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The second book in The Northumbrian Thrones series follows the young prince Oswald as he seeks to regain the throne taken from his family by Edwin.
The exiled family of King Æthelfrith of Northumbria arrive, after much hardship, on the island of Iona, where the monastery founded by St Columba has become a center of worship and learning. Amid the violence and turbulence of Dark-Ages Britain, the island appears a sanctuary to the hunted princes and Oswald, having become firm friends with a novice named Aidan, enters the church along with his younger brother, Oswiu.
As befits a young prince, Oswald learns to fight and soon becomes renowned for his courage, earning the title Lamnguin, the Whiteblade. However, the peace of Iona leaves Oswald torn between becoming a monk or returning to Northumbria to reclaim the kingdom that is rightfully his. When news reaches Iona that his half-brother, Eanfrith, has been killed by Cadwallon, the king who defeated Edwin, Oswald sails back to Northumbria and meets Cadwallon in battle, defeating and killing him.
Oswald, now the undisputed king of Northumbria, gives Aidan the island of Lindisfarne as a base from which to take the faith to the English. But Penda, the last great pagan king in England, is raising troops against him.
Number of Pages: 384
Vendor: Lion Fiction
Publication Date: 2015
|Dimensions: 7.75 X 5.0 (inches)|
Series: Northumbrian Thrones
Edwin, High King of Britain, Northumbrian Thrones Series #1Edoardo AlbertLion Fiction / 2014 / Trade Paperback$8.49 Retail:4.5 Stars Out Of 5 5 Reviews
$14.99Save 43% ($6.50)
AnnetteTexasAge: 45-54Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5A Remarkable KingAugust 21, 2015AnnetteTexasAge: 45-54Gender: femaleQuality: 4Value: 4Meets Expectations: 4Summary:
Oswald, Return of the King, is book two, in The Northumbrian Throne series. In book one, Edwin is king of Northumbria (kingdoms of Bernicia and Deira.) He is killed in battle. After a battle with Cadwallon, Oswald becomes the King of Northumbria, reuniting the two kingdoms. Oswald's brother is Oswiu. Their mother is Acha, the sister of Edwin.
The time period of Oswald's life is AD 605-642.
In Oswald, Return of the King, Oswald's life is portrayed from the point he finds out Edwin has been killed in battle, until the final battle between Oswald and Penda. Penda is king of Mercia (Midlands.)
I've loved this series of books. I'd read Edwin: High King of Britain, and gave the book 5 stars for excellent. I missed the continuing story of Edwin's surviving wife and children. However, I loved being introduced to Oswald, and his mother, and siblings.
Oswald is a man with a conscience. He is a moral man. He is an Arthurian type hero. He has temptations and imperfections, but he is a person of high character. I'd wondered if he had not become king, might he have lived in a monastic order? He is a believer in Christ Jesus. He has been baptized. I noticed he seemed to be a person fit for solitude, prayer, and reflection. On the other hand, he is a man ready for war. At a young age, his father prepared him for combat. Oswald is a courageous and faithful person. He faces battles with courage, whether in everyday life, or in war.
His brother Oswiu, seems more fit for chasing pretty girls, or any girl who would have him.
The two brothers do not reflect the same qualities. I wondered if the younger brother living under his older brother's shadow, "played" the part of the younger, less mature brother?
Oswald, Return of the King is a story of good characters, versus bad characters. Good equals moral. Bad equals evil.
The vivid descriptions of the scenery, weather, and environment brought the story to life.
Oswald: Return of the King is a story both male and female readers can enjoy.
Some of Oswald's life is of legend. Edoardo Albert took what is known about Oswald, and weaved in fiction with what might have happened. His goal was to breathe life into Oswald, in order to share this time period, and the kings who lived in an age when England was not united, but had several kingdoms who made alliances, and also broke them.
Source: Free paperback copy from Kregel in exchange for a review.
Rating: 4 stars for very good.
