Some books I read for learning. Some I read because I’m assigned or offered reviews. Some, though, I just happily snag for free because it saves me the money of buying them. These are the fun reads, the ones I would like to spend far more time on than I have the chance to.
Oswald: The Return of the King by Edoardo Albert falls into this last category. I first met Albert’s writing in Edwin: High King of Britain and have since greatly enjoyed his non-fiction related works on early Britain. I guess one could say I am a fan.
Oswald follows on the heels of Edwin, as Britain remains in the turmoil of the post Roman Era. It’s an imaginative tale, obviously not entirely historically accurate. After all, there aren’t exactly newspapers from the time laying around to be read.
Still, Albert spins the tale well. The characters become people you actually care about, even though you recognize the reality of the environment. And that reality? People are going to die. It’s a bloody time, a violent time…and a time of all sorts of other perils.
The tale of Oswin and his choice between the monastery and the throne is not one most people are familiar with. It likely reflects the choice several people faced throughout the years of the Dark and Medieval Ages.
Albert not only provides a gripping story for the reader, but he also presents several helps. The first is a list of characters so that the reader can keep them straight. Second is a detailed historical note providing the facts behind the story.
Overall, this story doesn’t make a family-friendly movie, but it is a fascinating piece of history. It’s also an engaging read for those who want to know more about a generally overlooked time frame.
Is it worth the reading? I would recommend Edwin first, just to set the stage, but yes. It’s also well-worth having a copy around.
I received a copy of this book in exchange for the review.