The Cross and the Curse : The Bernicia Chronicles

  • by Matthew Harffy
  • Narrated by Barnaby Edwards
  • Series: The Bernicia Chronicles
  • 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

634AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and second instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.
Warlords battle across Britain to become the first king of the English. After a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, Beobrand returns a hero. His valour is rewarded with wealth and land by Oswald, king of Northumbria. He retires to his new estate with his bride only to find himself surrounded by enemies old and new.
With treachery and death on all sides, Beobrand fears he will lose all he holds dear. On a quest for revenge and redemption, he accepts the mantle of lord, leading his men into the darkest of nights and the bloodiest of battles.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Great listen!

Longtime friends and followers of mine might know that I endorsed Harffy’s debut novel, The Serpent Sword. That was a self-published affair which garnered enough interest and sales that Matthew was taken on by a major publisher, Aria, and this is the resultant sequel.

The tale is quite straightforward with love, action and beautifully written prose aplenty and, combined with a really good narrator, makes for a great listen. It gets especially nasty (in a good way!) about two-thirds in and things really start to come together there.

I felt a little as if this was a bridge between the first book and the next, setting things up for what’s to come for the rest of the series. That’s no bad thing and there is enough to keep your interest up throughout although I did miss a bit of humour. The events are dark and gritty and the characters know it – but it would have been nice to have a bit of childish banter between the men just to lighten things. As it is, the word I kept thinking of as I listened was “earnest”. The dialogue is earnest, the characters are earnest and the prose is too. I was wishing someone would fart or stand in a dog turd but sadly there’s no slapstick silliness here!

This series has been compared to Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred stories (by me, actually, in that previously-mentioned endorsement!) but, although settings and time period are similar, the writing is completely different in The Cross and the Curse. Fans of one author will enjoy the other I’m sure, as both are absolutely brilliant.

Steven A. McKay, author of the Forest Lord series
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- The Wolf

Beobrand Strikes Back!

Would you listen to The Cross and the Curse again? Why?

To be honest, at 48 years of age and with 15 Audible books as well as countless Kindle and physical books to read and listen to, I think life is too short to return to fiction books. I only really relisten to history and autobiography books nowadays. No offence to the author though, its a great listen.


What did you like best about this story?

It was exciting, but also informative about the social and political history of the time. I feel it's an added bonus when you read and learn through fiction books.


Have you listened to any of Barnaby Edwards’s other performances? How does this one compare?

A good narration. There is a huge cast of characters and they all stand out.


Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The book is cover to cover action but there is a particular scene that made me feel emotional. No spoilers though...


Any additional comments?

Matthew Harffy knows his stuff, I'm no historian but the book is littered with Old English terms and this knowledge gives the book an authentic feel. I really enjoyed this book, it had an Empire Strikes Back feel to it, in there is a huge battle at the beginning of the book and then the rest of the tale is more personal and political (but no less exciting.!) Harffy stresses (in the epilogue)that his book sticks quite rigidly to Northumbrian history at the time and obviously there wasn't a convenient battle on hand to to finish with the expected big pay off. But it doesn't matter, because he'd worked on building his characters the ending is especially moving. I'll definitely carry on reading this series.

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- Farniboy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-12-2016
  • Publisher: Audible Studios