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The Serpent Sword (The Bernicia Chronicles Book 1) by [Harffy, Matthew]
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The Serpent Sword (The Bernicia Chronicles Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews
Book 1 of 2 in The Bernicia Chronicles (2 Book Series)
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Editorial Reviews


"The Serpent Sword is a stunning debut" 

"Historical fiction doesn't get much better than this." 

"...historical fiction at its brutal best." 

"Fans of Bernard Cornwell should not miss this!" 

"...beautifully written. The Serpent Sword is a story of revenge, passion, betrayal, honour, love and loss...a thrilling read." 

"With powerful language and gripping action, Harffy tells a tale of courage, revenge and love..." 

"...nothing less than superb"

About the Author

Matthew Harffy has worked in the IT industry, where he spent all day writing and editing, just not the words that most interested him. Prior to that he worked in Spain as an English teacher and translator. Matthew lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters. When not writing, or spending time with his family, Matthew sings in a band called Rock Dog. For all the latest news and exclusive competitions, join Matthew online:

Product Details

  • File Size: 5103 KB
  • Print Length: 347 pages
  • Publisher: Aria (June 1, 2016)
  • Publication Date: June 1, 2016
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01DBZ51FO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #20,441 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition
Matthew Harffy likes to make things hard for himself. Put it this way: if you were writing a debut historical novel would you have your characters fighting around a fortress called...Bebbanburg?!
Haven't we heard of that place before? And in a similar series of books set in a similar time?
Of course we have and it's to Harffy's credit he didn't change the fortress once Bernard Cornwell's massive selling Warlord Chronicles came out as he was working on this.
But, as I sat down to read The Serpent Sword I feared this new writer had bitten off much more than he could chew.
Thankfully I was wrong. Of course there's similarities to BC's work - I think that could be said about much of the best recent historical fiction - but never did I feel like I was reading an inferior version of the Master's writing. The Serpent Sword is so well done that you get into the story and simply enjoy it for what it is.
In terms of the writing, I was hugely impressed by the quality of the line editing. Each sentence is finely crafted, and the book doesn't suffer at all from the constant repetition of words and phrases that plagues so many inexperienced writers. Once or twice I was left feeling a little like the pace had dropped and things could have moved faster and more excitingly, but even then the individual sentences were so finely honed that you didn't want to stop reading.
I'm not going to give away any spoilers or tell you what the book's about - you can read it for yourself and find out. Basically it's a young man coming of age in a dangerous and frightening world, with a little love interest and some very violent scenes, especially those involving the "baddie" (who is quite terrifying, it has to be said).
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Format: Paperback
In the course of my perusing for books to read I am occasionally offered the chance to read a book prior to it being released. Such was the case with this book, The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy. Set in 7th century Britain, a time of unsettled violence where the prowess of warriors and the shield wall determines the fate of kings among the disparate factions that inhabit the island. Angles, Seaxons, Waelisc vie for control and into the mix brought about by the chaos of war is a lawlessness perpetrated by bands of desperate and ruthless outlaws. Beobrand, a young farmer from Cantware(Kent) travels to Northumbria to seek and join his brother, a warrior in the household of King Edwin. Beobrand has lost his mother and sisters to a plague and his father to a mysterious fire and his wish is to become a warrior like his brother. The tale is one of suffered loss and helplessness as Beobrand strives to avenge the murder of his brother and the paths he takes to ease the burdens of his troubled mind.
The author has done a splendid job in crafting a tale that is not only historical but very entertaining as well. He captures the mood of the times in such a fashion that the reader feels the strife and tensions of this brutal time from the ethos of the warrior class to the peasants and craftsmen who struggle to survive the violence and the conflicts of competing religions and peoples. The author also makes you feel what it is like to stand in the shield wall as warriors perform heroic deeds or as they fall in the attempt. It is a stunning debut from Mr. Harffy and I look expectantly for more from him as he continues the story of Beobrand. A two thumbs up recommendation and 5 stars.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy is one book which should be on readers list as a must have item. The author has done a super job in bringing
the period to light. He brings History, Love, Loyalty and pain into a light that identifies just what it is like to live during the 6th century. England had been broken up into separate kingdoms and each had individual Kings who had nothing more then warmongering, wealth and determination to outdo one another. Loyalty was a thing pretty much in word only and the common person suffered the most. Harffy was able to bring all of these things into light in such a way as not to glorify the hardships but to lay it out through the life of his major characters in such a way as not to distort historical events. I highly recommend this book and the entire series and welcome this first edition into my library. Harffy has proven himself to be up with the great authors of our time.
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Format: Paperback
Matthew Harffy’s debut novel bursts onto the current literary scene. It is a confident, well written tour de force. Whatever your favourite genre may be you owe it to yourself to read this novel.
Matthew is a master story teller. He has your attention from the start and never loses it. The writing is fast paced and exciting. The characters are brought to life by his words and you feel as if you know them intimately. Some you warm to, some you hate. None leave you indifferent. Matthew unerringly finishes each chapter leaving you craving more. This is a hard book to put down and I was disappointed when I finished it. I wanted to carry on reading. How long will it be until his next novel is published?
In short, this is an impressive first novel. This is the first of a series called The Bernicia Chronicles. There must be many other readers who, like me, are eagerly awaiting the next novel from Mr Harffy. I feel sure that none of us will be disappointed when it appears. Those who have discovered this writer at this initial stage in his literary career will boast of it to their friends and families when he is famous.
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