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Sworn Sword (The Conquest) Hardcover – 4 Aug 2011


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Preface Publishing; First Edition edition (4 Aug. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848093241
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848093249
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 397,739 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

James Aitcheson was born in Wiltshire in 1985 and studied History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where began his fascination with the medieval period and the Norman Conquest in particular.

"Sworn Sword" is his first novel, and the first in the Conquest Series, featuring the knight Tancred and set in England during the tumultuous years that followed the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Tancred's adventures continue with "The Splintered Kingdom" and "Knights of the Hawk". James is currently working on his fourth novel.

Visit http://www.jamesaitcheson.com for all the latest news and information about James and his books, his official blog, and details of future signings and other events. Follow him on Twitter at @JamesAitcheson.

Product Description

Review

"There are relatively few novels set at the time of the Norman conquest of England. It was with a keen sense of interest and anticipation, therefore, that I began Sworn Sword. My expectations were not disappointed. Aitcheson's portrayal of eleventh century England is vibrant and authentic. Rarely have I been so transported into the world of the medieval knight, and his environs. In short, Sworn Sword is an excellent read, full of intrigue and vivid, realistic battles. For new writers of historical fiction, this accomplished debut novel sets a high standard indeed." (Ben Kane, author of the bestselling Forgotten Legion Chronicles)

"A fantastic novel ... utterly convincing ... The plot is superb, clever and as true to the sources as is possible ... a brilliant achievement" (Dr Elisabeth van Houts, Emmanuel College, Cambridge)

"Fans of the sword-swinging drama still mourning the end of HBO's epic Game of Thrones will find plenty to love in this uncompromising slice of historical fiction ... Breathlessly paced and packed with action, it's a mightily accomplished debut in a major new series" (Shortlist)

"The setting and historical detail are superb and there is more than enough excitement to keep you hooked to the final page" (New Books)

Book Description

An ambitious young Norman soldier fights against desperate odds to consolidate the conquest of England in the years after the Battle of Hastings. Brilliant first novel in the mould of REQUIEM by Robyn Young.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vasey TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 July 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is a historical novel covering the counter-attacks by the northern English against the Normans in York and Durham. The skulking way of war practised by the "Northumbrians" (well covered in William Kapelle's "The Normans In The North") gives more success than the manly ways of Wessex. The author has gone to a great deal of trouble to fit the story in its historical background. The use of contemporary spellings was, I thought, very atmospheric. However, the careful positioning and historical background are undermined by a slow pace; in part this is to develop the characters but I felt it acted to the detriment of the plot. A little more Dumas is needed, I think. This book will be enjoyed by those who like the more languorous plots (the Jack Aubrey novels for example) rather than the short sharp "A Game Of Thrones" approach.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Marcus Pailing (Bartlesnipe's Revenge) VINE VOICE on 18 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I am not often moved to give a book five stars. As it was, I deliberated for a long time over whether to give "Sworn Sword" five stars or not. But, to be honest, I couldn't find a reason *not* to.

First of all, it's a well-written, good story, with likeable and sympathetic characters who, while perhaps a little two-dimensional, are fully-formed enough to make you care about them. Secondly, the plot is good, and while the 'main' plot might seem rather inconsequential to a modern reader, one does begin to understand its importance (I can't really say anything about it, so as not to spoil it - those who know their medieval history will get its significance quickly; those who don't will learn of it when they read the book).

James Aitcheson, the author, knows his stuff, as well he should, as he read History at Cambridge. His knowledge and understanding of Anglo-Norman England comes across well in the book. There are a couple of times when it seems a bit forced, a bit "this is something I know, so I'm going to describe it to you in detail"; but that only happens once or twice. He made a good choice, I think, in placing the story in the years *after* the Norman invasion - not only does it get away from what people already know, or think they know; but it also allows him to develop his own plot lines around rather thinly-sourced history, giving him more scope to be inventive. But the background of the story is real history, and Aitcheson manages to weave his fiction around established events effortlessly.

I was a little bit irritated by the hyperbole of the publishers' comments on my review copy, but they might not appear on the final, bookshelf version. What we do have here, however, is a very good, exciting, and well-written historical novel that should certainly appeal to anyone who enjoys Bernard Cornwell or Giles Kristian. I look forward to the next in the series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 10 Mar. 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
For such a pivotal event in English history, the Norman Conquest has inspired surprisingly little historical fiction, much of it the preserve of authors aiming at the younger reader like Henry Treece's Hounds of the King or Eleanor Watkins' Greyback and the odd fictionalised account of Hereward the Wake. Even French authors don't seem terribly inspired by the Normans, with only Alain Absire's God's Equal - an interesting reworking of the film The War Lord [DVD] that ignores the Conquest - standing out, with even Hollywood and television largely steering clear. Part of the problem is that the Normans aren't a terribly interesting bunch culturally, best remembered for their haircuts, armour and a tapestry that was almost certainly the work of Anglo Saxon artisans but also for securing their rule of a divided kingdom with surprisingly few men by the brutal harrying of the north. As such it's a brave move by the author not only to take the less sympathetic Norman side of the aftermath of 1066 but also concentrate on one of the Normans sent to harry the north into submission and expect us to sympathise with his plight when his comrades are slaughtered in a rare Anglo Saxon victory.Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 21 Sept. 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a superb read which I just could not put down. Since it is generally so easy to criticize someone else's work (and I tend to do so, like so many others), it is rather nice to have so few reservations about this book...

First, the topic is original. There have been masses of novels on 1066 and all that, and quite a few on Hereward the Wake also. This one, which starts in 1069, begins with a Norman defeat in the North and is written from a Norman knight's perspective. Hopefully, the next installments will continue to show that "the Norman Conquest" did not end in 1066. In fact it took William the Conqueror some 19 years of bitter fighting before his kingdom was really "conquered".

Second, contrary to other commentators, who seem to sneer at the author because of his age, I am much more interested in the quality and depth of his historical research, which seems very high, at least to me. I may have wanted to learn a little bit more about Tancred's background but I this is really quibbling on my part.

Third, I have no problem with a first person narrative and found the character of Tancred rather interesting. Maybe he is a bit too flawless in some ways. For instance, he does not seem to be the arrogant, brutal and unpleasant knight that we have got somewhat used to expect from Norman knights. This is a refreshing change although I personnally found that Tancred was a bit too "nice" for a seasoned warrior and killer.

Fourth, I particularly appreciated the way the battle was told in the first part of the book. It shows both the conrois in action and that they were far from dominating the battlefield in all cases.
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