Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England's King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother's ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.
As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men-even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.
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Brilliant Historical Fiction
I am a true lover of history and historical fiction. Patricia Bracewell, in my opinion, is one of the two most engrossing, fascinating and accomplished authors of historical fiction living today (the other being Bernard Cornwell). Bracewell's first book, "Shadow on the Crown" was so enthralling that I may never get over it !! After listening to the audio version of "Shadow on the Crown," which I obtained on Audible, I bought the hardcover book so that I could revisit the narrative any time I wanted without picking up my headphones. That is a first for me, and speaks to the remarkable quality of Bracewell's writing and the seduction of her narrative gifts. I would not only "try" but would DEVOUR any book from Ms. Bracewell's brilliant pen. However if I can possibly manage it, I will never again buy any audiobook narrated by Heather Wilds.
Patricia Bracewell's first book, "Shadow on the Crown"-- the first of three volumes, Ms. Bracewell has announced, a trilogy about Emma of Normandy-- brought Emma across the sea at a young age from Normandy to England, to be married to the then King of England, AEthelred (this was circa 1000 AD, for those who are not already steeped in medieval English history). It's silly to "compare" these two books, but since they are sisters, one picking up where the other left off, naturally I think of them in tandem, like two thoroughbred horses. Nothing else compares !!
I don't want to malign this narrator, but her performance is lifeless. I highly recommend that anyone who loved Bracewell's first book (whether they listened to it on Audible, as narrated by the marvelous Katie Firth, or bought the hardcover or paperback, or read it on Kindle) do themselves a favor and buy /read this second book in ANY format except the audio.
The Price of Blood in audio format inspired me to buy the hardcover version of the book ! Even as narrated in the Audible version--without passion and without apparent understanding of the content-- this is still a great book, and I found the story so gripping that I managed to lose an expensive glove in 25 degree weather ! I knew from listening to the audio version that I wanted to revisit the book in a context which would do it justice--who wants to eat a fantastic five course gourmet dinner in a coffee shop?
Patricia Bracewell's well researched and yet imaginative story had me from "hello" in her first book, "Shadow on the Crown" (narrated on Audible by the incomparable Katie Firth, for a truly synergistic union of author and narrator). In "The Price of Blood" Bracewell takes her heroine, who is surely one of the first strong women in recorded history, from being young and untried to being a force in her own right. If you love historical fiction, don't miss either of the first two volumes of Bracewell's trilogy about Emma. And if the narrator's talents (or lack thereof) will affect your experience of the book, then when it comes to "The Price of Blood" please buy the hardcover or wait for the release of the paperback (or get the book on Kindle). Both books are more than well worth your time and attention; don't let the narrator of the second book detract from your experience of Patricia Bracewell's prose.
Good story, bad narration
- Kathy Fiscus