Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Beckys Bookworm Book Review: A Saga of blood feuds, betrayal, survival and brotherhood in 10th century England

THE RAVEN & THE WOLF: Chronicle I - Blood OathTHE RAVEN & THE WOLF: Chronicle I - Blood Oath by Christopher Spellman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book is such a labour of love, passion and interest nearly every page is crammed with details surrounding the characters, the time, the setting that it is impossible not to be drawn into this fuedal mystery and quest for vengence set near the end of the 10th century under the reign of King Athelstan.

Over all not a great deal occurs just following the character from one trial of persecution, betrayal and fight from survival to the next but there are some moments within it all where peace is felt for the reader not just the character and we get a glimpse of the possible happiness and love and friendship found within those living through this rather turbulent period. The reader also becomes witness to how a brotherhood of men can be forged in the spilt blood of survival, the strength of alliance and the quest for justice which is quite unqiue for in other historical novels involving vikings or anglo-saxons this brotherhood is often discovered in battles on distant continents and at sea on their travels - this all takes place in this book on land and within the small feuding kingdoms of Mercia and North Cumbria.

In summary this is one giant saga of complex and dazzling proportions depicting how family feuds in that era just don't effect those directly involved but those of their ancestors and how the cause of these blood feuds which tear families and communities apart can often end up repeating itself and all through the quest for vengence against an offence that took place many, many years before. The beauty of this saga being told is not that it focuses on majorly big important historical events (apart from the ending) but it shows how life goes on around those turning points in history and really shows in gritty and neat detail how the lives of the common people from thrall to earldoreman are effected and are drawn into these pivoting points of the past.

This book is one that will be enjoyed by fans of the Anglo-Saxon or Viking era but I must warn you it is a lengthy read but by the end it will prove worth it. Just hope the sequel in this chronicle series can stand up to the benchmark the first has claimed.

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