About the Book
AD 838. Deep in the forests of Wessex, Dunston’s solitary existence is shattered when he stumbles on a mutilated corpse.
Accused of the murder, Dunston must clear his name and keep the dead man’s daughter alive in the face of savage pursuers desperate to prevent a terrible secret from being revealed.
Rushing headlong through Wessex, Dunston will need to use all the skills of survival garnered from a lifetime in the wilderness. And if he has any hope of victory against the implacable enemies on their trail, he must confront his long-buried past – becoming the man he once was and embracing traits he had promised he would never return to. The Wolf of Wessex must hunt again; honour and duty demand it.
Format: ebook Publisher: Aria
Publication date: 14th November 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction
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Dunston and Aedwen, daughter of the murdered man, make a great partnership as they set off on the trail of the ruthless killers and try to uncover the reasons behind the murder. Dunston’s foraging and tracking skills, learned from his father and grandfather, prove extremely useful and Aedwen becomes an eager pupil as the pair retrace the journey made by her peddler father in the days before his death.
As you would expect from the author, there are some terrifically exciting and vividly described action scenes in which Dunston’s fighting prowess, gained from his former membership of the band of warriors known as the Wolves of Wessex, is amply demonstrated. Plus there are some heart-stopping moments as Dunston and Aedwen become the hunted rather than the hunters.
The book is rich in period detail – of food, dress, domestic life, weaponry and so on – which really immerses the reader in the atmosphere of the time and gives a sense of authenticity. During their journey along the roads and through the dense forests of Wessex, Dunston and Aedwen encounter all manner of people – traders, hunters, farmers, charcoal burners, not to mention the feared ‘wolf-heads’.
I really enjoyed getting to know the two main characters. Aedwen, despite her traumatic experience, is brave and resourceful. She spurs on Dunston to join her in the quest for justice and comes to respect and depend upon him. Dunston faces a moral conflict between the oath he gave to his dying wife and what might be necessary to protect Aedwen and bring the murderers to justice – unleashing the wolf inside him once again.
Wolf of Wessex will keep fans of Matthew Harffy’s ‘Bernicia Chronicles’ series (such as Storm of Steel which I read and reviewed recently) satisfied until such time as they can get their hands on the next instalment. Equally, Wolf of Wessex with its mixture of action and mystery would make a brilliant introduction for readers new to the author’s writing. And perhaps, just perhaps, this isn’t the last we’ll hear of Dunston and Aedwen.
I received an advance review copy courtesy of Aria via NetGalley.
In three words: Action-packed, exciting, mystery
Try something similar: Vindolanda by Adrian Goldsworthy (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.