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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

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Ramie Targoff
7 Lessons from Heaven: How Dying Taught Me to Live a Joy-Filled Life
Mary C. Neal, M.D.
The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
Richard John Neuhaus
A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Carla Barnhill, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jim Wallis

The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy

The Serpent Sword - Matthew Harffy

I'm typically somewhat tough to impress, but I loved everything about this book. The time period, the battles, the twists and turns...everything.

Beobrand is a complex character who struggles to define himself in a turbulent world. Escaping an abusive father only to learn that his brother has been murdered, Beobrand is tempted by the glory of violence himself. This comes as no surprise as the kings of the land that would one day become England use cutthroat methods to grasp at supremacy. I loved watching Beobrand evolve into an honorable, thoughtful young warrior after fighting ghosts of his past and very real physical enemies.

Harffy has expertly recreated the 7th century in this novel, especially the mingling of pagan and Christian beliefs. Though Beobrand becomes close friends with several people in a Christian community, he remains staunchly loyal to the old gods, trusting even more in his own strength.

Though most of this novel is gritty, gory, and not for the weak of heart, there is a touch of romance for young Beobrand. This part of the story was just enough to show Beobrand soften a little, put someone else ahead of himself, and fully push him into maturity.

If you like Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred, you will love Beobrand. Still not convinced? Matthew Harffy has a recording of the prologue on his blog. (Now I even like this guy's voice!) You will be powerless to not read more.