If you are looking for a book that is part of a trilogy, but you want it to also be a stand alone, that is historical fiction? Absolutely you need to add this to your growing to-read list.
The Price of Blood - Patricia Bracewell
Menaced by Vikings and enemies at court, Queen Emma defends her children and her crown in a riveting medieval adventure
Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.
As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.
Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.
When it says it rivals the work of R.R. Martin and his Game of Thrones series, they are not joking. I actually read the first book, Shadow of the Crown, awhile ago and I really wish I had more time so I could have re-read that and then get into this because I forgot how absorbing Patricia Bracewell is with her writing. But don't let that scare you, these are absolute stand alone reads that have the ability to be amazing if you are reading them back to back. I really can't wait for book three in this trilogy because wow- talk about an intricate story line that literally keeps you hanging until the very last page.
The book takes place in the eleventh century England and everything is essentially in shambles. We bounce between four view points throughout the book and it's clear nobody trusts anyone and second guesses the motives of even family because as we know- power is king. Everyone wants all encompassing power so you're forced to second guess even your most trusted advisers at every turn. But King Aethelred is a bit of a jerk and he's known to be power hungry himself but he's also cruel and inhumane. His wife, Queen Emma, doesn't love him for a second, but she has produced a rightful heir with the birth of their son. She sees the King's tactics for what they are and her love of the people, and the safety of her son, leaves her no choice but to form alliances with people who are equally as dangerous. She's playing a really risk game of chess basically.
What is really interesting is that this is all based on a true story, so it's evident so much time and effort has gone into the research for this book and it's predecessor. While normally I get annoyed and turned off by rich descriptions and over use of adjectives, it's absolutely pertinent in this book because you are left with a brilliant description of what is going on and what is around the characters that you actually feel like you're reading the subtitles of a hit show as the scenes are played out on the screen.
I highly recommend this book if you are at all a fan for historical fiction or if you are interested in this time period. Absolutely fascinating and stunningly written.
A very cool thing happening Viking and the author have created an online book club kit that will bring 11th century England to life at your book club. And, for you history nerds out there, the author is tweeting out really random, but very interesting, #AngloSaxonFact that she learned while researching for this book. Head over to Twitter and follow her to see these. You could be the hit of the office with your random knowledge. The book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.