VicsMediaRoomIrvine, CAAge: 55-65Gender: male5 Stars Out Of 5Little Known History Exciting ThrillerAugust 21, 2015VicsMediaRoomIrvine, CAAge: 55-65Gender: maleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Edoardo Albert in his new book Oswald: Return of the King Book Two in The Northumbrian Thrones series published by Lion Hudson recreates the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England.
From the back cover: Oswald had found peace. But now he must fight for the throne.
The kingdom lies undefended. Cadwallon and Penda, the kings of Gwynedd and Mercia, ravage the land. Oswald has a rightful claim to the throne, but he is sick of the bloodshed: in his heart he longs to lay down his sword and join the monks of Iona.
However the abbott of Iona does not need another monk: the abbott wants a warrior king to spread the new faith. He must reignite Oswalds hunger for glory and renown, for gold and power and the homage of men.
If he does, will it destroy Oswald?
I like history and when it is presented to me fresh I enjoy it even more. And Mr. Albert has taken what is for me a little known piece of history and brought it to life. This is fascinating stuff. Power, empires, kings, betrayal and political intrigues are just some of what has to be dealt with. Oswald is next in line for the throne but he doesnt want to take it. The events that lead him to the throne and what he has to do when he gets there is prime reading. Mr. Albert is a highly gifted author who knows how to give us wonderful characters that are human and have strong emotions. Mr. Albert has given us a unique thriller that will keep you on the edge of your chair as you read and flip pages as fast as possible. I recommend this book highly and look forward to the next book in this series.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Lion Hudson. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255: Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
MazzouSt. Louis, MOAge: 18-24Gender: female5 Stars Out Of 5Another excellent book from the author!August 14, 2015MazzouSt. Louis, MOAge: 18-24Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 4Meets Expectations: 5Oswald: Return of the King is Edoardo Albert's second book and follows his previous work Edwin: High King of Britain. Both are historical fiction works which are packed with historical details which the learned author discovered in the writings of the historian Bede.
At first, since it had been over a year that I had read the prequel to this book, I was a little confused by the characters and settings. However once I discovered the historic notes at the end of the book and the list of characters at the beginning (two crucial and wise aspects to include in such a deep and historic-fiction work!), everything fell into place, I remembered much of Edwin: High King of Britain and was set to enjoy and profit from the remainder of Oswald: Return of the King. As the author's first work, this novel is fascinating and hard to put down once begun! Rarely have I seen historical accounts so well fancied and wrought out! The author is superb; his works worth the read! I will point out that I am not a skilled historian although the topic is one of my favorite subjects. Specifically, I am not a master of knowledge concerning the kings of Northumbria or any region in 7th century England. However, judging by the author's honest afterword and historical notes I feel I can trust his extrapolation of the scarce historical accounts given by the ancient Bede.
Critically, I find that although Edoardo Albert's books are excellent for adults there are some points which I personally wouldn't recommend for younger readers. Ever true to the time period, the author includes jokes/riddles the people make concerning the wedding night, brief mentioning of the age of prospective brides (concerning whether or not she was old enough to have chidren)....you judge whether your child can or cannot read such things. Like I said, it is an excellent book for adults!
Especially worthy of note are the tense, exciting, complex moments in this historical novel. The author does wonders in describing everything from arguments, threats and cunning plans to actual violent battles which culminate in death or victory. I am amazed by how real the action portions of the book are!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
English LadyUK,Age: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Rescuing a great King from obscurityJune 29, 2015English LadyUK,Age: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0The sequel to the last book in this series 'Edwin: High King of Britain' was for me, long awaited. I remembered a little of Oswalds story- for which the sources are sparse- but the wait was well worth it. The title is a conscious nod to Tolkien, of which it is, I believe legitimate to draw at least some comparison.
