand...' I think should either have 'a' preceding it or use the plural 'hands'
'Pray' where it should be 'prey'

In summary, it;s a good story and well told, but too flowery in parts in my opinion, particularly where I want characterisation to be conveyed through actions, rather than through dictated emotions. And try not to be ‘arty’ with dialogue tags; keep them simple to make them invisible and keep the reader engaged with the dialogue. Your description is very good in most parts, but you need to be strict about when to back off from the lengthy words and sentences in favour of pushing the story forward.

D M Sharples.

KenFloyd wrote 933 days ago

Great writing! I backed the book. I think the editors need to read this.

Ken Floyd
Waves of Regret

beasthunter wrote 936 days ago
Sharahzade wrote 936 days ago

Robert Myles

What a splendidly told tale you have created for those of us who love histories of places and the people who lived long ago. It was poignant but so very alive for me. I believe the way you write characters is so excellent I would go as far as to say perfection. I could feel what they felt, mourn at their tragedy and I was filled with hope for those who survived. Your writing really moved me.

In a few places, early on you use the word "pale" to describe a container I believe. Did you mean pail? That is absolutely the only thing I could see that you might consider changing.

I am pleased to back you and offer you the six stars afforded to me. I sincerely wish that you would deem it worthy to read my work. Comments from a writer of your skill would honor me. Thank you for the invitation to read your Venom of The Malice Striker.

I viewed your video with great admiration. I am accustomed to that sort of trailer for I am a gamer who has long enjoyed the adventures of World of Warcraft. The preview of your story was expertly done. I see your hero as a Paladin, fighting for justice in a hostile world.

Congratulations on your achievement.


Mary Enck
A King in Time

Weaver Reads wrote 936 days ago

Just watched your trailer. Wow! I'm truly impressed! Just like the trailer to a movie, one that I would want to watch and buy to see over and over. Terrific job. My next question: How do I do that?

All my best to you and as a fellow authonomite racing you to the top! :) Good luck to your great work!
~ The Governess ~

Meg1800s wrote 937 days ago

Hi Robert,

You've got a really special story with the unique gift to give it the weight that it deserves. It's such a pleasure to read stories where the talent of the author is matched with the scale of the book. The characters are great and the opening scene made me shiver since you described winter so well! I do oodles of research for my own historical fiction, so I can appreciate a fellow history buff's dedication. A few too many commas and it can be a bit confusing as you switch tenses in some sentences. But that's ridiculously minor so don't worry about it - an editor can see the merit in what you have. Good luck and wish you the best on climbing to the top! :)

~ Meg

Meg1800s wrote 937 days ago

Hi Robert,

You've got a really special story with the unique gift to give it the weight that it deserves. It's such a pleasure to read stories where the talent of the author is matched with the scale of the book. The characters are great and the opening scene made me shiver since you described winter so well! I do oodles of research for my own historical fiction, so I can appreciate a fellow history buff's dedication. A few too many commas and it can be a bit confusing as you switch tenses in some sentences. But that's ridiculously minor so don't worry about it - an editor can see the merit in what you have. Good luck and wish you the best on climbing to the top! :)

~ Meg

Christine May wrote 937 days ago

this is the best writing I have seen in a long time, full of passion, action, survival and poetry. You are gifted Robert.

susannah wrote 937 days ago

I was pulled immediately into this book- the characters are distinctive and real and the description is vivid. I will be backing this book and coming back to it to read more! I liked the structure your chose, with the calmer moment at the beginning, during the hunt. A couple of people have said that there isn't enough action but I don't think that is the case- the action come soon enough and i think that giving the reader a clear picture of how the character live is really important- especially in historical fiction.
One thing I would say is that although one of the book's main strengths is its description, there are occasions when it comes across as a bit self conscious, particularly at the beginning and there were the odd occasions when I was not sure what I should be picturing e.g. 'silken curtain of ice, which sometimes curled itself enough to reveal..' -how does ice make a curtain? how is it curling? A clever and vivid description (as yours generally are!) needs to conjure up the image in the readers' mind, not leave them puzzling what is mean- especially at the beginning of the story when you really need to get the reader to enter your world. Good luck with your novel!

Charlotte Elise wrote 941 days ago

Robert, this is something else! I was so hooked by every scene I swear I forgot I was actually reading. You evoke so much emotion with your well crafted descriptions and narrative; emotions that just continue to grow as the story develops. I am not often so affected by books as I was reading yours.

Your opening is great, and really paints an immediate picture of Alrik. You had me after the first two lines, easy. The whole first scene is great, in fact; excellently conveyed, clear tone of the story to come. We already know something about Alrik without him saying one word.

The whole family dynamic in the second scene was really natural, from the relationships with the children to Alrik’s story telling. Loved that!

Alrik is a wonderful character, very much a Viking! I really want to see him to succeed. Thora is equally likable, which made her scene on the beach in chapter one all the more heart wrenching! The dialogue between all the characters reads very easily, like real conversation.

I could see the village and the beach clearly in my head as I read. Very atmospheric for the tone you set initially in scene one.

Like I said, this book is something else. I am keeping Venom of the Malice Striker on my shelf until it gets to the desk.

Keep writing the way you are; its brilliant!

- Charlotte Elise.

DanR wrote 943 days ago

The first story I ever wrote for UPI that received world-wide newspaper play was a feature about a supposed Norse site in Western New York. I have been interested in this subject for many years. You have done a terrific job of description and scene building. It is a very long chapter, but I'm not sure how you can shorten it. I'm adding you to my shelf. I hope you will look at my novel, The Blue Girl Murders, as well.
Dan Riker