I am always a reader for a series and so I was immediately drawn to Anvil of God as it was first with more to come. I know very little about the history of this time period but just to give the book a frame of reference the father of Anvil of God, Charles "The Hammer" Martel, was the grandfather of Charlemagne.
In many ways, Anvil of God, is the story of a family. The older son who overcompensates to immolate his father, the youngest son who is directionless, careless and a bit of a brat, a spoiled only daughter who finds her strength and the middle son who seems to be the voice of reason.
The trouble starts when Charles dies willing his vast empire to his three sons, in thirds. Never a good idea and really it begs the question of what he was thinking. Was it the power of his wife, Sunni, trying to protect the youngest son, her own? Was he trying to be fair? Charles Martel, surely not. Perhaps, he was curious as to what would happen; that follows his personality more aptly.
There is a lot of war and battle descriptions in Anvil of God which I thought would bore me to tears, but it is the strength of the characters that make the story. Each and every one has a story and Gleason is able to give you a glimpse into their character without over describing them. This expert character development is the strength of the novel; it is one of those that you can't put down until you discover what has happened.
Anvil of God is packed with history but also intrigue, love and hate, sacrifice and selfishness, death and rebirth, war and peace. It is guaranteed to hold you in its grip to the last sentence and then have you waiting for book two.