King Oswald of Northumbria, a seventh century Saxon King, was the inspiration for Aragorn- and Middle Earth was what Oswalds people the Anglo-Saxons, called the earth. For once again Edoardo Albert has taken the material that gives the barest and created a grand historical drama recreating the lives of half-forgotten figures who lived in a period that is as much shrouded in myth as it is known from history.
Oswald: Return of the King tells the story of an exiled Prince, who returned to his homeland to reclaim his Kingdom, and, once it was won, to spread the New Faith of Christianity which he had embraced. This led him to establish the great monastry of Lindisfarne, and other foundations that would become famous as centres of Early Medieval English Christianity
In other ways. King Oswald as the author says flashed for a few short years in a time when much was against him- when fellow Kings said that no throne could survive when there were two brothers to compete for it. His was a tale of a hard-won kingdom, and a King who sought to bring hope to his people of brotherly love, loyalty, intriuge and sacrifice - tainted by betrayal, pride and mistrust.
As with the last book the often beautifully written descriptive passages helped re-create a far distant age- from the misty Fens of East-Anglia, to the storm battered Island of Iona- the chanting of monks, and the war-cries of warriors in battle.
One problem with some historical fiction novels is the tendency to inject modern values, thoughts and ideas into the heads of historical characters- harder still is the avoid modern idioms and turns of phrase. In this series- even the way that the characters speak evokes the world of Tolkien, and, for literary buffs- Old English and British poetry.
Some of my favourite passages included:
"But even the sea, first and masterless, had quietened at the command of her heart-Lord. If he had chosen Oswald, she would not hold him back for her mother fear.
We are all afraidDeath takesglory fades, deeds are forgotten. In a generation, who will remember out names? But there is a hope in the new ways: a hope of life, a hope in death, a hope even in defeat.
When n I was a boy, all I wanted was to be a warrior, to wield sword and win famebut now I am glad the story is greater than sword glory.
My only complaints were that the Oswalds actual reign seemed to take something of a back foot. He didnt even develop King until halfway into the novel- and the section devoted to his rule is nearly three quarters of the way through. Much time is devoted to the preliminaries- mostly the warfare which ravaging the Kingdom of Northumbria, waged by rival Kings who Oswald had to defeat and bring to heel. This much of the first part of the book is the backstory about how he became King, in which relatively minor stories from the last book get a lot of attention.
One such characters was Coifi, the former pagan priest who ostensibly converted to Christianity it the last book. The characterization of him here was- dubious to say the least. In the last book, it seemed to be implied that his supposed supernatural powers of prophecy were something of a delusion, and Coifi himself as at times, a charlatan.
Here, it is implied many times that he really can see into the future- when he goes into trances, his visions often prove uncannily accurate.
One minute he claimed the gods abandoned him- but then claims they have given him is abilities back when he gets his visions again. I almost felt the author was trying to cast his as a Gandalf like- character- when such was really not needed and I feel was not wholly appropriate.
It is almost counter-productive to have a figure to whom who believes the gods have given him power- and whose power seems very real- when these gods are regarded by many of his fellows as redundant and largely powerless.
Also, in a couple of places some details seemed confusing. Perhaps the last section seemed too rushed. Oswald went from gaining his throne, to everyone calling him High King very quickly, one I sometimes found it hard to recall when the other kings had given him their allegiance. In some places, also, there seemed to be little sense of the passing of time- so until we were told that someones child was so old, it was hard to keep track of how much time had passed.
Finally, it may be pertinent to mention that readers seeking a story with a happy ending may be disappointed. This novel is true to the history of the period, which was frequently violent and sometimes tragic.
Yet is it not a story entirely devoid of hope. Those seeking a realistic work of historical and literary fiction, which explores some deeper issues without being preachy or clichd, and is free of gratuitous sex, excessive, unnecessary violence, or plain silliness which plagues some historical dramas may well find what they are looking for here.
I received an ARC of this book free from the publisher for review. I was not required to write a positive one, and all opinions expressed are my own.