Monday, September 21, 2015

Oswald: Return of the King

King Aethelfrith of Northumbria's family has arrived in exile to the monastery on the island of Iona.  Oswald learns to fight, as it is a necessary skill for a young prince. He is attracted to life in the church and desires to become a monk. Before he can take his vows, news reaches the island that Oswald's half brother Eanfrith has been killed by Cadwallon. Oswald sails to Northumbria to fight to become King of Northumbria. But other kings would fight against him Oswald should he succeed.

I received a free copy of this book from LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review*. This is the second book in The Northumbrian Thrones Trilogy. I had not read the first book in this trilogy, but I had no difficulty following the plot. There is an excellent summary at the beginning of the book that explains the major events of the previous book. I am now looking forward to reading both the first and the third books.

I found this to be an intriguing story based on a fascinating time in history. Using Bede's History as an inspiration, Albert writes a convincing story about Oswald and his struggles as a prince, and a king. There is the added element of religious conversion that provides another source of tension to the story. Oswald and others have become Christian, while many still cling to their Pagan beliefs. The drama of the battles and in the character's lives made me not want to put the book down.

I also appreciated the excellent Historical Note that Albert included at the end of the book. I was pleased with the details he provided, and liked learning where the story differed from historical events. There are also some books suggested for those that want to learn more about this time period.

I found this to be an enjoyable historical fiction novel, and I would recommend reading this book.

*Receiving a free copy of this book does not change my review. It simply provides me with a copy of a book I would not have gotten to as soon, or heard about otherwise.

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