The Cold Hearth (The Atheling Chronicles #3) by Garth Pettersen

51200846. sy475

BLURB

“The sons of Cnute are dead men.” The dying words of his brother’s assailant travel across the North Sea to the English Midlands.

Harald, the king’s second son, receives the warning while rebuilding a hall where he hopes to farm and lead a peaceful life with Selia, his Frisian wife. But as the hall nears completion, they learn the family who lived there before them all perished in a single night of bloodshed. Could the grounds be cursed?

Now the threat of unknown enemies casts a long shadow. Should they distrust the brooding Saxon neighbor or the two weapon-bearers they hired for protection? Should they suspect either of the two women they have taken on with the other hirelings? Only their Jewish warrior friend, Ravya ben Naaman, seems to be the only one above suspicion.

REVIEW

It’s not easy being the son of the King. While you might have started a new peaceful existence, and are the sort who gets along with the common folk, your family is another matter. Ever present in just about any monarchy is the issue of succession, and Harald Harefoot and his brothers aren’t the only contenders. The Cold Hearth is an engaging tale of an unsettled period in English history….the House of Wessex seeks to regain the throne from the House of Cnute, and one way to make that happen is to eliminate the Danish contenders to the throne. Wonderfully crafted characters fill the pages of this multi-threaded story; plot lines with twists and turns that leave the reader gasping at the turn of events. I was drawn into the emotional turmoil and stress resulting not only of the planned removal of Harald, but also from a brutal event in the past that threatens the tranquility of Harald’s friends and family. So, while Harald may have wanted a peaceful existence away from the turmoil, that isn’t what he gets in this rousing tale. Now I’m only guessing, but methinks that the turmoil will continue in the next episode of The Atheling Chronicles.   5 ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Dane Law by Garth Pettersen

41123672

BLURB

After a peaceful year running their Frisian estate, Harald and Selia are called to Engla-lond.

Their return is marked by violence and intrigue. The king has vowed to Queen Emma that their son, Harthacnute, will inherit the throne, but the atheling is cruel and reckless. Many view Harald as the better choice, which makes him a target for the unseen supporters of his half-brother. King Cnute urges Harald to be prepared to assume the throne should Harthacnute prove inadequate. Harald resists being swept up by forces beyond his control, but doubts he will survive the reign of King Hartha.

And what of his older brother, Sweyn?

REVIEW

Oh, the lengths one will go to if one longs for the crown, either for them self or their progeny. The Dane Law, as the blurb indicates, is the story of King Cnute’s sons and the tough decision to choose his successor. Well, that’s the main plot.  The author has crafted a tale that is so much more than that. It is also a love story, a story of determination and survival, a story of the duplicitous nature that is a royal court.  And, oh what a duplicitous lot of characters we have, my peeps.  Mind you, not all of the main characters are shady, unscrupulous, and single minded, but they sure make for an interesting, enjoyable, entertaining read.  Of the many things that I have found over the years that I’ve been reading and reviewing books, is the utmost pleasure derived from well developed characters, and The Dane Law certainly fulfills that criteria.  Of course, I felt like punching out the evildoer or at least screaming at their evil deeds and intentions, a sure sign that the author has done their job. 🙂

Another aspect of The Dane Law that, as a historian, I really appreciated was the use of  contemporary spellings of names and places. To me that reinforces the whole idea that England has such a long and varied history, and how that place evolved over the centuries to become what is is today, and the many other cultures influenced by that evolution. I might not know how to pronounce some of the names and places, however, I enjoy reading them all the same.  So, my dear reader prepare for a far flung adventure that has one turning pages in anticipation of what comes next in this tale, a lead up event to the Godwinson/William confrontation.  5 stars