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Oathbreaker (The King's Hounds series) by [Jensen, Martin]
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Oathbreaker (The King's Hounds series) Kindle Edition

4.1 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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About the Author

Bestselling Danish novelist Martin Jensen was born in 1946 and worked as a teacher and a headmaster in Sweden and Denmark before becoming a full-time writer in 1996. The author of twenty-one novels, he has been honored by the Danish Crime Academy twice and was awarded the Royal Library’s Prize for his medieval novel Soldiers’ Whore. He and his wife are botany enthusiasts who also enjoy bird-watching and gathering mushrooms.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 6457 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Publisher: AmazonCrossing (4 Mar. 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00ELN0KCK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars 141 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #14,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is the second book in the series to be translated into English. A pleasant and engrossing tale set in Cnut's kingdom, where once again our main characters are set a task by the King. Unfortunately, as with the first book, some phrases and wording seem to jar with the historic setting; for instance, I am not convinced that in the 11th century, Halfdan would refer to his employer and employer's woman as 'you guys'. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book and look forward to the next installment to become available in English.
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I have now read both of the Halfdan/Winston novels they are a sort of cross between Bernard Cornwell "Warrior Chronicals" and Ellis Peters "Cadfael" only not as good as either. Like others I find the Americanisms and modern idiom grates badly and I suspect the translator knows her linguistic trade very well but is unfamiliar with the era in which the books are set.
That having been said I generally enjoyed both and will look for others in the future but I hope the publishers find a British translator or someone more familiar with this kind of work.
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Perhaps being a female, I didn't appreciate the constant and unremitting battles. It felt a bit like Groundhog Day!
It is interesting though to have an insight into a little-covered period of English history and I'm sure that many people would appreciate that. The writing is clear and succinct.
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This, the second in the King's Hounds series continues the crime-solving. The story is based on real events. It's one of those tales that you have to finish, preferably in as few sittings as possible. As others have already mentioned, the translation does grate a little. Americanisms don't sit too well in a Medieval English tale. However, I am looking forward to the next instalment.
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By JPS TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Aug. 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I chose this as the title of my review because, as Martin Jensen states in his historical note, the whole book is built upon a historical even: the traitorous murder in 1016 of Uthred earldorman of Northumbria and Lord of Bernicia and of what is nowadays Bamburgh castle with some forty of his lead thanes under a flag of truce. He and his disarmed men were murdered unarmed by his rival for the control of Northumbria (Thurdbrand the Hold). This event, and the following feud between the two families continued for over a century and a half and can be found by readers with an interest in Richard Fletcher’s excellent “Bloodfeud”.

This book, the second of the series about Halfdan and his master Winston the Illuminator, takes place two years later and just after the King’s Hounds which was mostly located in Oxford. It builds upon and is derived upon the slaughter and treachery mentioned above. It is also set in the same context, except that the action takes place in a monastery this time, where one monk has been murdered and his hand severed – a mutilation reserved for oath breakers. The context is the year 1018 with Cnut having recently become King of England and done away (rather ruthlessly!) with his most determined opponents and seeking to rule a Kingdom of England torn by war where many still resent and may not accept his supremacy.

The story is well told, with a considerably lower number of “modernisms” although they are still a few such as “you guys” creeping in as a result of translating the original Danish version into colloquial American English. The lower number of such “modernisms” made the reading more enjoyable, as far as I was concerned. The plot is an interesting one and I simply did not guess the actual circumstances of the murder.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Haven't read the first book so dived straight in with this. I liked the pace and the unusual setting of this dark ages whodunnit. There's a tangible feel for the time, evoked with food, fabric & social description, along with a strong grasp of the political situation surrounding King Cnut's ascendancy.

The central characters have wit and there's a sly, earthy sense of humour throughout the book. I think Martin Jensen has an eye for a tanned calf or two!

The relationship between Halfdan & his master works well, with an element of playfulness that enlivens the tale. At times the colloqial style plays to that, yet at others it doesn't quite ring true for me... that's why I gave it a 3 star, not 4.

If you like Ellis Peters 'Cadfael' series or enjoy a bit of historical drama (Bernard Cornwell, Conn Iggulden) you might enjoy this. I'll definitely go back to read the first instalment, although you can follow part two easily without it.
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Halfdan and his master, Winston, are commissioned to go to Peterborough to work for the Abbot. Whilst reluctant to go they are persuaded by an agent of King Cnut who wants them to keep their eyes and ears open. However whilst travelling to Peterborough they are confronted with violent crime at a small abbey they are staying at. A monk is slain on an altar and his hand is cut off - who and why are the questions and the answers seem connected to an event twenty years before when a group of men were massacred even though they had been granted safe passage.

Set in a relatively unfamiliar period of history (to me anyway) this is a fairly standard historical crime novel. Its saving grace was the period and what I learned along the way. An enjoyable book but no 'must-read'.
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