Skip to main content

Book: Edwin, High King of Britain

Image

Every now and again, I read a book that causes me anger. Not anger at the book’s contents or presentation. Anger that the author wrote what I should have thought of first.

Edwin, High King of Britain is one of those books. Edoardo Albert’s work here fits, technically, under the definition of “historical fiction,” though I would recommend a category of “imaginative history” for works like this one.

Why? Albert presents us with seventh century Britain as a living place. This is a timeframe that we do not have many sources for—the Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History being the main source for occurred in these years. If we take Bede’s historical work as accurate, then Albert’s work is accurate on historical events.

He has woven in imaginative descriptions of what goes on between events. Unlike a typical “historical fiction” book that is mostly fiction in an historical setting, this is mostly history with imagined events to bring it to life.

And bring it to life, he does. Throughout Edwin, High King of Britain, we are introduced to warp and woof of Britain as we can know it. His historical note at the end highlights the areas where he diverted from known facts and his justification for it. The deviations are reasonable.

Now, I’d prefer not to give you too many details. I can say that one thing you might hold as a criticism is the similarities in the behaviors of the Edwin and his people and how J.R.R. Tolkien portrays the Riders of Rohan. However, you must remember that Tolkien was an expert in…early Anglo-Saxons and early Britain. It’s not only reasonable for Edwin’s Britons and others to seem like the Rohirrim, it’s right for them to.

Albert works through the intrigues and battles that characterized life in the seventh century British Isles. Well, the main isle—Ireland has not come into play yet. It’s gruesome at points. Warfare often is, and a novelist is challenged to portray the reality while maintaining writing acceptable for his audience.

All of this being said, I like this book. It is the opening of a series, and I am curious to see if the series holds up in terms of quality, but I have high hopes. This should find its way into your reading if you are interested in early Britain or if you like a good intrigue story. A great read.

Publisher provided a free book in exchange for this review.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Abraham Lincoln Quoted by Jesus! Mark 3

Mark records a curious event in his third chapter (link). If you look at Mark 3:25, you'll see that Jesus quotes the sixteenth President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. After all, one of the highlights of the Lincoln years is his famous speech regarding slavery in the United States where he used the phrase that "a house divided against itself cannot stand." This speech was given in 1858 when he accepted the nomination to run against Stephen A. Douglas for Senate, but is still remembered as the defining speech regarding slaveholding in the United States. I recall being taught in school how brilliant and groundbreaking the speech was, how Lincoln had used such wise words to convey his thought. Yet the idea was not original to Lincoln. Rather, it was embedded in Lincoln from his time reading the Bible. Now, I have read varying reports about Lincoln's personal religious beliefs: some place him as a nearly completely committed Christian while others have him somewh…

Book: Vindicating the Vixens

Well, if Vindicating the Vixens doesn’t catch your attention as a book title, I’m not sure what would. This volume, edited by Sandra L. Glahn (PhD), provides a look at some of the women of the Bible who are “Sexualized, Vilified, and Marginalized.” As is frequently the case, I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my review.Let’s take this a stage at a time. First stage: book setup. This is primarily an academic Biblical Studies book. Be prepared to see discussions of Greek and Hebrew words, as appropriate. You’ll also need a handle on the general flow of Biblical narrative, a willingness to look around at history, and the other tools of someone who is truly studying the text. This is no one-day read. It’s a serious study of women in the Bible, specifically those who either faced sexual violence or who have been considered sexually ‘wrong’ across years of study.A quick note: this book is timely, not opportunistic. The length of time to plan, assign, develop, and publish a multi…