Taken as a slave when he was a young boy, Eadwulf dreams of returning to Mercia and killing the man responsible for tearing his home and family apart.
Eadwulf becomes proud to serve Bjorn – the man he calls master – and knows his life as a thrall could have been far harder.
But Eadwulf cannot find peace while his enemies live. Vengeance consumes him after a chance encounter and Eadwulf – Ulf – knows it’s his destiny to become a king, not a slave. He will do whatever it takes to return home – even if it means betraying those who have trusted him.
Author: Millie Thom
Title: Shadow of the Raven
Publisher: Millie Thom
Book Review: Shadow of the Raven by Millie Thom
I have a growing interest in historical fiction although so far, it has centred around the Romans. When this book came up for review, I had to give it a go and must admit that I thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.
Having seen The Last Kingdom on television (and have the book waiting for me to read), I had a sense of where the story would go, but that didn’t detract from the reading.
The plot focuses on both the Danes – their raids and Eadwulf’s life as their slave – and the Saxons in the form of Alfred, the youngest son of the King of Wessex. The plot expands across a vast timeline, meaning the reader witnesses both of these boys growing and developing despite their situations.
From raids to Rome, rituals to revenge, Shadow of the Raven takes the reader on a rollercoaster. Every emotion is experienced – from love to vengeance.
I did find, however, the jumping timeline often left me confused as to how much time has passed between events and what age the characters would now be.
The plot mainly focuses on Eadwulf – Ulf – a prince-turned-slave. Eadwulf is a sullen child; hard to empathise and connect with despite his circumstances. As a young man, however, he becomes more likeable and I felt for his character.
Ulf settles in the middle of the book, but then reverts back to being angry after an encounter leaves him once again burning for revenge.
As a reader, I felt he was justified in his desire for revenge and it luckily didn’t distract from his progression into manhood or becoming a likeable character.
Young Alfred was a great character. He went through hardships as well, but his optimism throughout the book helped break the tension.
The pacing felt a little jolty at times due to the changing timeframe, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Thom clearly knows the time period well and her knowledge is revealed subtly to the reader through the characters – you never feel like the author is simply showing off how much they know.
Not the strongest historical fiction book I have read, but certainly one I would recommend to give a go.