635AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and third instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.
Oswald is now King of Northumbria. However, his plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising.
Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive.
Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge. Beobrand will give his blood and blade in service to his king, but will that be enough to avert disaster and save his kith and kin from the evil forces that surround them?
©2016 Matthew Harffy (P)2016 Audible, Ltd
I liked Bernard Cornwall's Anglo Saxon Chronicles, but I loved this.
History brought to life.
It was a great follow up to book 2 and though it has been awhile since I have read it I felt like from the off set I was where I had left off, I feel that I have learned about some figures in history I never new about which is why I always appreciate the explanation in the author's notes. I couldn't see why there was a need for a fifth book but after hearing this it made total sense with new characters introduced we will get to hear about them, and this I look forward to, Barnaby Edwards has done a great job with engaging the listener especially with using regional dialects but if you have children about that you are cautious in the event they are swear sensitive. Don't however let this put you off from the Audio, insults were not uncommon in such times as they are today.
"Transports the reader to the 7th century"
Another great story by Matthew Harffy! If you have read the first two books in the Bernicia Chronicles, you already know that this one is going to be packed with action, perfectly described battle scenes, and the sort of bantering that only takes place between men who risk their lives together. What makes this series stand out is that all that testosterone is balanced by Beobrand's deeper search for love and meaning in his life. His character continues to develop in this story as he serves King Oswald.
When we first met Beobrand in The Serpent Sword, he was young and impetuous, full of righteous indignation, and attempting to discover if he could be a better man than his father had been. Some of that struggle continues, but he has also been through much of the refining fire of life that has formed him into a man who others depend on despite his youth. He is still impetuous, and to some extent still trying to figure out what the future, or the gods, or the One True God, have in store for him. Whatever it is, he will face it head-on with sword in hand.
Besides the ongoing battles for supremacy in the land that would become England, Beobrand has personal demons that make him a more complex character than what one typically finds in this type of story. He misses his wife, isn't sure what to do with his infant son, and has feelings for a woman that leave him feeling confused and guilty. If I have any criticism of this wonderful novel, it would be that I would have loved to see Beobrand with his son more and Reaghan less. It struck me as odd that little Octa, Beobrand's only remaining link to Sunniva, was rarely on his mind, while the girl he barely knew rarely left it. Yet, this is a minor point an is only my personal opinion.
What makes this book - this entire series - amazing is that Harffy transports the reader into the 7th century. The lifestyles, the beliefs, the struggles, the raw reality of it. The reader may not always find themselves agreeing with Beobrand, but they will always be cheering for him.
Comparable to Cornwell's Saxon Stories but with deeper and more complex characters.
I have not listened to this narrator previously but enjoyed the spot-on production of this book. Could only have been better had the author read it himself.
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