Historical fiction about an English warrior who struggles to determine his allegiances during the Danish conquest of England in the 11th century.
Debut novelist Mullaly opens his tale as young Eadric listens to his father warn of impending raids by Danish forces. The older man explains that even young boys, like Eadric and his brothers, will need to take up arms to protect themselves and their fellow villagers from invasion in the area of Mercia. As Eadric grows, he assumes increasing importance among the governing forces of England, developing a strong relationship with the English king, Aethelred, and eventually even marrying the king’s beautiful daughter. The match is one of convenience, however, as Eadric’s heart lies with another—the Danish sister of his childhood best friend, a girl he’s loved for years named Ingrith. As he builds his political reputation among the English, he enjoys a life with Ingrith and the son they’re raising together. Unfortunately, when King Aethelred dies and his son, Edmund, takes the throne, tension continues to escalate between the English and the Danish and between Eadric and his superiors. Eadric’s approach of straddling both societies becomes increasingly dangerous, and he’ll be forced to choose a side. Based on the life of historical figure Eadric Streona, the Eldorman of Mercia, Mullaly’s tale is replete with historical data about both the Vikings and the English in the early 11th century. Along the way, the author provides a fresh perspective on Eadric, who is often remembered as a disloyal and deceitful militant. This action-packed saga offers many detailed fighting scenes, providing a play-by-play of several different battles and examining various aspects of military strategy. The book’s emphasis on action throughout also makes up for what it lacks in emotional depth. Overall, the allure of high-intensity conflict and divided loyalties will keep readers turning pages, straight through to the surprising conclusion.
A high-energy tale of battle, treachery, and betrayal best suited to fans of Viking history.