Posts Tagged ‘Edwin’

Book review: The King in the North by Max Adams

Sunday, July 20th, 2014
The King in the North

The King in the North

Not surprisingly, Max Adams’ book finds an appreciative reader in me: it’s all about Northumbria! Although ostensibly a biography of Oswald, in fact it tells the story of the great age of the kingdom, starting with its emergence into history under the ‘Twister’ Aethelfrith, through my favourite, Edwin, to Oswald, Oswiu and Ecgfrith, with an afterword about the golden cultural age of the eighth century. Adams is never less than fascinating, he brings to light all sorts of nuggets of information and parallels – I particularly liked the comparison between Oswald and Thomas Cochrane, the premier frigate commander of the Napoleonic Wars and a man of such daring his exploits would appear ridiculous in a film – and his book brims with a life-long love of the subject. In fact, the only other book on Northumbria I’d recommend as highly is my own, and Adams beats me into a cocked hat with the absolutely superb double page map on the inside front cover, which shows Northumbria and the other kingdoms of northern Britain in the style of the map in ‘The Lord of the Rings’, all hand-drawn hills and sketched forests. Superb, and on its own responsible for an extra, fifth star! Well done, Mr Cartographer.

Blog tour: Meet My Main Character

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Another Monday, another blog tour. In this case, I was tagged by Matthew Harffy, another writer inspired by the history of Northumbria. The first volume of his Bernicia chronicles is with an agent and hopefully should soon find a publisher, and he is hard at work on the sequel – I trust the wait will not be too long, because I want to read it! Read what he had to say about Beobrand, the hero of The Serpent’s Sword, here.

Next week I pass the baton on to A.H. Gray, yet another author in love with the history and rolling sea mists of Northumbria. See below for more on her work.

Now, on with the tour.

At the London Book Fair 2014

At the London Book Fair 2014

1) What is the name of your character? Is he fictional or a historical figure/person?

Edwin. He is a historical character – in fact, one of the best attested in a period where there is very little history.

2) When and where is the story set?

The story is set in Britain in the early seventh century, specifically in the kingdom of Northumbria although it also visits some of the other kingdoms into which Britain was split at the time.

3) What should we know about him?

The story begins with Edwin in exile, and pursued by the man who usurped his throne. Exile, or death, were the common fates of kings at this time – long life was not a facet of rule.

4) What is the main conflict? What messes up his life?

The initial conflict is between Edwin and Æthelfrith, the man who took his kingdom. When this is resolved, the rest of the book follows Edwin as he attempts to unify his kingdom and the country under his rule. In this, he is opposed by the last great king of the Britons, Cadwallon of Gwynedd. Welsh sources indicate that Edwin took refuge in Gwynedd during his exile, staying with Cadwallon’s father, Cadfan. Later events suggest an unusual enmity between the two men, the sort of enmity born of a particular personal grudge. I try to explain this in the book.

5) What is the personal goal of the character?

Initially it is to regain his kingdom, and then to secure it for his sons. But, above everything else, Edwin is trying to understand his life and its meaning amid the violence and brutality of the world he has been born into.

6) Is there a working title for this novel, and can we read more about it?

An actual title – Edwin: High King of Britain. Here is the publisher’s blurb and there have been some excellent reviews published in Publishers Weekly, Carpe Librum and Medieval Reader, as well as on reader sites such as Good Reads.

7) When can we expect the book to be published?

It’s out now! Go buy it!

A.H. Gray

A.H. Gray

A H Gray lives in sunny Perth, Western Australia. She has a double degree in History and Archaeology from the University of Western Australia, yet due to the lack of Anglo-Saxon hoards or Viking boat burials down under, she has had to content herself with writing about them instead. Her debut historical fiction novel is The Northumbrian Saga and she writes weekly posts on her favourite historical period http://ahgray.wordpress.com/.

The Northumbrian Saga

The Northumbrian Saga

New Back Cover Copy for Edwin: High King of Britain

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

Now my publishers, the lovely people at Lion Fiction, have had the chance to read the complete text of Edwin: High King of Northumbria they’ve written a fresh draft of the back cover copy. I’d be very grateful if you could read it and let me know what you think.

Edwin: High King of Britain | Back Cover Copy

Edwin is a king. Yet he is about to be betrayed and butchered.

Edwin, the long-exiled king of Northumbria, thought he had found sanctuary at the court of King Rædwald – his friend and now protector.

But as Rædwald faces the draw of riches and the fear of bloodshed, rumours abound that he will not hold firm to their bond.

As Edwin contemplates his fate and the futility of escape, hope is offered by a messenger from an unknown god. It is prophesied that Edwin will ascend to greater power than any of his forefathers.

Through cunning victory in battle and a strategic marriage to the Kentish princess Æthelburh, Edwin’s power grows.

But his new wife and her missionary priests bring more than political alliance. Where should Edwin look to for a power not of this earth: with their new God, or with the Anglo-Saxon gods of old? And can any power raise Edwin above all other thrones?

Edwin: High King of Britain is the first book in The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy – a riveting read seeped in the intrigues, bloody battles, and romance of the kings of Anglo-Saxon Britain.




Blurb for Edwin: High King of Britain

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

Here’s the publisher’s blurb for Edwin: High King Of Britain. What do you think? Would you be inclined to read the book after reading this and looking at the cover?

Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin’s usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure – the missionary Paulinus – who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point. Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to great power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life …This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade – and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.


Edwin: High King of Britain

Thursday, September 19th, 2013


Here it is, the cover for the first volume of my trilogy of historical novels on the kings of the north, The Northumbrian Thrones. Edwin: High King of Britain is due out in March 2014 from Lion Fiction and I am really rather excited.

It’s available to pre-order on Amazon, the Book Depository and Waterstones.