The Serpent Sword (Bernicia Chronicles Book 1) by Matthew Harffy – Review


Title –  The Serpent Sword (Bernicia Chronicles Book 1)
Author – Matthew Harffy
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length –  347 Pages (Kindle)
Publication – 7th April 2015
My Rating –  5/5 Stars



Certain that his brother’s death is murder, young farmhand Beobrand embarks on a quest for revenge in war-torn Northumbria. When he witnesses barbaric acts at the hands of warriors he considers his friends, Beobrand questions his chosen path and vows to bring the men to justice.

Relentless in pursuit of his enemies, Beobrand faces challenges that change him irrevocably. Just as a great sword is forged by beating together rods of iron, so his adversities transform him from a farm boy to a man who stands strong in the clamour and gore of the shieldwall.

As he closes in on his kin’s slayer and the bodies begin to pile up, can Beobrand mete out the vengeance he craves without sacrificing his own honour … or even his soul?

The Serpent Sword is the first novel of the Bernicia Chronicles.


This is the debut novel from Matthew Harffy  and it’s a truly epic one at that. A word to describe this tale would be BRUTAL!

You’re immediately hooked from the prologue where we learn about the death of Octa. We soon learn the main character of the book Beobrand is Octa’s brother.

Having no family left in the world Beobrand swears allegiance to King Edwin to fight in his sheildwall against his enemies. He also learns there might have been more to his brother’s death that he first thought and this sets our hero out on a mission of vengeance.

I won’t give away too much detail but this book is brutal, we read about rape and murder along with a shed load of violence.

Matthew gives great depth to his main character, who we see struggle with his own emotions as he tries to discover what type of person he is. Is he an honourable man?? Read the book.. and find out 🙂

This is honestly the first book I’ve read where I’ve not only not wanted to put it down but at the same time felt like throwing my kindle in the freezer as I couldn’t believe what happened and I didn’t want to read what I thought/knew was going to happen next.

The other day I must have looked like a crazy person  on the bus when I was reading this book and suddenly shouted “No No No”.

Matthew managed to write some brilliant characters. You felt for them. When certain events played out I just couldn’t help hate the writer for what he’s done.. In a good way though ha.

Apart from Beobrand there are a host of characters that stood out to me, namely Dreng, Hengist, Leofwine and mostly Scand.

Who buys paperbacks these days with a kindle being able to store so many titles? I know i don’t especially since space is limited having twin girls around the house but I will definitely be purchasing this for the collection. It’s without a doubt one of the best debut novels I’ve read.

Usually I never read books more than once either but I think this will be the first.. I enjoyed it that much I already want to read it again.

I couldn’t even tell you if there are any errors in this book, I was too engrossed in the story..and that’s how a book should be.

To read more about this book head to Goodreads, or

7 thoughts on “The Serpent Sword (Bernicia Chronicles Book 1) by Matthew Harffy – Review

  1. Pingback: 10 Questions with… Matthew Harffy | David's Book Blurg

  2. Pingback: The Cross and the Curse (Bernicia Chronicles Book 2) by Matthew Harffy – Review | David's Book Blurg

  3. Pingback: Blood and Blade by Matthew Harffy – The Blog Tour | David's Book Blurg

  4. Pingback: The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy, Narrated by Barnaby Edwards – Audiobook Review | David's Book Blurg

  5. Pingback: Looking for a good book this weekend? | David's Book Blurg

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s