Greed and ambition threaten to tear the north apart.
War rages between the two kingdoms of Northumbria. Kin is pitted against kin and friend becomes foe as ambitious kings vie for supremacy.
When Beobrand travels south into East Angeln to rescue a friend, he unwittingly tilts the balance of power in the north, setting in motion events that will lead to a climactic
confrontation between Oswiu of Bernicia and Oswine of Deira.
While the lord of Ubbanford is entangled in the clash of kings, his most trusted warrior, Cynan, finds himself on his own quest, called to the aid of someone he thought never to see again. Riding into the mountainous region of Rheged, Cynan faces implacable enemies who would do anything to further their own ends.
Forced to confront their pasts, and with death and betrayal at every turn, both Beobrand and Cynan have their loyalties tested to breaking point.
Who will survive the battle for a united Northumbria, and who will pay the ultimate price for lord and land? Amazon UK
Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.
My thoughts: you wouldn’t think I’d enjoy this sort of historical fiction what with all the fighting and violence. But when it’s as well written and researched as this is, it’s hard not to like it. I feel like writers who do really know their subject matter go a long way to fill in the blanks, as it were. I know so little about this time in our history – and that’s a shame.
The characters do a lot of travelling across the country and it’s interesting to see how the Christians and Norse religion exist alongside each other, there’s no real hostility, although Beobrand is reluctant to engage too much with the Christ followers.
The novel hinges on a crucial conflict that will settle the ruling of Northumbria – and do terrible damage to the fragile peace between people. The men are not lords or kings but they bear the brunt of this battle for land and power. Beobrand might be a warrior but he cares for his people and the men under his command – he doesn’t take any losses easily. All of the political machinations are fascinating – history at school pretty much goes Romans to Norman invasion as though all these kings and their conflicts didn’t happen so I enjoyed the feeling of learning a bit more but in a more informal way. I think I need to brush up on my geography though!
*I was kindly gifted a copy of this book in exchange for taking part in the blog tour but all opinions remain my own.