The son of a lord in long-ago Britain must choose between being a warrior or following the teachings of the “new religion” of Christianity.
In ancient Britain, Andrew is one of six sons of a subking, Lord Rednar. Viking raiders from the north constantly threaten the kingdom, so Andrew grows up trained in the art of war. Lord Rednar hopes to form a powerful alliance by marrying off his eldest son, James, to Eilidh, a daughter of Lord Atherton. But when James rejects Eilidh, Andrew volunteers to save the alliance by marrying Lord Atherton’s younger daughter, Gwynedd, with whom he has fallen in love. At Lord Atherton’s castle, Andrew meets a wandering priest named Kieran who teaches him that there is another path besides that of the mighty warrior. It is the way of Jesus Christ. Andrew will come to depend on Kieran’s wisdom as he navigates the politics of the kingdom when a new high king is sought, learning in the process that sometimes supposed allies can pose as much of a threat as enemies. In the end, Andrew must decide which path is right. As Holroyd explains in the afterword to his first book, he has written a historical novel that borrows from throughout Britain’s early history but seems to take place in no specific year or location in the British Isles. What readers get instead is an allegory about how one man comes to Christianity at a time when that religion had yet to fully take root in Great Britain. The barbarity of this world is ably evoked, and the characters are more than mere mouthpieces for the author’s dueling points of view.
Tackles emerging religion in a world of violent political infighting; should appeal to A Game of Thrones fans.