Wednesday, 19 September 2012

The Splintered Kingdom, James Aitcheson

Publishers: Preface

Pages: 396

Main Characters:

Tancred a Dinant

The Splintered Kingdom sees us return to Tancred after the end of Sworn Sword. As promised by Robert Malet in Sworn Sword, Tancred is rewarded for his bravery at York (Eoferwic) with land which takes him for been a Knight into a Lord! Tancred’s new land and hall is in the small town of Earnford on the borders between England and Wales. Life is good for Tancred, he is now a Lord with his own knights, he has wealth and he has a new woman. However, life on the Welsh Marshes is not as easy as it seems. The fearsome Welsh have started to raid Tancred’s land as their leaders have become more militant towards the new rulers of England. And upon hearing the news that some of Harold Godwinson’s old friends and allies have taken refuge within the Welsh King’s courts, Tancred suspects that there will soon be trouble not just for his small holding but for the kingdom at large!

His fears are proved right as he and his men are called to arms to defend the imminent invasion from the Welsh and Saxons. But this is not the only threat; Eadgar Ætheling and the King of the Danes have joined forces and are removing the Norman presence from the North! After finally convincing the leader of the army set to tackle the Welsh (Guillaume Fitz Osbern) to take the initiative and attack does Tancred find himself at the head of five hundred men, with the task of pillaging and plundering the Welsh countryside. However, Tancred falls into a trap and is only just saved from defeat and death, with the Norman army been pushed back out of Wales with its tail between its legs!

With this last blow and humiliation, Robert Malet decides enough is enough and takes Tancred and the rest of his men north to York to try and find a safe haven for his sister Beatrice. But on their journey they are ambushed and Tancred is taken captive by the Welsh King! After finally escaping his captors, Tancred returns to his journey north in search of Robert and the rest of his men. What he finds is the King’s army moving to the aid of York which has been sacked by the Ætheling! Tancred also finds that Robert and Beatrice have been taken captive by the Ætheling and his Danish allies. Tancred must return north to save his Lord’s family (again!) and face his nemesis Eadgar, the murderer of his old Lord and his love Oswynn.

This was another faced-paced, thrilling and historically detailed novel from James Aitcheson!  I really liked how James developed Tancred as a character is this book. How he is not just a knight with no responsibilities but a Lord in his own right, having to care for his people and command his own soldiers! There is also a great twist in this novel that really sets up the next one! I won’t say too much because I don’t want to spoil it for any of you, but it is awesome!

I would suggest this book to anyone who has read Sworn Sword. If you have read it, you MUST continue reading this series because it is amazing! I would also suggest it to fans of authors such as Bernard Cornwell and Robert Low because their novels are based around the Vikings and the Saxons.

For author’s official website click here

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