- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Lion Fiction; 1st New edition (21 Mar. 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1782640339
- ISBN-13: 978-1782640332
- Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 2.5 x 19.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 102,360 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Edwin: High King of Britain: 1 (The Northumbrian Thrones) Paperback – 21 Mar 2014
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"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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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
As others have mentioned, one of the great qualities of this book is that it is largely faithful to what little we know about the events that took place and most of the characters are historical. For instance, Edwin did seek refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia, after having been hosted by other Kings, including the King of Gwynedd, and having to flee to another court as Aethelfrith sought to have either murdered on handed over to him by his previous guests.
This time, however, Edwin chooses not to run, and King Raedwald does not betray him. Instead, they stand up against the domination of King Aethelfrith, defeat him and kill him in battle and, as a result, Edwin becomes King of Northumbria in AD 616. He rules until AD 633 when he is in turn defeated and killed in battle.
Most of the main characters that appear in this book are historical, including the Roman missionary Paulinus and the Kentish and Christian princess Aethelburh whom Edwin marries. It is through the influence of these two, and with Edwin’s tolerance and acceptance, that Christianity begins to spread into Northumbria, with the King himself and his followers accepting baptism although whether this was a sincere conversion, a way to hedge his bets, a political ploy, or a bit of all these elements together is unknown.
This is where the fictional elements come in. The events described in the book are historically recorded.Read more ›
As is always the case with books set in this period, the names are confusing in several ways; spellings have lots of use of the 'ash' (a combined A and E that is intended to sound like the 'a' in cat) and are also very similar (AEthelburgh, Aethelbert, AEthelfrith, Ethelthryd etc) and, in addition, some names that sound feminine to our ears are, actually, masculine and vice versa. These days, many people talk about 'The Game of Thrones' when wishing to describe political intrigue and, especially, the convoluted family connections arising from inter-marriage and political alliance, but, in fact, the real life convolutions of these royal dynasties surpass anything in fictional works. Keeping straight who's who in this world where one king might apprentice his son to his rival, to try to ensure strong alliances, and where kings might have several wives (but not at the same time), resulting in various offspring, can be confusing. I have no magic solution to these problems but it's worth persevering for a story this good.
One of the best things about this book is that it manages to stick very closely indeed to accurately evidenced historical fact while weaving in only those elements of fiction / imagination required to make the story flow, That authenticity really bolsters this book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Curate's egg, good in parts.
The good parts were that the few historical facts we know of Edwin, via Bede, were followed and some creative plot twists attempted to explain... Read more
I really enjoyed reading this and am looking forward to reading the next two. After having read a historical account of the period I wanted something to bring the people alive,... Read morePublished 26 days ago by Amazon Customer
As an avid reader of Historical Fiction and a lover of all things from Northumbria (including my wife), I found this book full of fascinating detail and easy to read. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Martin Dismore
Best historical novel I have read ,since Eagle in the Snow,by Wallace Bream.Excellent.Published 2 months ago by Belly button fluff
I'm a big historical fiction fan and this was very well written and researched. It tells the story of Edwin's rise to power in the 7th century and his conversion to Christianity,... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Claire
Very gripping, with short, well written chapters, lots of characterisation, description, so that you get really involved in the people and their stories. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Harfiyah
This book is the first of a trilogy about the Northumbrian kings. This very readable historical novel gives much detail about how the various tribes in Britain interacted about... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sue Trifles