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Paths of Exile Paperback – January 30, 2009

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Paperback, January 30, 2009

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Editorial Reviews


Editor's Choice for the August 2009 issue of the Historical Novels Review. A powerful novel. I was completely transported to the world of seventh century Britain. A strong new voice in the field of historical fiction; Carla Nayland has written a fine book. --Elizabeth Chadwick, award-winning author of The Wild Hunt, A Place Beyond Courage, The Greatest Knight and other novels Carla Nayland pulls the curtain back on the little known period of seventh century Britain to reveal the fascinating world of Eadwine. Filled with unforgettable characters and wonderful historical detail, Paths of Exile is historical fiction at its most intriguing. --Michelle Moran, best-selling author of The Heretic Queen Paths of Exile is an epic tale of battle, honour, loyalty and betrayal that is at once exquisitely entertaining and utterly convincing. Carla Nayland's prose is irresistible, luring the reader from the comforts of the 21st century into the harsh and often bloody reality of Saxon England . A triumphant debut that demands a sequel. --Russell Whitfield, critically acclaimed author of Gladiatrix.

About the Author

Carla Nayland has a lifelong interest in history and archaeology and considered doing a degree in the subject in her spare time, until deciding it would be much more fun to explore it in historical fiction instead. She has degrees in Natural Sciences and Pharmacology from Cambridge and has worked for many years in corporate strategy, cost-benefit analysis, health economics and scientific writing. Carla is also a keen hillwalker, which is a bit of a problem as she lives in the flatlands of East Anglia.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Quaestor2000 Ltd (January 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906836094
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906836092
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,049,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Topolino VINE VOICE on November 30, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, don't be fooled by the apparent of this may be just over 200 pages but it's very small print and very large pages. Consider it a 350 or so pages! I say this, because it took me a while to get into the story and since it seemed so short I was ready to give up after 20 pages. Stick with it, the names are terribly confusing at first, some different by only a couple of letters, and the places, though less confusing, still managed to throw me off.

Having said all that, this is a terrific historical novel, obviously written by some one who knows what they are talking about and not just researching a book. (The author is a historian that specializes in 7th century Britain) THe details of places, people, behaviour and way of life are fascinating and really add to the story. The author is a historian first and this may explain the slow start in terms of storytelling. You won't even notice it by the end, instead you'll be asking why this book wasn't longer!! Hope for a sequel. The battle scenes are riveting, the various escapes through moors, rivers and all manner of danger will keep you up at night. Well done.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By T.D. McKinnon on June 20, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
Carla Nayland's `Paths of Exile' takes place in a land of many Kingdoms, on a vast island that will one day become England, Scotland and Wales: the United Kingdom. The author very cleverly paints a crisp, clear glimpse of an opaque period of Britain's history. This is where historical fiction - the active, conjecturing mind of an author who is familiar with all the available facts of a certain period - does what no amount of history lessons can ever achieve: it brings an era to life.

This tale of loyalty, treachery, murder, revenge, escape and pursuit, in 7th century post-Roman, pre-Norman Britain (sometimes known as the early `Dark Ages') also has just a smidgen of romance thrown in for good measure. The story is woven around some authentic historical characters (filled out to full living colour), including the main protagonist, along with some vivid entities from the author's fertile imagination. With great attention to detail (the author is certainly au fait with this period); this is a beautifully crafted story.

For me personally, being just a boy at heart, the only area this superbly crafted tale fell short (and believe me it did not detract from my enjoyment) was not taking full advantage of the many battle/fighting opportunities that the author herself provided. Regardless, `Paths of Exile' is still worth five stars.

Review by T.D.McKinnon, a Goodreads author/reviewer and the author of `Terra Nullius', an historical fiction, and four other Amazon Kindle titles.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Alistair Forrest on November 10, 2010
Format: Paperback
Paths of Exile follows the back-to-the-wall story of Eadwine (Edwin), a Saxon atheling on the run after his family is wiped out and his kingdom overrun. It's a beautifully crafted story by an author who clearly knows her Dark Ages history and has a deft skill at weaving a story of courage, intrigue and betrayal. The setting seems to me to be very real, with great attention to detail in customs, beliefs, topography, religion, economics and social interaction.

It's the first book by Carla Nayland that I've read and I'm delighted to see from her website [...] and various other mentions here and there that a sequel is in the offing. It can't come soon enough. Eadwine has suffered not only family loss and personal injury, but his betrothed has turned out to be a bit of an airhead and the new woman in his life, the courageous and striking Severa, seems to have been consigned to the witch's flames. And they were made for each other, dammit!

Let's hope Severa has somehow survived and follows Eadwine and his lively friends in their honourable mission against the odds.
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By Ellis Bell VINE VOICE on April 24, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There's a dearth of novels based on the early middle ages--probably because it's such a hard period to research and then recreate. Very little is known about England prior to the Viking invasions, but Carla Nayland's wonderful novel about early 7th century Eboracum (York) and Deira (Yorkshire) successfully fills the gap nicely.

This is the story of Eadwine, a prince of Deira whose lands are invaded and conquered by Aetheferth, king of a neighboring tribe. After a devastating battle, Eadwine goes into exile with some of his followers. They stop at a farmhouse occupied by three women, one of whom is Severa, a healing woman of sorts and their leader. Most of the story follows Eadwine, biding his time as he waits for the opportunity to reclaim his lands and betrothed (who has a surprise waiting for him at home). Meanwhile, there's a fair bit of tension going on between Eadwine and Severa...

This is an excellent book that effortlessly combines fiction with the relatively little that's known about this period in English history. Therefore, recreating this period must have been challenging for the author, but you wouldn't know it from reading this novel. According to the author's note at the end, Eadwine and many of the other major characters are based up real people (Nayland used Bede's account of the 7th century as the basis for her research); and apparently, this is only the beginning of the story. In fact, the ending of this book leads me to hope that there will be a sequel.

The author is especially skilled at dialogue, and developing her characters, although this book takes place over a short period of time. The characters too are very believable; each (with the exception of Severa, who seems a bit too perfect sometimes), is fallible.
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