Today I’m going to be reviewing Fortress of Fury by Matthew Harffy, Book 7 in The Bernicia Chronicles series.
Yeh, I’m a little late this time as I’m usually one of the first to get reviews up for this series but it’s 2020 afterall… better late than never eh!
Here is the blurb –
Genre – Historical Fiction
Beobrand is besieged in the action-packed instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles set in AD 647 Anglo-Saxon Britain.
War hangs heavy in the hot summer air as Penda of Mercia and his allies march into the north. Caught unawares, the Bernician forces are besieged within the great fortress of Bebbanburg.
It falls to Beobrand to mount the defence of the stronghold, but even while the battle rages, old and powerful enemies have mobilised against him, seeking vengeance for past events.
As the Mercian forces tighten their grip and unknown killers close in, Beobrand finds himself in a struggle with conflicting oaths and the dreadful pull of a forbidden love that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.
With the future of Northumbria in jeopardy, will Beobrand be able to withstand the powers that beset him and find a path to victory against all the odds?
Fortress of Fury is book 7 In The Bernicia Chronicles series. I’m always excited for the next instalment but also worried.. Will it live up to it’s predecessors, will it start to get repetitive or even will this be the last we see of Beobrand….
I need not have worried!
A Mercian warhost has been spotted and as Beorand races to Bebbanburg he knows war is not far off, but will the King be there? How will they defend themselves and push Mercian forces back?
This is a gruelling action packed tale that leaves you on edge, woven beautifully with detailed depictions. I can’t really give away too much but in one scene I felt my own heart racing along with Beo and his revered Black Shields as they charge head on into the enemy.
Cynan, one of Beobrand’s most loyal is sent to spur on the fighting forces they need. Along the way his character grows significantly. I really enjoyed seeing his development, it was probably one of the best things about the book. I’d love to see Cynan get his own series one day.. that’s if he can make it out of this alive!
King Oswiu and Beobrand share no love for each other but Beo is his sworn man… his word is iron.. but even Beobrand has his limits and in this tale he’s pushed over the edge… will he defy the King?
Oswiu seems to like to play games and wants to assert his authority but this leads him to disagreements with those he should call allies. It’s a dangerous game to play.
There’s a lot going on in this tale such as war, love and treachery. With so much plot you’d think you might struggle to take it all in but the pace of the tale and it’s flow is spot on, it was almost effortless to digest.
What Harffy does perfectly is balance the focus of war against Penda with Beobrand’s own tale, his development.. and the trouble he’s about it get himself into! He never has luck with the ladies but he’s definitely picked the wrong woman this time!
Beobrand is a delight, his character has grown over the years with experience. He’s got a short fuse but at times can see the benefit in holding his tongue. God help if you get on the wrong side of him though!
One trait of Beobrands I very much enjoy is that he reflects a lot on past events. Even after so many years he still yearns for his lost friend Acennan.. he keeps the memory of those lost along his journey with him at all times and as a reader this had my mind wandering back..vividly remembering scenes when we first meet Coenred the monk for example. I feel this chance to reflect adds something extra to the tale and proves how good of a storyteller Harffy is that his work stays with you.
The final couple of chapters are pure brilliance as Beobrand makes a drastic decision..the consequences to be felt in book 8!
One hell of an instalment, One hell of an epic series!
Side note! I’m on the blog tour tomorrow for Matthew Harffy’s new book – A Time for Swords! Keep your eyes peeled!!