- File Size: 3940 KB
- Print Length: 249 pages
- Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing (November 15, 2017)
- Publication Date: November 15, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon.com Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B0764HR7LG
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,226,051 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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"So tell me, how does a son of the illustrious King Cnute come to be in Friedland rescuing my niece from Norman abductors?
All roads lead to Rome, especially when your father, who so happens to be King Cnute, has made an alliance with Conrad, the Holy Roman Emperor. However, what was meant to be a long but worthwhile journey takes a sinister turn.
"Stay out of trouble," that had been King Cnute's warning to his son, Harold. Harold tried, he really did, but when he met the beautiful Selia, he feared there was more to her story than what the eyes saw. And he was right. Robert, Duke of Normandy, plans to make Selia his wife, whether she likes it or not. Taken by force, Selia is determined to escape the clutches of the vile Bertrand deZouche, Captain of Arms to the Duke of Normandy, before she is forced to wed Robert. Perhaps, this young Anglo-Dane would help her escape before it is too late.
From the dangers of a storm out at sea to the perilous streets of Rome, The Swan's Road: The Atheling Chronicles Book #1 by Garth Pettersen is the enthralling story of Harold Harefoot as he battles to save his father from assassination and the woman he loves from marriage to a man she despised.
Having already read The Dane Law: The Atheling Chronicles Book #2 I was looking forward to going back and reading book #1 in the series. I was immediately transferred back to the world of Harold and his family. Filled with non-stop action and with a narrative that threatens to mesmerise, The Swan's Road was impossible to put down -- in fact, I read it in one sitting!
The historical detail of this has book has to be commended. Pettersen writes with a keen eye for historical accuracies of the time this book is set in, although he does use a little poetic license to make his historical characters fall in line with the direction he wanted his story to go in. Pettersen certainly has a visceral understanding of what makes historical fiction worth reading. His descriptive prose brought this era back to life, and his ability to flesh his characters and make them breathe only demonstrates what a great writer he is.
As before, I adored the characterisation of Harold. He is a very noble yet humble man, who is honourable and above everything else, kind. It is no wonder that Selia falls in love with him. The love story between Harold and Selia is a slow simmering build, which gave this story a sense of depth and realism. The journey the two them go on is fraught with danger and adventure, which propelled the story forward and kept me turning those pages.
Pettersen's masterful style pulls the reader into the story immediately. The Swan's Road is told in the first and third person, which really worked for this book. I enjoyed reading about Cnute and The Duke of Normandy. Their perspectives gave this story its background and depth. Although I have to admit, it was Harold's story, told in the first person which made this book an enthralling epic.
If you are looking for an absorbing, yet heartwarming historical fiction novel, then The Swan's Road: The Atheling Chronicles Book #1 is the book for you.
I Highly Recommend.
Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.
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**** OUR STARS! This is the first story in the Atheling Chronicles. It hooked me quickly and I was whisked away as I witnessed ambushes, foul plans being made, treachery, battles, and so much more.
Some of the characters (such as King Cnute, Harald, and Duke Robert) were real, though the author admits to taking a few liberties here and there. Other characters are pure fiction, but certainly add flavor to this delightful romp through history. Perfect for history fans, as well as for those who simply wish to get lost in a fantastic adventure. ****
Reviewed by Detra Fitch of Huntress Reviews
It was fascinating to read and quite an epic adventure. The author used vivid imagery and great worldbuilding that moved the story along through great battles, lengthy horse journeys, stormy sea voyages, and heart-melting romance. I fell for the characters easily and greatly anticipate the next installment.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
The book reads like a Three Musketeers meets Robin Hood and his Merry Men. The good guys are good, they bad guys are bad. All that is missing are white and black hats. The women are beautiful, feisty, and can fight like a man when needed. Various 'providential' meetings occur throughout the book which aid the travelers in their most dire moments. No coincidence is too unlikely and the result is a predictable ending. Which I won't spoil for you.
The Characters: Harold and his band of friends are one dimensional, they are the good guys. Harold can be a little moody and at times jealous, but he is loyal to his lady. Selia is a strong, defiant woman with her own ideas about who she should marry. She is brave, inventive and a born leader. Their enemy is Duke Robert of Normandy and he is a very bad man, who surrounds himself with other knaves and blackguards. King Canute is one of the good guys, of course. Harold collects friends along the way, instantly recognizing the good in his potential friends.
The History: Pettersen has done his research and has a firm grasp on the terminology of the era. But the setting of the story is a superficial one. The 11th century was a dirty gritty place full of pain and suffering. Pettersen glosses over the ugliness as Harold encounters happy serfs, jovial inn keepers serving laughing customers. Everywhere he goes, Harold manages to speak or understand the language, despite the fact that Europe was awash with regional dialects.
The Writing: For a story about youthful abandon and high adventure the writing is heavy, formal and pedantic. I felt like I was reading my way through a thesaurus. There were times when I felt his use of archaic words ruined the scene. Ex. : waves laving the beach. His use of the dialogue tag, 'said I' drove me to distraction. I often had to stop and reread sentences to decipher his meaning.
In conclusion: If you are looking for a rollicking adventure this is the book for you. Aside from the stiff language it's a predictable fun read.
I am giving The Swan’s Road a very well deserved five plus stars. I am looking forward to the other books in The Atheling Chronicles series. I am curious as to see where else this Harald will go. I highly recommend this book for readers who enjoy early English and western Europe history.
I received this book from the author. This review is 100% my own honest opinion.
Top international reviews
Personally, I also enjoyed the author’s Historical Notes at the end of The Swan’s Road, about the process of researching and writing, the historical accuracies and additions, and the careful vocabulary choices consistent with the development of the language used in Engla-lond at the time. Looking forward to Garth Pettersen’s next installments about the politics of Europe and the romance of Harald and Selia.
The action is non-stop. I would like to say it took up all my waking hours but unfortunately it was those hours that I should have been asleep. I simply could not put it down. I had to keep reading to see how the current situation would resolve.
Good work for your first novel Garth. I am waiting for a sequel.