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King Alfred's Daughter: The Lady of the Mercians Paperback – January 5, 2010

4.7 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 252 pages
  • Publisher: Dog Ear Publishing, LLC (January 5, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 160844306X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1608443062
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,851,239 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Dale E. Weisman on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
Move over, Joan of Arc, and make room for another resolute, visionary warrior-woman - Aethelflaed, "King Alfred's Daughter" and Lady of the Mercians who courageously battled marauding Vikings and helped unite England in the late 9th and early 10th centuries. This well-researched, beautifully written work of historical fiction illuminates the private and public lives of England's early Anglo-Saxon royalty. You don't need to be an Anglophile to appreciate this well-told story of courtly intrigue, love and romance, familial rivalry, treachery and heroism set in Dark-Age England plagued by Viking incursions. The author Marjory Grieser is not only a meticulous researcher, she's a talented writer whose prose often borders on the poetic in descriptive passages such as this scene of Chester in ruins: "Deva Victrix, Castra Legionis, the City of the Legions, was quiet and deserted when they arrived, except for the wild things that scuttled at their approach. The streets and yards were overgrown with brush and rotting timbers lying all askew. Even the stones that once faced the timbered walls and buildings lay as they had been scattered, first by her invading ancestors four hundred years back, then by the ravaging Britons, and again by the Vikings." I thoroughly enjoyed reading King Alfred's Daughter: The Lady of the Mercians and predict that over time Ms. Grieser's novel will attract a wide following, further raising the awareness of Aethelflaed's unsung role in early Anglo-Saxon history.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a good book for anyone interested in Lady Aethelflaed, the close of the reign of Alfred the Great, the reign of Edward, and the setting of the stage for the reign of Aethelstan. It is well researched and presented and recommended with one caveat relating to the publisher and not the writing itself. It is a very good treatment of the late 9th and early 10th century Anglo Saxon England. A very good book for those interested in the history of Mercia and Wesex. The novel starts out a tiny bit woodenly, but in all fairness Saxon names don't necessarily come easily to the mental tongue! It reads very much like a Thomas B. Costain fictionalized history, which I read a great deal of and enjoyed many years ago. I would have liked greater detail in places, but I doubt there is more than a skeleton of facts to work with and I think Ms. Grieser did a great job fleshing out the life if the Lady of Merica without going too far. Clearly she spent a lot of time researching before writing this book. I liked it quite a bit and Aethelflaed is a very powerful and interesting figure. I plan to read more about her! I highly recommend it to any person interested in the subject with the following caveat.

Caveat Regarding Dog Ear Publishing: The book is one single chapter and has no chapter indexing at all. This is easily formatted for the Kindle and pure unadulterated laziness on the part of the publisher. If you hope to refer back to specific chapters of the book, as I did, you are out of luck. This slothful preparation in not acceptable and highly disappointing. Dog Ear Publishing should be ashamed at this level of unprofessional slothfulness. Again the content is good, but the lack of indexing is loathsome!
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Format: Paperback
This is a historical novel built around the life and times of Aethelflaed, King Alfred's daughter, and her remarkable achievements as "Lady of the Mercians". Although not perfect, it seems to be very much one of a kind. More generally, there is very little published on Aethelflaed, despite her key role in holding Mercia together with her husband Aethelred on behalf and for her brother, Edward the Elder, son and successor of King Alfred.

The book itself is somewhat old but also original. Although published in 2009, it was mostly composed by the author in the 1970s. You do not therefore get the usual mix of very descriptive "sex and violence" that can nowadays be found in most historical novels. Instead, Marjory Grieser had come up with a tale that shows the solidarity, sense of duty and even the sense of sacrifice of Aethelflaed, Aethelred her husband and King Edward, with a strong focus on the psychology and feelings of the three characters (and a number of others along the way).

The book is in fact more about the second half of Alfred's reign, after the initial Viking onslaught had been beaten back, and that of the generation which succeeded him, continued his work and reconquered East Anglia and Mercia from the Scandinavians.
One of its usefulness, among many others, is to present an alternative version to the wonderful (but much made up) series of Bernard Cornwell and his fictional warlord Uther to whom just about all victories are ascribed in Cornwell's novels (which I happen to love, by the way). One merit of this book is to show Aethelred as a very competent warlord and Alfred's trusted right hand, rather than the cowardly knave that Cornwell has to make him into in order to promote his own hero.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
From beginnng to end, this book gives excellent descriptions of what life was like in the days of King Alfred of Wessex and his daugher, Lady Aethelflaed. Ms Greiser used her research very well in developing a story about this family and their trials and tribulations. It makes you feel like you are right there experiencing the same! Historical fiction is something new to me. I enjoyed it and will look for more books like it. I highly recommend this book.
Anita J. Lange
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