Dr. Gwyneth Franger is a renowned expert in early medieval England who is set upon learning the truth about the death of Lord Erik, the last descendant of the powerful House of Wareham. Her quest becomes an obsession, a condition that began with the discovery of a portrait of the tall and valiant warrior with which she forms an extraordinary and inexplicable bond.
Digesting troves of mildewed scrolls and source documentation only enhances her belief that Lord Erik was brutally assassinated by a cabal of traitors in the pay of William the Bastard, shortly before the onslaught of the Norman Invasion.
On an archeological dig in Southern England, her team unearths an Anglo-Saxon fortress, a vast citadel built during the reign of Alfred the Great, which she believes was Lord Erik’s stronghold. In the midst of her excitement, she is awakened one night from her slumbers by a disconcerting anomaly emerging from the site.
Dr. Franger finds herself transported back to the Dark Ages and at the side of the noble Lord Erik who commands an army of elite Saxon warriors, a swift and mobile force able to deploy quickly throughout the kingdom to ward off invaders.
Witnessing the unrest firsthand, Gwyneth senses that her instincts had been right all along, and she is determined to learn the identities of the treacherous blackguards hiding in the shadows, villains who may well be posing as Lord Erik’s friends and counselors.
Will Gwyneth stop the assassins? Is she strong enough to walk away and watch her beloved Erik die? Or will she intervene, change the course of history and wipe out an entire timeline to save the man she loves with all her heart?
Gwyneth is a fabulous protagonist. She is a single-minded and strong woman, who I could not help but admire. Bernal has obviously spent a lot of time imagining how a very modern woman would react to a medieval way of life. Gwyneth reacts, as one would expect. I thought Gwyneth was wonderfully portrayed and I enjoyed reading about her.
This story is set firmly in historical fantasy, but Bernal has decided to follow the timeline of this era to give her readers a magnificent backdrop in which to place her characters. This worked incredibly well, especially when tied in with the time-travel theme. Gwyneth was not hampered by a lack of understanding with the Anglo-Saxon tongue, and the narrative was perfect for a modern reader who may find many of the historical details and customs of this era somewhat foreign.
Bernal is very good at crafting tension, and this book is full of it. Like Gwyneth, I wanted to know who was behind the plot to murder Lord Erik. The enemy always seemed to be one step ahead of them, which I think made this story compelling and it certainly kept me turning those pages. Running alongside this is the beautiful romance between Gwyneth and Erik.
This is book five in the series. I have not read the other four books, but this did not hinder my enjoyment one bit. The Briton and the Dane: Timeline stands firmly on its own feet.
The ending was fabulous and as wildly romantic as the rest of the story.
If you are looking for a romantic historical fantasy, where anything is
possible, then this is the book for you.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.