The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Serpent Sword is a work of Historical Fiction set in Northumbria, England 633AD. It opens with the murder of a warrior and the taking of his sword called Hrunting, a gift from local King Edwin.
We then meet a young farmhand called Beobrand, he is travelling to meet his brother Octa, with his mother and siblings dead from the pestilence and nothing left, he intends making a new life as a warrior. But he is shocked to find that his brother has recently been murdered.
Beobrand vows to avenge his brother’s death, but as yet he has no standing in life. He swears his allegiance to King Edwin who is gathering an army and Beobrand is swept up in the preparations for the warband. Given basic training from a friend of Octa, Beobrand soon finds himself in his first shieldwall. A fierce battle leaves him seriously injured and left for dead. But luckily he escapes and is rescued by an apprentice monk.
The story follows Beobrand as he matures into a brave warrior and his ultimate quest to find his brother’s murderer, both his loyalties and beliefs are tested to the core in this first book of the Bernicia Chronicles. This is a well written book in a believable setting and is a good example of this genre.
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