Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Formats: eBook, Paperback
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Northumbrian Thrones (Book 1)
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours for an honest review
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.
From the start, Edwin faces threats to his life, exile, and betrayal. In the first chapter Edwin has hit a low point and is awaiting an assassin, when he meets a mysterious stranger that gives him hope for the future. This is the point that I was completely hooked.
The historical period covered in Edwin: High King of Britain isn't written about very much, or at least, I haven't encountered it much in my reading so far. I have to wonder why, since I was captivated with the period as described by Albert in Edwin. Albert does a wonderful job of bringing the political and religious tensions to life and making sure the reader is able to keep up with all the unfamiliar names and places.
Besides all the wonderful political tension between the kings and nobles, I particularly enjoyed the depiction of the unsettled, violent, precarious time when two different religions are clashing and one is gradually being phased out. I found the pagan priest, Coifi, to be fascinating and annoying and humorous. And really, I felt kind of sorry for him. There are several other important characters that were also very well developed.
I appreciated that Edwin is presented as a complex character - as any king should be. I found the depiction of his personal conflicts with other kings and nobles and ultimately his conflict about which religion is right for him to be key to understanding and sympathizing with him. I was eager to find out more about the mysterious figure from the first chapter and that episode was worth the wait.
I look forward to reading more of The Northumbrian Thrones series and can happily recommend Edwin: High King of Britain to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
Praise for Edwin: High King of Britain“In the first installment of the Northumbrian Thrones, a new historical fiction series, Albert launches readers into the tumultuous world of 7th century Northumbria. Edwin, the deposed king of the region, forges political alliances, is betrayed, and fights critical battles that form the arc of his rise and fall as High King of Britain. As he ages, he fears for the future of his kingdom, and war has simply become a necessary evil. His shifting worldview leads to conversion to the Christian faith—a slow process given special attention by Albert. But it is not a clear path, and sometimes Edwin and his subordinates doubt the validity and the power of the Christian God, as opposed to the pagan deities they have left behind. Albert’s focus on the religious element does not detract from the political and dramatic aspects of the history he is portraying. Rather, it lends an extra dimension of psychological turmoil, because characters must deal with the problem of not only individual identity but also the beginnings of a national identity related to religion. Albert’s offering is a highly entertaining and refreshing work of historical fiction thanks to his emphasis on the precarious intersection of religion and identity.” –Publishers Weekly
“A splendid novel that leaves the reader wanting more.” –Bernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author
“A fast-paced and gripping tale of the great Northumbrian King Edwin, reclaiming one of our great national figures from the shadows of history.” –Justin Hill, author of Shieldwall
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About the AuthorEdoardo Albert is a writer of Sri Lankan and Italian extraction based in London. The best response to his writing was when he reduced a friend to helpless, hysterical, rolling-on-the-floor-holding-his-stomach laughter. Unfortunately, the writing in question was a lonely hearts ad. He hopes to produce similar results in readers, without inadvertently acquiring another wife.
For more information, please visit Edoardo Albert's website. You can also connect on Facebook and Twitter.
Edwin: High King of Britain Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, August 25
Review at Princess of Eboli
Review at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
Tuesday, August 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish
Wednesday, August 27
Review at Dab of Darkness
Thursday, August 28
Interview & Giveaway at Dab of Darkness
Monday, September 1
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at Queen of All She Reads
Tuesday, September 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, September 3
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at The Mad Reviewer
Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Monday, September 8
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Tuesday, September 9
Review at Book Nerd
Wednesday, September 10
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day - Stephanie's Book Reviews
Interview & Giveaway at Thoughts in Progress
Friday, September 12
Review at A Bibliotaph's Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace
Tuesday, September 16
Review at Layered Pages
Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Beth's Book Reviews
Friday, September 19
Review at Book Drunkard