Sunday 2 August 2015

THE SERPENT SWORD - Historical Novel Society Editor's Choice!

This writing lark is quite weird. I never know what each day will bring. Will I find the time to sit and write? Will the muse whisper to me, or remain stubbornly silent? Will I get a new review? Will it be a good one, or a stinker?

So, it was with a little trepidation that I opened the email from the Historical Novel Society (HNS). The email title was merely "The Serpent Sword", but there was no other indication of the contents.

But I needn't have worried. This was the kind of email you don't often get, but you secretly hope for. The HNS has reviewed my novel, which is pretty good in itself, as not all novels make it past the initial stage of the review process. Not only that, but they have named it Editor's Choice, which also means it is automatically long-listed for the HNS Indie Award 2016!

This is cause for celebration indeed! Every positive review means a huge amount to me and I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to leave a few words and a rating on Amazon/Goodreads (I could do without the negative ones, but hey, I guess I learn from them too!). But to receive such high praise from a prestigious organisation that specializes in historical fiction is really amazing.

Here is what the HNS said about THE SERPENT SWORD:

Beobrand is a young man who travels from his home in Kent to join his older brother, Octa, in far off Bernicia. On arrival, he learns that his brother is dead, an apparent suicide, although he is told that it may have been murder. Beobrand is determined to find and kill his brother’s murderer. Whilst staying at a monastery, a small band of lord-less warriors threaten the sanctuary of the place but Beobrand stands up to them though, recognising a youth he had met at Bebbanburg  (Bamburgh), he decides to join them. This proves to be a bad choice as the men are violent killers with their leader, Hengist, the worst of them all. However, the experience does lead him to discover the identity of his brother’s murderer. Leaving them, Beobrand joins the army of King Eanfrith and faces the army of Cadwallon in the shield wall.

Matthew Harffy’s tale of England in the Dark Ages is nothing less than superb. The characters are lively and believable, true to their times and Beobrand is a likeable hero whose progress from farm boy to seasoned soldier is well traced. The tale is fast paced and violence lurks on every page, whether it be murder or war.

The cover is glossy, professional and eye-catching and leaves the casual browser with no illusions as to the content. The Serpent Sword is the first of a projected series and, having been fortunate enough to have read it, I look forward to its sequels. Highly recommended and a five star read from this reviewer.

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