Tuesday, June 17, 2014

[Review] Edwin: High King of Britain, The Northumbrian Thrones 1 by Edoardo Albert

Publisher: Lion Fiction March 21, 2014 1st edition
Genre: Historical Fiction, Anglo-Saxon, Northumbria, History of Christianity to England, England
Format: Paperback
Pages: 354
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Free copy from Kregel Book Tours in exchange for a review.

Kindle price is $1.99

Further historical links on Edwin:
St. Edwin, from the Parish Church of Saint Wilfrid,
Wikipedia,
From Anglo-Saxon and Viking Northumbria,
From BBC possible burial site for Edwin,
From Orthodox Outlet For Dogmatic Inquiries, this site has color photographs,
and England's Christian Heritage site (color photographs as well as an interesting history of the area of Northumbria).


Summary:
AD 625
Edwin, King of Deira and Bernicia (Northumbria), Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in northern England, has been in exile for twelve long years. He is a widow, and has two grown sons, Osfrith and Eadfrith. At the age of forty, he marries a second time to a bride younger than his sons, AEthelburh of Kent.
Edwin: High King of Britain, is a personal study of the first king of Northumbria who became a Christian. The book explores his life before conversion, and his dramatic life change afterwards.
Edwin, had been a hardened man and a king, who knew the offense and defense of war. Securing, sustaining, and protecting the geographical boundaries of his kingdom, as well as the protection of all that was under him to command had been his life. But, during the quiet of a night, an encounter and prophecy from a mysterious man unsettled him, and brought about a changed course in life.

My Thoughts:
Edwin: High King of Britain, is one of the best historical fiction books I've read this year.
Several reason why I loved this story.
1. Edwin is an imperfect person. He struggles with fears, insecurities, courage, doubt, loneliness, and betrayal. Edwin, is also a man of intelligence, he ponders the complexities of life, he is also brave and courageous. He is loving and dutiful to his family. He is both ignoble and noble. He represents traits that are admirable and fearful.
2. Edoardo Albert, created Edwin's character in vividness. Edwin is fleshed-out, and in some sensory aspects I could almost hear Edwin breathe.
3. Albert's descriptions of battle scenes, traveling by rough terrain, living conditions, diseases; I could picture easily in my mind. Further, during the mysterious encounter early in the story, the crescendo of Edwin knowing someone or something is near him and watching him, yet Edwin cannot see him because of the dark, this is a spectacular narrative.
4. The first sentence was a clincher: "The king is going to kill you." page 15.
5. A comical scene of a bartering of a bride, reminded me more of buying a horse.
5. The priest Paulinus, gave a dynamic Gospel message presentation.
6. Study of pagan religion versus Christianity, and its affects on the people.
7. Conversion story, a steady progression of understanding, faith, and a remarkable changed life.

1 comment:

Bookish Medievalist said...

I loved this book too, though I admit, I actually already knew the story of Edwin from the famous historical chronicle of an eighth century Saxon Monk.
That was not a let-down for me at all though, for I have been captivated by Edwin pretty much ever since I first read about him, and this novel certainly did him justice.

It is excellent to have a novel set during a period and that is so much ignored in Christian Fiction being devoured and appreciated. Looking forward to the sequel about the enigmatic King Oswald....