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Edwin: High King of Britain: 1 (The Northumbrian Thrones) Paperback – 21 Mar 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lion Fiction; 1st New edition (21 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1782640339
  • ISBN-13: 978-1782640332
  • Product Dimensions: 19.6 x 12.7 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 100,459 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edoardo Albert is a writer of Sri Lankan and Italian extraction based in London. The best response to his writing was when he reduced a friend to helpless, hysterical, rolling-on-the-floor-holding-his-stomach-because-he-was-afraid-his-guts-would-fall-out laughter. Unfortunately, the writing in question was a lonely-hearts ad. He hopes to produce similar results in readers, without inadvertently acquiring another wife.

Find out more about him and his work at Follow him on Twitter @EdoardoAlbert or like him on Facebook.

Product Description


"Edwin, High King of Britain, brings to life the heroic age of our distant past, a splendid novel that leaves the reader wanting more." -- Bernard Cornwell

"In the first instalment of The Northumbrian Thrones, a new historical fiction series, Albert launches readers into the tumultuous world of 7th century Northumbria. Edwin, the deposed king of the region, forges political alliances, is betrayed, and fights critical battles that form the arc of his rise and fall as High King of Britain. As he ages, he fears for the future of his kingdom, and war has simply become a necessary evil. His shifting worldview leads to conversion to the Christian faith a slow process given special attention by Albert. But it is not a clear path, and sometimes Edwin and his subordinates doubt the validity and the power of the Christian God, as opposed to the pagan deities they have left behind. Albert's focus on the religious element does not detract from the political and dramatic aspects of the history he is portraying. Rather, it lends an extra dimension of psychological turmoil, because characters must deal with the problem of not only individual identity but also the beginnings of a national identity related to religion. Albert's offering is a highly entertaining and refreshing work of historical fiction thanks to his emphasis on the precarious intersection of religion and identity." --Publishers Weekly

"At the dawn of England seven kingdoms struggle for supremacy: but there is more than honour and power at stake; paganism, Christianity and the future shape of the English nation will be decided. A fast-paced and gripping tale of the great Northumbrian King Edwin, reclaiming one of our great national figures from the shadows of history." --Justin Hill - author of 'Shieldwall'

About the Author

Edoardo Albert is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Time Out, History Today and The Daily Telegraph, among other places. His book on the history and archaeology of Northumbria: The Lost Kingdom was published in October 2012 by The History Press. Getting on his bike, he also edited the Time Out Cycle London Guide.

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Customer Reviews

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Lady Godiva on 26 May 2014
Format: Paperback
Since reading T18643058he Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a famous work of history by the eighth century monk named Bede as a teenager I have been captivated by Edwin of Northumbria’s story. When I discovered a novel about him published by Lion (a well known-Christian publisher) I snapped it up, and the effort of reading was well worth it.

A novel about Edwin is long overdue, and Mr Albert has written a magnificent one, though I long dreamed about writing one myself and he has beaten me to it.
It is the mark of a good writer indeed that I enjoyed this book so much despite knowing what happened to Edwin already from Bede.The story is bought to life with beautiful deception of a long-departed landscape, and intriguing details revealing a strong sense of period and a familiarity with the culture, customs and beliefs of the early Saxon people.
Warriors, feasting in the hall, listening to a bard singing tales of the gods and heroes of old, bound by promise of gold- and sometimes bonds of loyalty to their lord. Kings, the chief of warriors, givers of gold to the men who stood beside them on the shield-wall- on whose loyalty their very lives and kingdoms may depend.

In was in this world that Edwin rose to High King of Britain, conquering or gaining the fealty of most of the Kings and Kingdoms around him with the strength of the sword, marriage or diplomacy. Yet Edwin does not act entirely out of a desire for glory and fame, but a wish to unite his people. He and his fellows are well-drawn and believable characters, coming to terms with a changing world in which they were in many ways behind.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Yohji on 2 July 2015
Format: Paperback
EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN is a superb historical novel about the life of the titular 7th century Anglo-Saxon king, depicting him from his time in exile to his conquest of the other kingdoms of Britain and claiming the title of High King. He's an overlooked monarch from a somewhat mysterious period and Mr Albert does an excellent job in turning the few historical sources available into a living, breathing human being.

In contrast to most current historical novels this is a one off (although part of a larger series about the Northumbrian kings) rather than part of a continuing series about the same character. It's also unusual in being just as focused on religion, politics and marriage as it is on warfare. In fact, the closest comparison I can think of are the novels of Alfred Duggan. Like his books this one combines a vivid and rounded recreation of the life of our ancestors (pagan warlords dispensing arm rings to their warriors in smoke filled halls whilst the scop sings of glorious victories or the priest reads the future in the dancing flames) with a restrained, elegant and intelligent prose style (no sex, no violence for its own sake and no cartoon dramatics).

He's particularly good on showing how the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity; unlike many modern authors he doesn't romaticise paganism as more 'authentic' and he shows just how brave the Christian missionaries were (as well as how dangerous it was, how fallible they could be as human beings and how they adapted the religion so that it would make sense to the heroic warrior culture of the Germanic barbarians). It's one of the few novels set in the period which makes the conversion of the pagans believable.

That might make it sound slightly dull but it isn't.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By topsyjane on 16 Jun. 2015
Format: Paperback
The book Edwin by Edoardo Albert was a gift in more ways than one. I do not usually read historical fiction, but having been given this book I had to give it a go and I loved it. It has opened my eyes to what good historical fiction can be like. From the first page the world of the 600s AD comes alive with the lightest descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells. Scenes, characters and conversations are all completely believable. I felt that if I shut my eyes I might open them to find myself back in time – perhaps Edoardo Albert had a previous incarnation in early Northumbria!
Having found myself in the past, I was captivated by the wonderfully adept storytelling of the events of Edwin’s life. Such a ripping yarn! I was completely caught up in the lives and families, friends and foes, conspiracies and battles. The very idea that 30 men was a large army I found extraordinary. There was no avoiding the pretty savage nature of the times and the unpleasant things that happened on occasion but neither was there any glorifying or excessive description. The well balanced writing combining plot, language, description and emotion brought the events to life so well for me that I have to admit to a tear near the end for this High King who lived in such a different time and place from me. I also found it most interesting to read about the spread of Christianity in these islands at that early time.
I was glad to find a dramatis personae, map and glossary at the front, and having looked up the occasional character and event to look at illustrations on line, I was completely reassured at the historical accuracy and I am in awe at the reading and research that Edoardo Albert must have done to be able to produce such a fine story of Edwin’s life and times.
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