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Eadric the Grasper: Sons of Mercia Paperback – October 4, 2010
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"[Woods] brings to life the violence and skullduggery of the age in exciting scenes of action and intrigue, while vividly rendering the mindsets and motives of this distant era."
"If you had given up finding derring to match do in an exciting historical romance because Sir Walter Scott was dead, weep no more. "
--Ron Friedman, Writer of "The Transformers: the Movie"
About the Author
Jayden Woods is the author's pen name. Jayden is a writing graduate from the University of Southern California and has also lived in Tennessee and Missouri. Jayden wrote nine novels and several screenplays before releasing any work to the public, and began by posting the online webserial, "Lost Tales of Mercia." The historical fiction novel, "Eadric the Grasper," launched October 5, 2010.
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Top customer reviews
Deftly written, the flowing prose unapologetically assumes the reader either knows the era or can pick up the hundreds of words, titles and thoughts that have, over the course of a thousand years, left our collective English language. And how wonderful; an author who refuses to write "down", having faith in her audience. (And for me, I'd like to thank the Internet for providing another quick and easy way to look up all those words -- I feel like I should have paid Ms. Woods tuition for the best History of Anglo Saxon England masters level college credit.)
If I was forced to make a comparison, I'd say the book, in theme, feels like the Historical version of the award winning American television show, "Breaking Bad." A good man, forced by situations far beyond his control, makes the best decisions possible, but they lead him down the dark rabbit hole... I rarely disagreed with the choices Eadric makes throughout the book, either for pragmatic or life-saving reasons, but each decision, piled one atop the other, creates a mountain that, I think, probably did earn Eadric his title as one of England's worst citizens.
I've read online criticisms about Ms. Woods portrayal of Eadric as the "hero" of the book and I can't disagree more. She has presented a man, doing his best, but she doesn't apologize, even in this fictional account, for either the good or bad results, knowing full well, that we're all the heroes of our own stories, and this is his.
Though I believe this is her first novel, it doesn't feel like a first attempt and I can't wait to see what she does next.
History paints Eadric the Grasper as a despicable traiter but this writer sees him as a man who wants peace for his country. Instead of loathing Eadric I found myself actually siding with him because in his heart he was felt he was doing what was best for his country.
All in all, I found this to be an enjoyable novel that left me hoping there will be a "vol II" from this talented new author.
I'll leave the plot re-summarizing to others. Sharp character development, entertaining action, and amazing description of 11th century England make this a compelling book for readers of this category of fiction -- and for newcomers!
The novel was a quick and entertaining read, and the author tells an interesting story, but it had certain serious flaws that prevented me from considering it a good book. Most problematically, it was poorly written for the most part. Woods' prose can be clumsy and awkward: hands are "garnished" with rings (like a salad?), and everyone growls at each other. It also is anachronistic at times, with, for instance, Edmund telling Eadric to "man up".
Worse still, she has a tendency to dump information on the page that reads as if it comes from a basic guide to Anglo-Saxon England. She tends to set out details about the culture in a flat, blunt manner, rather than integrating them organically and making them seem like a natural part of the narrative.
Moreover, as an Anglo-Saxonist myself, I'm not sure if she truly understood Anglo-Saxon England, the ways in which the people at that time were similar to but also profoundly different from us. She had a lot of superficial detail about daily life, but not as much about the deeper culture, beliefs, psychology. I think she could benefit from reading more broadly than she has.
Also, given how insistent she is on Engla-lond and similar spellings, it's odd that she goes for Canute for the Viking King's name,
rather than the more correct Norse Cnut.
Lastly, without giving too much away, the Golden Cross storyline is deeply silly. I saw what she was trying to do with it, but it read far too much like an Anglo-Saxon comic book.
All in all, it reads like a rough draft, rather than a polished, finished product.