Today is my turn on the blog tour for A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy!
Follow the tour –
Here is the blurb –
Genre – Historical Fiction
There had been portents – famine, whirlwinds, lightning from clear skies, serpents seen flying through the air. But when the raiders came, no one was prepared.
They came from the North, their dragon-prowed longships gliding out of the dawn mist as they descended on the kingdom’s most sacred site.
It is 8th June AD793, and with the pillage of the monastery on Lindisfarne, the Viking Age has begun.
While his fellow monks flee before the Norse onslaught, one young novice stands his ground. He has been taught to turn the other cheek, but faced with the slaughter of his brothers and the pagan desecration of his church, forgiveness is impossible.
Hunlaf soon learns that there is a time for faith and prayer . . . and there is a time for swords.
Now we all know Matthew Harffy is a master wordsmith. The Bernicia Chronicles has to be one of my favourite sagas and The Wolf of Wessex packs a punch, so of course I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a copy of his latest work… A Time for Swords.
Word of warning, I don’t like spoilers but I can’t help but give little tit bits away on this one. Otherwise, I can’t do the review justice. Do not worry, I’ll be sure to keep it to a minimum 😊
This is a fresh tale for the author who moves away from his well-established characters to bring us the tale of Hunlaf, a monk, forced to stand tall when the Norse attack!
Oh, you miss Beobrand and his Black Shields just as much as me? Don’t worry.. the author adds some really nice touches to the tale.. it might not be Beobrand’s tale but his legend lives on! It’s this gentle nod the author gives to his tales that really make you appreciate the effort he makes.. he’s writing these tales for you.. he knows exactly what you want to hear.
Hunlaf, where to start. God I loved his character. He loves nothing more than a good book (who doesn’t? 😊 ) and lives a life under the protection of God. Along with his mentor Leofstan he visits Lindisfarne after a exciting discovery is made… only to have his life turned on end.
The Norse attack.. and it’s brutal.. savage.. gut wrenching. This might be a work of fiction but it’s based on real facts..The Norse really did attack, rape, pillage and murder and while we can never really know how it would have felt at the time to see it through Hunlaf’s eyes was hard to swallow.
This battle is a turning point in Hunlaf’s life as he makes a stand in order to save his cousin..he’s not a warrior though.. or does he hold that fire within him to run towards danger rather than away from it?
An unlikely ally emerges from the smoke and fire.. a heathen devil called Runolf. Hunlaf is torn..does he truly believe this man was brought to him by God to help..or does he just not want to see other people die needlessly.
Either way the Norse will return, of that is there is no doubt… they know the riches the monks have. Can Runolf and Hunlaf really stand up against an onslaught?
Help isn’t easy to come by. No one knows when the Norse will return. There’s just not enough fighting men to go around.. It’s all on Hunlaf and a small band of men to turn the tide.
This little band of men really bloody excited me, each have their own talent and purpose for being and they are here to defend those who cannot defend themselves.
Hereward, a man I loathed at first.. his role is to lead and on his head be it if Runlof should disgrace his lord.
Drosten, a man of few words.. he prefers to let his fists do the talking.
Gwawrddur, whose skill with a blade cannot be matched.
Cormac, the cocky one with skill but who also needs to keep his temper in check.
When the battle comes it’s intense and there’s a beauty of a twist thrown in. It’s a twist I hoped for if I’m honest..Let’s see if you can spot which twist I’m referring to 😊
Now the ending! Come on! It’s killing me already.. I need more ha. What the author manages quite brilliantly to do is to leave a cliff-hanger so perfect..it’s designed so well for the author he can either write a sequel or leave it as a standalone… Although I do hope this isn’t the end.
Truthfully, I’ve read everything Matthew Harffy has published. I’ve been a fan from day one. A Time for Swords is the best yet from him and quite easily a top read of 2020! Harffy never fails to deliver, every offering is new and refreshing but you instantly feel at home with his writing and warm to the characters.
To find out more head to Goodreads or Amazon!
My thanks as ever go to the author, the publisher and also NetGalley for the chance of an advance copy of the book. As always I’ve purchased my own copy on the day of release.. there’s no free rides with me. I’ve even pre-ordered the hardback version for the collection 😊
About the author
Matthew Harffy 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.
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