Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army

The Great Heathen Army has been ransacking Saxon,England. The Vikings, led by by Ivarr, Ubba, and Halfdan, the sons of Ragnar Lothbrok, lust for gold and other hidden treasures. This tale begins with the marauding Danes pillaging a monastery. The monks have a designated place to hide themselves and the church’s wealth. Of greatest importance is the “Gospel Book of Life”. This three hundred page tome, bound with gold clasps and covered in garnets and emeralds, must be protected no matter the cost to life or limb.

Two unlucky monks have been unable to get to the hiding place. They are hiding in a pig sty. A drunk Dane falls into the sty hitting his head. The perfect cover, the garb of this Dane, will enable Conrad to execute his plan of escape from the Danes. Conrad is a self-serving, wayward monk installed in the monastery through his twin brother’s trickery. Conrad’s every word is taken to heart by his devoted, selfless companion, Brother Odo, not the “brightest bulb”. Now disguised as a Dane, Conrad presents himself as a slave trader explaining that he will sell the captured, chained monks at the slave market for the best price ever. The Danes agree to let Conrad broker the deals. Meanwhile, the “sold” monks are led to believe that Conrad has a “plan” to get them released after the sale. With docility, they leave with their new masters. According to Brother Odo, Conrad can do no wrong. But, where is the “Book”? Oh,no! Abbot Flory, before being sold at market, had sent the “Book” with a three courier guard to Edmund, King of the East Angles.

In comedic style, Conrad and Odo must quickly journey to East Angles before the onslaught of the Danes. When Conrad’s horse shows signs of distress, he tells Brother Odo to carry him on his back. Before long, Odo is a beast of burden first trotting, next cantering and finally galloping. Seeing Odo gallop, the horse gallops alongside him. Odo is not as tired as the horse so Conrad stays on Odo’s back!

“Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army” by Edoardo Albert is a well researched, very enjoyable book about Saxon England and the Viking Invasion as seen through the eyes and actions of despicable, entertaining Conrad and hilarious, bumbling Brother Odo. A fun read of historical fiction.

Thank you Endeavor Media and Net Galley for the opportunity to read and review “Conrad Monk and the Great Heathen Army”.