Edwin by Edoardo Albert.
The book Edwin by Edoardo Albert was a gift in more ways than one. I do not usually read historical fiction, but having been given this book I had to give it a go and I loved it. It has opened my eyes to what good historical fiction can be like. From the first page the world of the 600s AD comes alive with the lightest descriptions of the sights, sounds and smells. Scenes, characters and conversations are all completely believable. I felt that if I shut my eyes I might open them to find myself back in time – perhaps Edoardo Albert had a previous incarnation in early Northumbria!
Having found myself in the past, I was captivated by the wonderfully adept storytelling of the events of Edwin’s life. Such a ripping yarn! I was completely caught up in the lives and families, friends and foes, conspiracies and battles. The very idea that 30 men was a large army I found extraordinary. There was no avoiding the pretty savage nature of the times and the unpleasant things that happened on occasion but neither was there any glorifying or excessive description. The well balanced writing combining plot, language, description and emotion brought the events to life so well for me that I have to admit to a tear near the end for this High King who lived in such a different time and place from me. I also found it most interesting to read about the spread of Christianity in these islands at that early time.
I was glad to find a dramatis personae, map and glossary at the front, and having looked up the occasional character and event to look at illustrations on line, I was completely reassured at the historical accuracy and I am in awe at the reading and research that Edoardo Albert must have done to be able to produce such a fine story of Edwin’s life and times.
I am not a writer (although a writer’s wife) and feel slightly embarrassed that I should even try to put into words my feelings about this book except to say that I enjoyed it hugely, am about to start Oswald, Book Two of The Northumbrian Thrones, and look forward to more in this wonderful series in the future.