Title: For Lord and Land (The Bernicia Chronicles #8)
Author: Matthew Harffy
Publisher: Head of Zeus (Aries)
Genre: Historical fiction
Book format: Hardback
Description: Greed and ambition threaten to tear the north apart.
War rages between the two kingdoms of Northumbria. Kin is pitted against kin and friend becomes foe as ambitious kings vie for supremacy.
When Beobrand travels south into East Angeln to rescue a friend, he unwittingly tilts the balance of power in the north, setting in motion events that will lead to a climactic confrontation between Oswiu of Bernicia and Oswine of Deira.
While the lord of Ubbanford is entangled in the clash of kings, his most trusted warrior, Cynan, finds himself on his own quest, called to the aid of someone he thought never to see again. Riding into the mountainous region of Rheged, Cynan faces implacable enemies who would do anything to further their own ends.Forced to confront their pasts, and with death and betrayal at every turn, both Beobrand and Cynan have their loyalties tested to breaking point.
Who will survive the battle for a united Northumbria, and who will pay the ultimate price for lord and land?
*Free copy provided by publisher for review…
Review: Oh wow, this book is so amazing, I can’t believe how much I’ve enjoyed reading this! ‘For Lord and Land’ is the eighth book in the Bernicia Chronicles and has really surprised me in how much it has sucked me in and kept me turning the pages. The book begins with a prologue focusing on a character called Leofman and what happens when dangerous men enter his land and kidnap his son. After that the story focuses mostly on two alternating stories, Beobrand’s and Cynan’s, though we hear more about the Leofman story later. Although I was familiar with the author’s writing I had never read any of the Bernicia Chronicles series before picking up this book, so I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy it so much without knowing what had happened in the previous books, but I shouldn’t have worried as the author has done an excellent job of explaining the key past events through character thoughts, flashbacks and conversations.
I will admit it did take me about two or three chapters, including the prologue, to really get into this story, to get to know and understand who all of the characters were, but after that I was so invested in the tale and all of the characters and their adventures that I just couldn’t put this book down! I loved what happened in this book and how interesting the alternating stories were. Some chapters focus on Beobrand and the continuing war that is going on in Northumbria. A few chapters focus on a character called Cuthbert who is a young and new member of Beobrand’s group. I really enjoyed what happened with Cuthbert especially, and how his story develops as the book moves on. The other story that occurs in alternate chapters to Beobrand’s focus on Cynan and him meeting someone from his past. What soon follows is an interesting and exciting adventure and I couldn’t help but just love Cynan’s character and his situation at Stagga as well as during the story overall.
The atmosphere and scenes of battle really make you feel like you are in the past and are painted so well by the author. The descriptions are at times, a bit gruesome, but I could really imagine every scene so vividly and feel like I was there experiencing all the sights, sounds, and often, disgusting smells too! A lot happens in the story and I love how unpredicatable the whole book was. Apart from an inkling as to what would happen with Cutherbert in the future after a certain chapter, I didn’t know what would happen at all and I love how this book surprised me and kept me turning the pages, just wanting to read one more page (and then another) to see what would happen! The battle scenes are all exciting but I was especially thrilled and shocked with what happened towards the end of the book, that final battle. The story has a satisfying ending and I like how things are resolved for the characters. There are author’s notes at the back of the book which tell you how much of the story was based on the true history and how much is fiction. I just love how many of the things that happened are based on real historical events and how even young Cuthbert was based on a real character!
The last chapter hints at a potential future book in the series which I very much hope will be written as I’m so invested in the characters now and want to see what happens to Beobrand and the others. The book has just a few uses of the f and s swear words, hardly any, and quite a few gruesome descriptions of death and battles which might be a bit much for sensitive readers but does reflect what it was probably like in those times.
This really has been an amazing read and for me, reading this book as a standalone novel has made me want to pick up the rest of the series to find out what happened in the past and how the characters got to the situation they are in. I was already aware of Matthew Harffy’s writing when I read ‘A Time for Swords’ last year but now I think I’ve become a firm fan and can’t wait to read more of his work. This is a book I would recommend to any historical fan, whether you’ve read the rest of the series or not, it’s a brilliant book and definitely worth checking out!
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About the Author
Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.
I hope you enjoyed my (belated) stop on the tour for this amazing book! Please do check it out if you enjoy historical novels it’s just brilliant and I can’t stop going on about it! 😀 And don’t forget to check out the other stops on the tour from last week too.
What do you think of this book? Do you like historical fiction? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