Customer Reviews


83 Reviews
5 star:
 (32)
4 star:
 (32)
3 star:
 (15)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Crushing the English
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...
Published on 6 July 2011 by Charles Vasey

versus
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Plodding Normans
This is probably a good book.

The author certainly knows his stuff and has done a lot of research into the period as part of his studies. And therein, for this reader, lies the problem. This reads too much like fleshed out thesis notes to me. All sorts of technical boxes are ticked regarding weaponry, horses, the complications of succession but the story...
Published on 28 Dec 2011 by H. T. Davies


‹ Previous | 1 2 39 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written, gripping and relevant to the period, 20 Nov 2013
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is top class thrilling and gutsy writing- story telling which takes you right into the period, with excellent character development. On a par with Cornwell at his best
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great read, 15 Sep 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Very readable, fast flowing and a great yarn, a completely different view on a little written about part of the conquest. Looking forward to the next one.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read if you enjoy this period, 27 Aug 2013
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
I really enjoyed this book so much so that I have just bought the next one in the series. A great insight into the history of the era and the way battles were fought at that time.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unknown period of history brought to vivid life., 16 Mar 2012
By 
R. A. Caton "Arcaton" (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
We are seeing here a period of history rarely dealt with at school.
Three years have passed since William the Bastard defeated Harold's saxons at Hastings, and he is busy consolidating his rule by strategically planting Norman overlords throughout the country. Tancred A Dinant is a warrior sworn to serve his Lord; all he is and has is owed to that man. He is at Durham, attending to his duties, riding patrols whilst his Lord is occupied in the town. We see events through Tancred's eyes, and all place names used are contemporary (we do have and need a glossary as the names have mutated somewhat over the years).
The events are about to unfold that led to the harrowing of the North.... the saxons in various towns, Durham included, have realised that they outnumber the Normans placed over them, and decide to overthrow the usurpers, with bloody consequences for all.
Tancred finds himself lordless and gets taken on to escort another nobles wife and her retinue southward to his estates and safety - swearing fealty to another.
And that, as they say is where the story really starts..... a tale of grim pursuit, of nobility, and treachery in unexpected places viewed as it unfolds by one who is there.

You too will get the sense of being in that cold, bleak unpopulated country; of danger and mistrust.
This is a very good start to what promises to become a series.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good page turner, 10 Mar 2012
By 
Trevor Willsmer (London, England) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (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.

He doesn't always manage to pull it off: his hero, Tancred, isn't the deepest of characters and while seeing events through his eyes and his perspective may be relatively accurate, it's a rather limiting view of the post-Conquest landscape even though the author does send him around the kingdom as a conspiracy gradually unfolds that could send the Normans back from whence they came. Anyone with a smattering of history knows that isn't going to happen, so much of the interest revolves around the journey rather than the destination, and while Aitcheson certainly knows his stuff, at times you do feel that the research is dictating not only the story but how it's told at times. But to compensate there's plenty of action along the way - most of the first five chapters alone revolve around that catastrophic first encounter with the Saxons - and while the plot could be stronger there's more than enough to keep you turning the page.

It'll be interesting to see how Aitcheson plans to develop this promised new series, but it's got off to a more than decent start with Sworn Sword.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cornwell for the Norman Period, 10 Nov 2011
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
To be honest having read quite a few books set around the time of the battle of Hastings I was wondering what James would bring to the table to make his title stand out. What unfurled for me was definitely Cornwell in the Norman Period, it had great characters, plenty of battles and prose carefully mixed with pace that kept you going throughout.

Add to this a wonderful sense of style, a meticulously researched historical background and some of these gems added without it looking like an info dump that kept the whole thing ticking over nicely. I'll definitely be reading James' next title and hope that it continues to meet this high standard.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a great read., 9 Oct 2011
By 
K. D. Squire (Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
For a debut novel this hits the marks in every catagory. Its plot is subtle but littered with aspects that will keep your reading into the wee hours of the morning. It is historically based which wouldnt normally appeal to me but now im hooked and looking forward the the next installment.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and evocative historical novel, 9 Oct 2011
By 
Katie B (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
Sworn Sword is a gripping story about the struggles of the post-1066 era, in which the Normans fought to keep control of England. Intriguingly written from a Norman perspective, the novel is well-researched and very evocative.

I have to admit that before reading this book I didn't know much about the post-Hastings years, which are under-represented in mainstream historiography. Sworn Sword, as well as being a great story, vividly brings to life the complexities of this period in time, when loyalties were divided and identities forged. Highly recommended whether you're a history geek or not!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great debut on many counts, 21 Sep 2011
By 
JPS - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
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. Any type of force that is surprised in the middle of the night and is not given enough time to form up can get cut to pieces and this is what happens. History (or the story itself) do not say so explicitly but it does seem that a) the Normans grossly underestimated their opponents both from without and from within the town, b) their were caught unprepared (what were their sentries doing?) and c) lodging in the town itself turned out, with hindsight, to be a very bad idea...

Fifth, I was a bit less convinced with the rest of the story and having Tancred turned into some kind of clumsy detective rushing around the countryside. However, even there, the author manages to convey how tenuous was King William's hold on his kingdom.

A griping read which I strongly recommend. I am looking forward to the next volume, hoping it will deal with the "harroying of the North".
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Action and Intrigue, Norman-style, 17 Sep 2011
By 
Mr. Gtj Charmley "gerardtjcharmley" (Cardiff, Wales) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sworn Sword (The Conquest) (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)
Every schoolboy knows that William of Normandy conquered England in 1066. Defeating King Harold Godwinson, he was crowned at Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day, becoming undisputed master of England. Or so the popular imagination would have it. In reality, the Normans faced a difficult struggle to impose the new King's authority on his realm. This book, by James Aitcheson, takes as its background that challenging time. The hero, Tancred a Dinant, a young Knight who forsook the monastic life in search of adventure as a company commander in the service of Robert de Commines, newly-appointed Earl of Northumbria, narrates this fast-moving tale. The story starts with a bang, as the citizens of Durham rise up against the invaders, wiping out the army of Earl Robert, slaying him in the process. Tancred is one of a handful of survivors of the massacre, fleeing south to regroup at York. But even there, he is not safe. Dispatched to London with the wife and daughter of William Malet, the local lord, with Malet's chaplain, Tancred swears his sword to Malet - but after fighting his way through the increasingly dangerous north Tancred's struggles have only just begun. Is Malet all he seems, and who is the mysterious person with whom Malet's chaplain has an appointment at Wilton priory?

This fast-moving story is the first one of a series, but can be read as a stand-alone story. While Aitchenson has clearly done his research, it is not too obvious. His hero is a military, and the love interest not overdone, nor the camraderie. I read the book avidly, loving both the twists and turns of a plot which is complex without being convoluted. The characters are well-drawn, as is the landscape, and it is considerable less coarse than many an attempt to write this sort of stuff. Enjoyable, in a boy's own sort of way. Highly enjoyable, in fact, with a narrative which will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 39 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Sworn Sword (The Conquest)
Sworn Sword (The Conquest) by James Aitcheson (Hardcover - 4 Aug 2011)
10.39
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews