Books by Rebecca Tingle

FAR TRAVELER by Rebecca Tingle
FICTION
Released: Feb. 1, 2005

A topnotch reclamation of one of history's almost-forgotten also-rans. In tenth-century Britain, AElfwyn is the bookish, retiring daughter of the Amazonian AEthelflaed, Lady of the Mercians. Her mother's sudden death leaves AElfwyn unable to assist her northern allies against Danish invaders, or even to resist her Uncle Edward's determination to absorb independent Mercia into his kingdom of Wessex. Forced to choose between the convent and marriage, AElfwyn escapes disguised as a wandering scop (bard); but her wit and courage will be challenged by a dreadful test of loyalty, with two kingdoms at stake. Tingle wears her erudition lightly, yet every detail down to the spices in the food and the fastenings on the cloaks rings absolutely authentic. More important, her characters think and act like real Anglo-Saxons, rather than moderns in fancy dress; every word breathes the flavor, ethos and especially the glorious poetry of the period. AElfwyn is particularly appealing; while no simpering miss, she is refreshingly devoid of that feisty "spunk" that too often substitutes for inner strength in female protagonists. As honest about her strengths as her weaknesses, AElfwyn triumphs through intelligence, honor and above all, immense integrity. A gem. (Historical fiction. 12+)Read full book review >
THE EDGE ON THE SWORD by Rebecca Tingle
CHILDREN'S
Released: June 1, 2001

One of history's most dramatic heroines is restrained by a low-key presentation. Fifteen-year-old Æthelflæd, eldest child of Alfred the Great, spends her days learning her letters and wandering with her beloved brother. But Flæd loses these simple freedoms once her father betroths her to the ruler of Mercia, to cement an alliance against the marauding Danes. Flæd is appalled; not only is she to leave her home to marry a much older stranger, but she is also saddled with a warder who shadows her every movement. Nonetheless, Flæd and her guard slowly build a tentative friendship; he teaches her weapons and tactics, and she shares her tricks of horsemanship and woodcraft. But enemies are secretly watching, waiting for their moment to strike; and Flæd's future will depend on how much she has learned. Tingle briefly notes the sources for the real Æthelflæd, and her first novel painstakingly recreates Anglo-Saxon life with numerous telling details, from tidbits of gnomic poetry to the construction of shoes. Yet the central characters remain maddeningly elusive; all the time spent inside Flæd's viewpoint gives little feeling for her personality. The slow-paced plot is equally uninvolving; only in the final chapters—when Flæd has to draw from all her lessons in history, poetry, politics, and war, in order to lead her rebellious retainers safely through the bandits' murderous assaults—do all these carefully laid nuggets of information come together in an exciting, and moving, climax. Unfortunately, by then too many readers may have given up. (Fiction. 11-16)Read full book review >