Oswald is the second book in the series The Northumbrian Thrones. After the death of Edwin, who slew his father, the young prince Oswald seeks to regain the throne.
Oswald is a tremendously good read!
Having read and enjoyed Edoardo Albert’s book Edwin: High King of Britain I am delighted to say that, Oswald: Return of the King (Book 2 in The Northumbrian Thrones series) is just as good. These beautifully written stories bring to life a period of history of which I knew nothing in a most convincing manner. I feel enriched by reading these books and am left wanting to know more of the time and the area.
As Oswald is the second in the series it is probably best to read Edwin first but it is not essential as there is an excellent explanation of ‘events so far’. I also really appreciate the dramatis personae, glossary and author’s notes all of which go to make this a most satisfying book.
This is not dry or worthy history but the story of people’s lives, loves and families, feuds, battles and power struggles, based in fact and full of atmosphere. I love this style of writing – the minimum description necessary to convey a convincing world. Life then is simple in many ways compared to ours and yet so complicated when it comes to land, gods and gold – much as now I suppose… As with Edwin I got the feeling that if a time machine took me back there I would recognise my surroundings and have a good idea of how to behave, eat dress, talk. I can see it all clearly in my head but without having had long detailed descriptions to plough through.
I have read many books over the years and become an increasingly fussy reader. I rarely find books now that completely draw me in as Edwin and Oswald have. I don’t like emotional manipulation or contrived tension in books and Oswald had neither, but there was one section in particular that left me almost breathless with excitement and unable to stop reading until I knew the outcome. How extraordinary that it is possible to care about the people and outcome of distant historical events!
As a Christian I was interested to read about the early days of Christianity in these Isles which is so subtly written as an integral part of the history and lives that I can happily recommend Oswald to our devoutly atheist son. He won’t feel preached at in any way and it might help him to understand the appeal of Christianity and the impact that it had and has on some people’s lives without trying to convert him.
Spoiler Alert! It is tempting to go online for pictures and more info about people and places but I recommend waiting until the end of the book. I looked up someone only to find how and when they died before I got to that part of the story and wished I hadn’t!
I am pleased to see that there will be a third book Oswiu, in The Northumbrian Thrones series, and although I’d really like to read it now, I hope the publisher isn’t tempted to rush it out before the author has time to write it to his satisfaction. As a writer’s wife I know that a good book needs time to write and redraft in order to get to the best it can be. I am happy to wait until Oswiu is as excellent as Edwin and Oswald.