Monday, August 8, 2011
Review: The Briton And The Dane
Book: The Briton and the Dane by Mary Ann Bernal
Published by Mary Ann Bernal in association with The Literary Underground; 2011
312 pages; excluding glossary, character lists and maps.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Adult Fiction
Synopsis via Goodreads: After the last of Rome's legions left Britannia to the mercy of the invading barbarian hordes and before the age of chivalry, when knighthood was in flower and troubadours sang of courtly love, there lived a King whose love for his people and the land left a legacy coveted by his descendants who sought to wear his crown. Travel back in time to the late Ninth Century, to the tumultuous days in the reign of Alfred the Great who successfully defeated the Danish Viking King Guthrum and kept his precious Wessex free from Viking rule. Journey to the Burh of Wareham where Lord Richard oversees the training of Alfred's army; where his children, Stephen, David and Gwyneth, swear fealty to their King and support Alfred's vision to build a nation to rival the glory that once was Rome in a land ravaged by war and conquest.
When Mary Ann emailed me about this book I was interested obviously because it was historical fiction, but also because she made mention of her love for novels like Ivanhoe. I love sweeping epics with tons of characters and story arcs, and that is what Briton and the Dane offers.
There are so many characters and story lines to draw readers in right from the beginning. I wish I could go into a lot of detail and gush about my favorite characters, but the list in lengthy and it would give away so many things. I can say that I loved the characters of David and Gwyn immediately. Their stories I loved; couldn’t get enough scenes with them. While each character has their own unique story, they’re interspersed and somehow connected with all the others, which I really liked.
I don’t want to say that the book overall seems condensed, but you do get a lot of information in what seems like a short amount of time. I wasn’t left wanting, other than the obvious cliffhangers. The chapters are rather short, which I liked. The pacing is great. It’s slow enough that none of the story seems rushed and fast enough that nothing seems drawn out or overdone.
I think that this novel will have wide appeal, not just to those who like historical fiction. I didn’t know much about Viking history when I started this novel, but it had definitely prompted me to get into it a bit more.
I am looking forward to reading the next installment.
Posted by Jenn at 12:00 AM