Killer of Kings/ Warrior of Woden - Bernicia chronicles 4 & 5

Killer of Kings/ Warrior of Woden - Bernicia chronicles 4 & 5

Author
Matthew Harffy
ARRSE Rating
5 Mushroom Heads
Killer of Kings - Bernicia Chronicles: 4 Matthew Harffy
ISBN: 978 17866 962 67. Head of Zeus Publishing.


Harffy continues his chronicling of the lives of Beobrand and his Bernician nobles as they carry out the bidding of their King, Oswald. Set in first century Britain, at a time when the islands are divided into multiple kingdoms and feuding factions, Bernicia, (Lowland Scotland and parts of Northumbria) is one of the richer kingdoms among the divided nations.

Beobrand is a thegn (Duke) with land, men and riches. He owes allegiance to King Oswald and is, in effect, the chief troubleshooter for the King. In this story, Beobrand is escorting holy men carrying sacred relics to Cantwareburh (Canterbury) when he becomes involved in a clash with the merciless Penda of Mercia as he he invades the southern kingdoms with a mighty warhorse.

In the ensuing chaos, dark secrets are revealed, questioning much of what Beobrand believes to be right and true. Fighting for truth and vengeance, he struggles to unearth what has gone before. Even for a warrior of his fame and skill, the blood-price may be too high.

An interesting read, from an era steeped in history and long-forgotten heroes. Harffy sets his characters well, giving them the right humanity and feelings. One does need patience reading the series as constant reference to the printed maps and glossary is required to place people, events and towns. As a student of historical fiction, I found the descriptions fascinating, the battle scenes accurate insofar as can be defined and the build-up of tension detailed until the final chapter.

Matthew Harffy writes an excellent novel.

Warrior of Woden - Bernicia Chronicles 5. Matthew Harffy
ISBN: 978 17866 962 81, Head of Zeus Publishing.


Following on from "Killer of Kings", Beobrand has been rewarded for his loyalty and prowess in battle and is now a wealthy warlord with a sizeable army behind him. His deeds are the stuff of legend and his fearsome black-shielded warriors are feared throughout the land. While there are many kings who bow to Beobrand's king, Oswald, there are just as many who seek the wealth and lands of Bernicia.

Once Penda of Mercia invades Northumbria, Beobrand is called upon once again to defend the lands of King Oswald and ultimately his own lands. The blood of many will be shed unless the pagan King-Killer, Penda is defeated by the Christian Beobrand. This will become a battle for the souls of the people of Bernicia and even Albion (England).
Once again, Matthew Harffy writes a totally believable account of life in the first century AD. The character plot is ingenious and the dateline put this into an era that is often forgotten, as Britain emerges from the yoke of Roman occupation. This is an enthralling read with our hero showing his frailties as well as his strengths. Every credit to the author, he is on a par with Simon Scarrow.


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