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62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cracking Debut
With a huge amount of historical fiction titles currently being set around the 1066 mark, an author has to find something new to bring to the mix in order to generate memorable characters as well giving the reader a plot to keep them not only engrossed but thrilled and entertained throughout. Such is the volume of these titles to date that it's a wonder that none of the...
Published on 21 Jun. 2011 by Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Super-Killer and the Arch-Villains?
I am a bit surprised at the number of reviewers on Amazon.co.uk that profess to have never heard of Hereward, especially those that seem to be fans of historical fiction. Hereward may not be part of history lessons at school. However, there are least four other novels out there on Amazon, in addition to Charles Kingsley's take that dates back to 1865. So, James Wilde's...
Published on 18 Aug. 2012 by JPS


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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Adding this author to my favourites list - great debut., 12 July 2011
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Everything I had wished to say has already been added in the many other glowing reviews. I just wanted to include my 5 star rating to an already well received debut.

This book starts 'feet running' and keeps the tension all the way through. Great characters, historical settings, vicious yet satisfying battle and fight scenes, and more twists than an Italian country road. I really really enjoyed this book and can recommend it easily. Good show Mr Wilde.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hereward, 4 Sept. 2011
By 
Mr. C. Reid "Scrum Down" (Kent, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hereward (Hardcover)
I've always known of Hereward but not much about him. Even in the recent "Normans" programme he was hardly mentioned despite being a thorn in the Norman's side for a while until betrayed by the monks of Ely. This book has given life to a true English hero. Whether it is historically correct I don't care. A right good read from start to finish.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Conan of the Fens, 22 Sept. 2011
By 
H. T. Davies - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hereward (Hardcover)
It is starting to seem that if the Normans hadn't invaded historical novelists would have nothing to write about today. This is another addition to the growing canon of books set around the "End-Times" of the 11th century and dealing with the turbulent situation in England as Harold Godwinson waits to accede to the throne.

In fact in this novel Harold is a bit of a tricky schemer rather than the bland goody two-shoes hero just waiting for his chance to throw the Normans bank into the Channel who is generally depicted in this type of novel. Having said that the well-known story of Harold, Edward and William takes second place to the perhaps lesser known one of Hereward whom we see here in what may be seen as his pre-freedom fighter days.

The action is fast and furious and sometimes teeters on the edge of Robert E. Howard territory as others have indicated. Hereward is clearly shown as a "mighty thewed" hero who knows no fear once the red mist descends and not much fear when it doesn't. The author mentions that he was inspired by memories of a comic strip when he was a child and that shows through in some scenes and also gives us the old problem of the arch enemy who seemingly can neither kill the hero nor be killed by him (for obvious narrative reasons). This leads to the killing blow being stayed rather too often to be believable in my view, especially given the amount of bloodlettign which precedes such events.

Period detail seems pretty good and the only jarring phrase I can recall is when Hereward is described as watching events unfold before his eyes as though is slow motion. I also find the Jimminy Cricket-like monk a little irritating as treis to keep our killer on the straight and narrow. Still, fiction is all about suspension of disbelief and if you can accept this as a plot device then you have a very enjoyable read. This is clearly, once again, the opener for a series (trilogy?) and I think the next volume should be just as good if not better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very (He)Rewarding!, 31 Oct. 2012
By 
Paul Harris - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Hereward: (Hereward 1) (Paperback)
James Wilde's book starts with a bang, as Alric, a monk, is chased from the burning ruins of a village by Harald Redteeth and his viking raiders. His first meeting with Hereward is wildly memorable, an image of a berserker warrior whose ferocity is matched only by his cunning. The year is 1062 and England is a land of many kingdoms. As the years pass, Hereward finds himself betrayed and disowned by those who should be closest to him, eventually forcing him to leave the country and go to Flanders (still accompanied by Alric), where he becomes a sword-for-hire. In the meantime, his adoptive brother Redwald has risen high in the court of King Harold. As Redwald continues his relentless climb, we see Hereward begin to change, to shackle his demons and grow into a fighter who makes plans and considers tactics instead of being a half-crazed monster with bloodlust. And all too soon, it is 1066...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The characters are true to themselves, consistent but not unchanging. Hereward, Redwald, Alric, Redteeth - all of them come to life through the page, even those who might not get much 'screentime'. The fights and battles are fast, furious and merciless, leaving a breathless sense of how it may have been to have fought on those battlefields. There are tender moments too, but in the main this a rugged action book about one of England's forgotten heroes. If I have a quibble, it would be that on occasion, Hereward steps a little over the line from hero to superhero (fighting off a wolfpack bare-handed springs to mind), but if there is the odd stray into what might be termed historical fantasy, then it's done artfully and neever to the point where the reader laughs and puts the book aside.

