I’ve been aware of Matthew Harffy’s ‘The Bernicia Chronicles’ series for some time now. I took part in the blog tours for previous books in the series – hosting Q&As with Matthew about Warrior of Woden and Killer of Kings – but until now I’d never actually got around to reading one of the books. So I was delighted to be invited by Vicky at Aria to join the blog tour for the latest book in the series, Storm of Steel. And to make it extra special, it’s publication day today! You can read my review below.
About the Book
AD 643, Anglo-Saxon Britain. Heading south to lands he once considered his home, Beobrand is plunged into a dark world of piracy and slavery when an old friend enlists his help to recover a kidnapped girl. Embarking onto the wind-tossed seas, Beobrand pursues his quarry with single-minded tenacity.
But the Whale Road is never calm and his journey is beset with storms, betrayal and violence.
As the winds of his wyrd blow him ever further from what he knows, will Beobrand find victory on his quest or has his luck finally abandoned him?
Format: Paperback, ebook (610 pp.) Publisher: Aria
Published: 9th May 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find Storm of Steel on Goodreads
As Storm of Steel is the sixth book to feature Northumbrian thegn, Beobrand, I was a bit worried that I’d be at a disadvantage having not read earlier books in the series. I’ll admit I struggled a little initially getting to grips with who was who in Beobrand’s war band. There are also passing references to significant events in earlier books. However I certainly didn’t struggle to get drawn into the story as Storm of Steel opens with a wonderfully exciting and thrillingly described scene in which Beobrand and his comrades are ambushed by pirates during a raging storm. And it’s not long before Beobrand learns something that is news to him and, I’m guessing, will be to readers of previous books in the series too.
It sets Beobrand and his comrades on a course that will involve stormy seas, intrigue, dangerous enemies at every turn and bring them up against powerful individuals in foreign lands before a final dramatic reckoning. Throughout Beobrand is conscious of those he’s left behind and the danger they may also face.
As I discovered more about his past exploits, I quickly understood why Beobrand is so feared as a warrior and inspires such loyalty from his men. I also learned something of the tragedies in his life that have shaped him. He makes a great hero, despite being battle-scarred and ruthless when necessity dictates. I may be out of my mind (or should I say ‘thought-cage’) but I was tempted to wonder if it wouldn’t be worth being kidnapped by pirates if only to have the possibility of being rescued by Beobrand!
I’m now determined to read the series from the beginning and, if Storm of Steel is anything to go by, I’m in for a real treat. It’s action-packed, dramatic and realistic: historical fiction at its best, in fact.
I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Aria, and NetGalley.
In three words: Action-packed, atmospheric, gripping
Try something similar…The New Achilles by Christian Cameron (read my review here)
About the Author
Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.
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