Friday, June 20, 2014

Edwin: High King of Britain {a Kregel Book Tours review}

I love historical fiction.  I've made that point on this blog a time or two.

I'm starting to be interested in early Britain.

There isn't a whole lot of historical fiction that actually feels accurate that takes place in early Britain.

Edwin: High King of Britain, by Edoardo Albert, is the first in The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy.  Albert is a historian and a journalist, and I have to say, the book does reflect both of those careers.

From the publisher:
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.
I've enjoyed reading this title, and I look forward to reading more.  The downside for me is mostly that this is dealing with a time period I really do not (yet) know much about.  So, aside from Edwin, most of the names are hard for me to pronounce in my head.  Not counting the names that have that funky AE smushed together letter in them, this is filled with folks like Osfrith, Cwenburg, Guthlaf, Coifi, Ymma, Cearl, Cwichelm, Cadwallon, and Eadbald.

That aspect was rough.

Fortunately, there is a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, and I referred to that frequently in the first few chapters, less so as I got further along.  That at least helped me keep track of who the people were.

Like all great historical fiction, this book includes a fabulous concluding Historical Note, that outlines what parts of the story are true (most of it), and how and how much the author really does know about what was happening 1400 years ago.

The ebook is on sale for $1.99 right now.  Click the link below to learn more!

Disclaimer:  I received this book through Kregel Blog Tours.  No other compensation was received.  All opinions expressed in this review are my own.   


Sarah said...

I liked your review Debra :)

Debra said...

Thank you, Sarah!!

Kate said...

This looks really interesting to me. I love early Britain and find the whole time period pretty fascinating.

This cracked me up: "But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin's usurper."

So much for hospitality! ;)

Because of your review, I bought the book on Kindle. :D


Kate said...

I am really interested in reading your thoughts on the second book. :D

Please make sure you tag me when you post it on FB! :D