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 ReviewsMost Helpful
By Steven A. McKay on 02-02-17
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
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
By Simon on 28-12-17
A Series Developing Substance and Momentum
The second of Matthew Harffy’s excellent Bernicia Chronicles and may there be plenty more to come. Having proved himself as a warrior it might seem as if he’s in for a restful time but with kingdoms at stake and old enemies still lurking Beobrand is put to the test in almost every way imaginable. With his rise through the ranks comes greater riches, power and responsibility. As with the series opener this is another fast moving historical fiction with plenty of action. The Mead Halls are brimming with intrigue and there is a climactic encounter with an old enemy . . . though if Beobrand thinks that is the end of his difficulties in that regard he is sorely mistaken.
The superstitious nature of the times gets a good outing and Beobrand has to deal with some rather noisy neighbours. The church comes more to the fore with the author’s license being used to the full on some real historical characters.
In all it’s a fine continuation of the series and if like me you really liked the first one it seems it’s good news because there is plenty more to come!
5 of 8 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By fun times on 24-02-18
constant self pitty
very poor book. Book one was good book 2 spent way to much time focusing on self pitty and loss. I about quit listening at chapter 27 I think but I suffered through. The narrator does a great job but I wont listen to book 3 because 2 was so poorly written.
By Edward on 01-07-17
Any additional comments?
This was a struggle to read since the main character, Beobrand, becomes unlikable. That is going to be hard to change for the 3rd book. Overall not a bad story, somewhat predicable.. but I have never been fond of characters that have anger issues and fly off into a rage and hurt people without thinking or make situations worse for all those around just because they can't stop and think for 10 seconds... right now, at the end of book 2, I would have no issues if someone took Beobrand out.
1 of 2 people found this review helpful