I loved it and I can't wait to read the next installment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a full book, so much going on such action so exciting, love it., 28 Jan. 2014
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This review is from: Hereward: (Hereward 1) (Paperback)
As a child we were taught briefly about Hereward the Wake but never paid that much notice, this is an amazing book and though fictitious reveals a great personality , larger than life a hero. Refreshingly showing the enemy as the Normans, devastatingly revealing the terrorism of the day. From out of the depth and darkness comes a hero , a champion for the English in their struggle under the oppression that William the Conqueror brought to England. James Wilde is able through his writing to transport you back in time, you can almost smell the smoke from the burnings, hear the sounds of the battle rush, feel the tension in the battles . Brilliantly written and a stimulating read, I couldn't put it down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A legend is brought to life, 2 Dec. 2012
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This is defintely one of several Hereward based historical novels I'd recommend. It has a movie style epic and gripping start and the characters are so rich in detail and depth and the plots so intricately woven together that even Shakespeare's plots seemed simple compared to the ones in this book.
It truly takes the reader into the reality of the anglo-saxon world complete with characters from simple peasant folk through monks and priests, warriors and hurscals, noble ladies and the cut-throat (literally) power-hungry men of court, including one Harold Godwinson portrayed in a light never before seen or considered but is based well within his historical context of an ailing King with no heir.
There is as no suprise a lot of death, battle, sword fights, murder and gore in this novel but it demonstrates that despite the mixed and developed culture of the anglo-saxons the sword and honour in the face of death was still a powerful rule in the hearts of men, like Hereward, in particularly so due his own crazed bloodlust frenzy that arises within him when he is forced to draw blood.
The story does cover a lot but it does it with great care and sadly it ends all to soon at the start of Hereward's famous rebellion against William the Conquerer. I can only hope a sequel is planned.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great story, good history, 20 Oct. 2013
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As someone who has studied this period in some depth I'm a pretty harsh critic, but I have to say that James Wilde ticked the boxes for me. The settings are nicely drawn and not overly romanticised, and where the true historical figures appear they are accurate to the historical record - although as Wilde himself says, those records are scarce to say the least! Tostig, earl of Northumbria and his more famous brother Harold Godwinson, in particular, come across vividly.

The pace is also kept going fast enough for anyone who wants to read a good adventure story. Alric the monk is a good foil for the more muscular Hereward, and the lot of the ordinary people caught up in the power-plays of the nobility make for tense reading. If I have one small criticism it's that at times Hereward is in danger of losing his humanity. So far Wilde has kept him just on the right side of realism and refrained from taking Hereward into the realms of an emotionally frozen super-hero, but at times I wished for more of a response from the leading character to the suffering of others. That said, it's still a gripping story, and I shall be definitely reading the next in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hereward, 27 Jan. 2012
This review is from: Hereward (Hardcover)
A terrific 1st novel, introducing a new and almost forgotten hero, and his unlikely sidekick /narrator, to a new generation. This book provides nonstop action from page one but still takes the time to build in historical accuracy and to develop its key characters in all their complex humanity.

Hereward has the capability, intellect, tactical & strategic skills of an honourable Knight but is plagued by his own capacity for berserker style extreme violence. Driven by injustice heaped upon himself and his country folk he starts a one man war on the Normans. This story marks his path from outlaw to Knight and rebellious leader of the outlawed Anglo Saxons.

The start of a legend made fallible flesh and blood by the author. His character leaps off the pages, his passion for life, love honour and his deadly capacity for war both attractive and frightening at the same time.

Cannot wait for the following novel or novels!

Great job and a good cover to cover read. As the book neared its closure I found myself reading short sections as I did not want it to end! Always a good sign.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended, 12 Jun. 2012
This review is from: Hereward: (Hereward 1) (Paperback)
Having been born and brought up in Ely and learned of Hereward's exploits for as long as I can remember, I've been trying over many years to find out the truth behind the myths and read just about everything I could find about him. I was pleased to see Wilde refer to Peter Rex's excellent biography which I can wholeheartedly recommend to everyone. This is the book on which this novel is based. Kingsley's classic 19th century novel "Hereward the Wake" was a splendid romantic take on the story but Wilde's has the ring of truth. Over the course of the novel, Hereward's character develops from the vicious, murdering thug to a true leader of men in the resistance to the horrors of Norman rule. The book is very violent and graphic but 11th century England under William the Bastard was a very violent place. I recommend this to everyone who likes their historical fiction based solidly in history rather than romance and can't wait for the sequel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit comic book, 18 Jun. 2012
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This review is from: Hereward: (Hereward 1) (Paperback)
Was a bit disappointed with this - very comic book, with the hero super-human. James Wilde has decided to adopt the Chris Ryan approach to story writing with very 2 dimensional macho characters. Also the use of Alric, seems to be a copy of Father Willibald in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon series.

Not sure what JW has against Harold Godwinson - seems a bit harsh - I dare say he was no angel - there weren't many back then - but his portrayal goes against how he was perceived by many at the time, including William the Conqueror himself, who seemed to like him. Yet Tostig was not well liked and is portrayed more sympathetically !

I suppose BC portrays some historic charaters badly (Asser, Aethelred of Mercia, and Aelswith to name but 3), potentially unfairly - but to pick on Harold was a strange move !

Not sure if I'll give him another go yet
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Hereward: (Hereward 1)
Hereward: (Hereward 1) by James Wilde (Paperback - 29 Mar. 2012)
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