Posts Tagged ‘Blood and Blade’

Adventures in Bookland: Blood and Blade by Matthew Harffy

Sunday, January 1st, 2017


In Blood and Blade, Matthew Harffy’s recreation of the violent and crucial decades of 7th-century Britain reaches a new depth and resonance. His hero, Beobrand, is a man whose soul has been as much branded by the events of the previous two books as his body has been battered by them – and how good it is to have an action hero not shake off wounds as lightly as a shower of rain. In this book, Beobrand has to travel the path his wyrd has placed him on, between competing kingdoms and the collision of religions. Harffy handles the many action scenes with his customary skill and realism – this is not a book for the faint hearted – but it is in the portrayal of the relationship between Beobrand and a lowly thrall that the author reveals a deepening appreciation of the human condition and how, even in the midst of the most violent of times, people will strive for love and human contact.

Oswiu: What Writers Think – no.5 in a short series

Monday, October 24th, 2016
Matthew Harffy

Matthew Harffy

See this fellow? If you think he looks like he wouldn’t be out of place in the 7th century, you’d be right. Back when I was finishing off Edwin: High King of Britain and congratulating myself in having this extraordinary period in British history all to myself, I discovered that there was another writer working on a book set during the reign of King Edwin. After employing a few old English words, I set to stalking him online and discovered to my horror that, yes, he really was writing in my period and that, even worse, he was really good.

When Matthew found out about me – you can read how this happened in his interview with me here – there was much tentative circling, rather like two wary warriors, not quite sure of the other’s intention. But we soon realised that we would do better standing shoulder to shoulder than facing each other, a realisation bolstered by the fact that we could each admire the other’s work wholeheartedly while realising, with some relief, that we were doing quite different things with our takes on the 7th century.

Since Matthew writes about the same period I do, he clearly knows it backward. So I was delighted when he said he’d read an advance copy of Oswiu: King of Kings. I was even more pleased with what he said about it:

“In Oswiu: King of Kings, Edoardo Albert brings to vivid life the battle for the land and souls of the British people in the seventh century.  Albert tells an epic tale of kings and queens, omens and shieldwalls, where the future of a people was decided as much through the guile of its priests as the strength of its warlords. He deftly weaves the threads of a memorable cast of characters into the weft and warp of a vibrant tapestry of war, mystery and intrigue. Yet the true strength of Oswiu: King of Kings, is in the depiction of the effects of conflict on the men and women of the Dark Ages. As Albert reminds us there is much more to conquest than the ringing clash of swords.”

And if you don’t rush out and buy Oswiu now, I’ll get Matthew to send his hero, Beobrand round to have a word with you – and you really don’t want to get Beobrand annoyed!