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The Edge of Light (Onyx) Mass Market Paperback – January 7, 1992

12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the outset of this powerfully wrought historical romance set in ninth-century Britain, Wolf lists her Anglo-Saxon characters, at least half of whose names begin with "Ethel." It's an aid readers will often turn to as the action-packed plot develops. Alfred, dubbed by history "the Great," succeeds to the kingdom of Wessex on the death of his beloved brother, Ethelred. He is aided in his struggle against the invading pagan Danes by his haughty young wife, Elswyth, of the kingdom of Mercia. As warrior-king, Alfred establishes a governmental system; as Latinist, he translates the poetry and classics that become the foundation of English literature; as a Christian he puts into practice the principles to which he was devoted. Around Alfred's magnificent defense of the English nation, Wolf ( Born of the Sun ) weaves convincing subplots of passionate love and betrayal that embellish the bare bones of history.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In ninth century England King Alfred of Wessex gathered an army which permanently halted a Viking invasion that had devastated the country. For this, as well as his devotion to literature, he is known as Alfred the Great. This novel tells his story from childhood, through marriage to his beloved Elswyth, battles with the murderous Northmen, and finally his defeat of them in 878. It is unfortuante, though, that this rousing period in British history is treated in such a plodding, dull manner. Although the historical events are competently described, the passion and vibrancy that pervaded these times are completely missing.
- Patricia Altner, Dept. of Defense, Bolling AFB, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Onyx
  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Onyx (January 7, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451402863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451402868
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 1 x 5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,938,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Joan Wolf is a USA TODAY bestselling American writer, whose acclaimed Regency romances have earned her national recognition as a master of the genre. Her many historical and contemporary romances, some of which have been chosen as Literary Guild selections, have been highly praised by reviewers and authors alike.

Joan was born in 1951 and she grew up in the Bronx, New York. A former English teacher, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in Mercy College and Master in English and Comparative Literature at Hunter College. An avid rider and horse owner, Joan lives in Connecticut with her husband Joe and two grown children, Jay and Pam.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
It is the second time I have had the pleasure of reading this novel and weeks later I am still thinking and talking about it. Alfred the Great...what a man! I was so enthralled by the life and times of this English King, his insight, morality and courage, an inspiration thanks to Joan Wolf. Alfred was not expecting to become king of Wessex, one of the four kingdoms in England, with five older brothers. Different to his brothers, Alfred was well educated, sensative and very pragmatic. When the threat of a Danish invasion caught England on the back foot, Alfred united his kingdom and led the only kingdom to withstand the Danes. Entwined with passion, love and heartwrenching suspense, the reader is captured by the characters and their lifestyles. This novel enables the reader to experience the thoughts and issues of the time and gives insight to the only king of England to be called "Great". Do yourself a favour and read to your heart's content, you won't regret it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kimberly Gelderman on June 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I've read a few historical novels on the life of this enigmatic King, Alfred the Great. None have compared in the sheer depth of character study the author exhibits here of this great leader. We get to know Alfred through all the phases of his life, from childhood to manhood and eventually king. His life is showcased in a way that lets the reader experience his every emotion, adventure, battle, health crises through his eyes and through his brother's and eventually his wife's, Elswyth.

He was a nobly born man, however, he was the fifth son and was never expected to be king, nor did he want to be. The twists and turns of his family's lives changes all of that. From his father's death, King Ethelwulf of Wessex, to all of his brother's deaths, including his favorite brother Ethelred, who bequeaths the throne over his eldest son to Alfred, his destiny, is forever changed. He is a leader who refuses to give up his dream of a free Wessex and rallies his countrymen to him to continue the fight against the Vikings. He does this with the help of his wife Elswyth, Princess of Mercia, who is a force of her own to be reckoned with.

Together, they will endeavor to save their kingdom, their lives and their people's lives, from the pagan invasion the Danes constantly threaten them with. This is the king who worked so diligently to bring learning to his devasted land. Joan Wolf states in her Afterword: "The educational system of Anglo-Saxon England had been founded on the great monasteries, and these had been devasted by the Danes, leaving Wessex in a state of absolute poverty in regard to learning."

The only complaint I have regarding this book is the lack of a "regional map" at the time of Alfred the Great. I had to refer to another map from another book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Misfit VINE VOICE on July 2, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
A wonderful read, fascinating history. I knew little about Alfred the Great -- the only British monarch ever to carry that title. Incredible finish when it looked like all hope was lost and Alfred managed to carry the day and win the battle for Britain. It's amazing what he accomplished in ways to encourage education as well as on the battlefield.

This book is the third in a trilogy by this author. The first being The Road to Avalonabout King Arthur fighting off the Saxons. Then comes Born of the Sun about 80 years after the death of Arthur about the coming into power of the Saxons (the best of the three in my opinion) and finishing off with this tale about Alfred and bringing Britain out of the dark ages. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By happy mom on April 4, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
My favorite book of all time, I read it at least once a year. If you are looking for a romping romance, look elsewhere. This book is an epic about a king and his kingdom, and the lady who helps him defend it against invaders.
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By SusieQ on January 30, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I agree with the reviews here, and only wanted to say I found the cover art and the back-cover blurb on my paperback edition of THE EDGE OF LIGHT somewhat misleading -- I wouldn't characterize this as a romance novel. This is not a criticism, I just want to point out that a reader who is expecting a, may I say "typical" romance novel, won't find that in THE EDGE OF LIGHT. I would say this is much more a historical novel, with romantic elements. I didn't expect the depth of historical research and carefully drawn characterizations I found here, since I found my copy in the Romance section of the used book store (and apparently Joan Wolf is considered a Romance author). I admit I was expecting to read something very different. That's why I call this an unexpected historical treat.

I particularly liked the way the author depicted the close loving relationship between the brothers, Alfred and Ethelred, as familial relationships in historical novels are often "tweaked" in odd or melodramatic ways. I liked that Joan Wolf gave all of Alfred's relationships the space and respect the reader needs, so that we see his courageous decisions and moral strength through them.

Also, I enjoyed reading about a time period and a historical figure which/who has been generally neglected by novelists. Reading this novel makes me want to know more about England in the times of Alfred the Great. I always think any book that makes me want to go on exploring and learning about a topic is an excellent book.
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