Oswald by Edoardo Albert

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Oswald by Edoardo Albert

Oswald by Edoardo Albert

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.

My review of Edwin

Edoardo, Edwin and Oswald

Edoardo Albert’s Website

Goodreads Reviews

Visit Northumberland

Lion Press

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Northumbria

Buy from Amazon, Wordery, LoveReading

Edwin by Edoardo Albert

 Buy the books

Edwin by Edoardo Albert.

EdwinEdwin is the first book in the series The Northumbrian Thrones.

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.

My review of Oswald

Edoardo, Edwin and Oswald

Edoardo Albert’s Website

Goodreads Reviews

Lion Hudson PLC

Anglo-Saxon and Viking Northumbria

Buy from Amazon, Wordery, LoveReading

Thoughts on a Challenging Read…

Those of you who have read Andrew Norriss’ books will know that they are enjoyed by any age. There is no swearing or violence, nothing gritty or urban. Here are his thoughts on challenging reads and how Jessica’s Ghost is a little different to his previous books. With our thanks to Kirsty.

Thoughts on a Challenging Read ….
You know how, when you pick up a book and read the blurb on the back, there are certain words which act as flashing red lights warning you that this one’s not for you? more

Jessica’s Ghost – a book review for #worldbookday

Cubik's Rube

There’s a new book released today – on World Book Day, no less! – called Jessica’s Ghost, by Andrew Norriss. It’s a book which you should buy for any young people you know, but also read it first yourself before you give it to them, so that you get to read it before they do. It’s the Book of the Week over at Books for Keeps, and hey, I’ve just decided it’s Book of the Week right here at Cubik’s Rube as well. That’s two major plaudits in one paragraph! The buzz around this thing is electrifying.

It’s the latest book from a successful and long-standing children’s author with an impressively hefty back catalogue, who’s won various awards for his writing over the years, but more importantly is also really good at it.

(Any resemblance between his surname and my own is purely non-coincidental.)

So, here’s the…

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Children’s Book Giveaway!

Win a signed copy!

Win a signed copy!

To celebrate the publication of Jessica’s Ghost by Andrew Norriss I am giving away signed copies of Andrew Norriss’s books. To win a signed copy of Ctrl-Z all you have to do is follow @thewriterswife on Twitter or fill in the contact form below. Winners will be announced on Saturday 7th February.

Spread the word as far as you like as the more people who enter, the more copies I shall giveaway!

To find out more or to read an extract from Ctrl-Z click here.

Andrew Norriss–The Unluckiest Boy in the World (2006) [audio book]

I Just Read About That...

[LISTENED TO: August 2014] The Unluckiest Boy in the World

unlkcyMy kids enjoy just about any audio book, but I try to find ones that seem funny (and age appropriate for both of them).  For reasons I’m unclear about, it seems like most of the audio books that are age appropriate are British or Australian–either they release more audio books, or that’s just what my library orders.  So we wind up listening to a lot of British readers (I think my kids can tell a British accent now).

I didn’t know anything about this book (or its author) but the title sounded great and the age was appropriate.  We listened to it on our trip to Michigan, and it was a perfect length to fit near the end of our arrival.  Boy did we like this book.  There are so many funny unexpected moments.  And the story has…

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Children’s Authors love to get together


Authors by their nature of work do not often see each other so when they do they have a lot to talk about. They talk about their latest books, unless like #thewriter they say nothing about them until they appear in print; they talk about their agents; they talk about their publishers; they talk about school visits; They have all  have so much to say about school visits that I’m thinking of collecting all the anecdotes and publishing them myself!

Yesterday evening after having  spent the day inspiring children and teachers about books and reading, and in turn being inspired by amazing librarians, two children’s authors met up to compare notes, whilst I sat and listened. Andrew Norriss and HL Dennis love the chance to catch up and share words of encouragement and support for each other.


Andrew Norriss & HL Dennis comp

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