Release Date: 25/04/12
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
A haunting premonition ...A deadly betrayal. Frankia 780AD: Sigwulf, a minor Saxon prince, is saved from execution after his family is slaughtered by the ruthless King Offa of Mercia. Sigwulf is exiled to the Frankish court of King Carolus, the future Charlemagne. He gains the friendship of some -- Count Hroudland, Carolus's powerful and ambitious nephew but -- mysteriously -- several attempts are made on Sigwulf's life. When he obtains a Book of Dreams, a rare text giving understanding to their meaning, he attracts the attention of Carolus himself. But the Book proves to be a slippery guide in a world of treachery and double dealing. Sent into Spain to spy on the Saracens, Sigwulf becomes caught between loyalties; either he honours his debt to new friends among the Saracens, or he serves his patron Count Hroudland in his quest for glory, gold and even the Grail itself ...
OK, years ago I read a wonderful series all about the Vikings by Tim and whilst I didn’t own the first part in hardback, when I had the opportunity to I quickly fixed that problem as its been a series I’ve read quite a few times since due to my love of the characters and the writing skill that generated a wonderful story.
So when I heard that Tim was tackling a series set around the Saxons, well I couldn’t wait to see what would unfurl. As with the Viking series, Tim’s writing brings a lost world wonderfully to life, its descriptive, has some wonderfully descriptive sequences and when added to great combat really makes this a book to sit back with and enjoy. However, whilst this alone is usually enough to sell a book, Tim takes it one stage further by giving the reader a lead character that they can like to spend time with. Whilst Sigwulf is definitely his own man, its his foibles and the authors imaginative sequences that bring it to the fore, It’s a great start and to be honest I am just pleased that I had the second book ready to roll as soon as I finished this one. Great stuff.
Release Date: 01/08/13
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Sigwulf, a Saxon prince exiled to the court of Carolus, King of the Franks, is summoned by the royal advisor Alcuin of York. Carolus has received magnificent gifts from the Caliph of Baghdad and is determined to send back presents that will be equally sensational. White is the royal colour of Baghdad so the most important gifts will be rare white animals from the Northlands. Sigwulf, having proved himself as a royal agent to Moorish Spain, has been selected to obtain the creatures, then take them to Baghdad. He must find white gyrfalcons and two white polar bears and – as Carolus has seen its picture in a book of beasts – a unicorn. He and his companions travel far into the north. Though they obtain some of the animals, they quickly realize that not all are even real. Setting out for Baghdad with their menagerie, they encounter danger after danger and it seems that someone is trying to wreck their mission . . . with each stage of the long journey bringing a new and unexpected peril . . .
The second book in Tim’s wonderful Saxon series which picks up where the original left off giving the reader a story of scale, travel and imagination which really brings the time to the reader in such a way that you’re actually there. It is wonderful getting to explore the world of the past from the characters point of view and when you add a full flavour of the time into the piece alongside the dangers faced all round generates something special.
Back that up with Tim’s unique style that brings the characters to the fore, a wonderful supporting cast alongside some great dialogue all round gives you something to sit back and savour. Magic.