Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Northumbrian Thrones (Book 1)
Debut historical fiction series vividly recreating the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England.
In 604 AD, Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin’s usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure–the missionary Paulinus– who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point.
Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life.
This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade–and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.
The dramatic story of Northumbria’s Christian kings helped give birth to England as a nation, English as a language, and the adoption of Christianity as the faith of the English.
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I love reading historical fiction in order to learn about history I would have never otherwise be exposed to. This first installment of The Northumbrian Thrones did just that.
Telling the story of Edwin, the King who united Britain in the 600's among a land divided by many rulers and religions. Exiled from his own kingdom, Edwin seeks refuge with King Readwald. When King Readwald is coerced to give Edwin to his usurper, King Aethelfrith, a battle ensues. Edwin comes out on top in the battle after a visit from a mysterious man who offers Edwin the Kingdom in return for the worship of a new God.
I wasn't sure how well I would do relating to a story about people so long ago, but with a dramatic story line that at some points seemed magical and intriguing characters with powerful motivations, this time period came to life. Edwin's quest to become the High King of Britain is worth being told, he uses both strength and intelligence to unite the kingdom. When he marries Aethelburh from Kent, he is not only open to allowing her to practice her religion of Christianity, but Edwin is open to learning more about it as well as learning how to read and write. I would be really interesting to know more about Aethelburh's story! One of my favorite characters was Edwin's protector Forthred, he felt very real in addition to being brave and selfless. At the end I found out that Forthred was real, but named Lilla. All of the old English names and pronouciations were a bit tricky for me in the beginning (and there is a guide), but I got a hang of it eventually. Bound to fulfill his promise to a mysterious man long ago, Edwin does his best to unite the rest of his people under this new religion. With a tumultuous ending, Britain is left in an uncertain state and I'll be looking forward to reading the next installment.
This book was received for free in return for an honest review.
For more information, please visit Edoardo Albert’s website. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.