I’m delighted to be hosting the first stop on the blog tour for The Saxon Wolves by Penny Ingham along with my tour buddies, Karen at Hair Past A Freckle and Zoè at Zooloo’s Book Diary. You can read my review below.
About the Book
Britain 455AD. The Roman Empire has fallen. As the daughter of a king and a priestess of the sacred grove, Anya’s life in Germania is one of wealth and privilege – until she dares to speak out against the high priest’s barbaric human sacrifices. Her punishment is exile.
Forced to leave her homeland, she sails to Britannia, to an island that is sliding into chaos and war, as rival kingdoms vie for power. Alone and far from home, Anya must learn to survive amidst the bloodshed, treachery and intrigue of fifth century Britain.
Can she find a place to belong – a home, a hearth, a welcome?
Format: Paperback, ebook (410 pp.) Publisher: Nerthus Publishing
Published: 27th August 2016 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Saxon Wolves on Goodreads
The dramatic prologue in which a young woman is washed up on a beach, the sole survivor of a shipwreck, is the setting for what will prove to be a pivotal moment in the lives of two of the book’s characters. The author then takes the reader back in time a few months to learn how the young woman arrived at this point. It’s a tale of exile, forced betrothal to a violent tyrant, kidnap, perilous sea voyages and the aforementioned shipwreck.
The book is clearly a result of extensive research. Through detailed descriptions of food, dress, buildings and domestic customs, the author conveys what it might have been like to live in a noble household. Equally, when the action moves to 5th century Britannia, the reader gets a real sense of the anarchy and chaos of post-Roman Britain with tribal warlords vying for control of territory in the most ruthless fashion and the population living in constant fear of invasion or raiders.
Although some of the characters are fictional, others such as Hengist and Horsa (the Saxon wolves of the title) and Vortigern are not. It has to be said that amongst the cast of characters there are a lot of unpleasant individuals who will stop at nothing to achieve power, even at the expense of family members. In contrast, there is Silvanus, son of the king of Dumnonia. Respect for his father, the ailing Etar, and awareness of his responsibilities to keep his people safe when he inherits the throne come into conflict with his personal feelings. In a likeable display of humility for one in his position, Silvanus doesn’t assume he has all the qualities necessary to make a good king.
This is a period when a woman’s role is confined to child-bearing, domestic duties and providing pleasure to men unless, of course, their social status makes them a useful pawn in political alliances. Anya’s position as a priestess and an outsider, earns her suspicion from some but her skills at healing endear her to others. The author introduces a mystical element to the story through an ancient prophecy, Anya’s visions and the suggestion that fate will take a hand in her and Silvanus’s story. The end of the book sees Anya attempting to take control of her future in an effort to find ‘a place to belong beneath the heavens’, paving the way for the next book in the series, The Saxon Plague.
The Saxon Wolves is an exciting story of family rivalry, treachery, betrayal, love and duty set against the backdrop of a turbulent period in Britain’s history, vividly brought to life by the author.
I received a review copy courtesy of the author and Rachel’s Random Resources.
In three words: Dramatic, engaging, well-researched
Try something similar…On the Edge of Sunrise by Cynthia Ripley Miller (read my review here)
About the Author
Penny’s father, a journalist, instilled her with a love of history from an early age. Family holidays invariably included an invigorating walk up an Iron Age hill-fort whilst listening to his stirring stories of the Roman attack and the valiant defence by the Britons. Consequently, Penny has a degree in Classics and a passion for history and archaeology. She has enjoyed a varied career, including BBC production assistant, theatre PR and journalism, but her ambition was always to write historical fiction.
Her first novel, The King’s Daughter, was awarded Editor’s Choice by the Historical Novel Society. Penny has worked on many archaeological excavations, and these ‘digs’ and their evocative finds often provide the inspiration for her books. Penny’s research also takes her to the many spectacular historical sites featured in this novel, including Hadrian’s Wall and Tintagel.
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