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I do like a book that lives up to its title and this one has that Ronseal feel to it doing exactly what it says on the tin! There is a very atmospheric opening at the grave of Edward as he introduces us to his story and from then on the tale delivers fine Saxons and evil Vikings with no little gusto.
There is battle, betrayal and vengeance and having read several books from the Viking point of view it's only proper that the Saxons get a look in with the tale of the greatest of their Kings.
Is it as sophisticated as say a Cornwell? Does it have the depth of an Iggulden? Well I'd say no, not quite on both counts but many fans of those authors and indeed newer ones like Giles Kristian will find plenty to like here.
It is the start to Bishop's Under the Raven series so there will be more to come but this can still be read as a tale in its own right. If a slice of bloody Dark Ages history sprinkled with battles and historical detail is your thing then this could well suit.
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