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Awen: A Novel of Early Medieval Wales Hardcover – January 1, 1997
The Daughter of Union County
To save his heritage, he hides his daughter’s true identity—but he can’t protect her forever. Learn More
Top Customer Reviews
The plot evolves around Brys, a soldier/poet in eighth century Wales. In his efforts to serve his country he fights battles, defends his friends, survives assassination attempts and deals in the political intrigues of the day. Fictional and non-fictional characters are woven into the plot along with historical events.
Anyone interested in the real Dark Ages or Welsh history will be fascinated by Awen and anyone just looking for an exciting read will end up interested in the Dark Ages and Welsh history!
Do yourself a favour and grab a copy today!
The reader steps into early eighth century Britain and meets Brys, a disgraced court poet, who must somehow knit together an uneasy alliance of enemies. His mission is to unite warring Welsh kingdoms in time to stave off the encroachment of the English kingdom of Mercea. Palace intrigues, bloody raids, romance, and misunderstandings are the name of the day.
This is a monumental literary novel, and once you start it, you will immerse yourself in a world which is both unique and universal. Enjoy!
Sentence-level writing is gorgeous and unobtrusive at the same time.
The plot has an interlaced, knotwork-like quality. At times it's completely gripping -- Cynfarch's graduation in song, for example. Here and there it falters a little, as when the characters visit Aachen, but it never lost my interest. Because of the political complexities and the huge number of characters, some with similar names, the book requires a lot of attention and the name lists are vital. Even having studied this period, I had some trouble keeping up, but the work is worth it.
Characters are deep in a subtle way -- there's not a lot of introspection and emoting "on-stage"; the reader has to watch for it. Mayse has created a host of attractive and vivid individuals; Brys, Heilyn, Meirwen, Gwydron, and the sadistic Cenwulf stand out.
This is a subtle book, again, and sometimes I wanted a bit more visceral impact. The battles and actions scenes are good, but could stand a touch more grit. The themes of slavery in Mercia and Cenwulf's sadism aren't completely developed -- which means, really, that the author chose to be less melodramatic with the subject than I would have been. Overall, Mayse's choice of tone works well, reminding me of the medieval Welsh poetry with which she is clearly conversant.
Historical accuracy is one of the book's strengths. A lot is, inevitably, speculation, but it worked for me. I'm not sure people were quite as relaxed about romantic relationships as she portrays, but who knows?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very rich in history, well researched. A tiny bit difficult to follow at times, but it is a really lovey book.Published on May 23, 2014 by Angela M. Halifax
And at early senior citizenship I have had time to read a lot. I came upon this space on Amazon while searching Google to see if I could find Susan's email address. Read morePublished on September 3, 2010 by Jane Schneider
For those with an interest in medieval history and especially in well written historical novels from the period, I strongly recommend Susan Mayse' excellent novel. Read morePublished on December 2, 2007 by Kindle Customer