Killer of Kings by Matthew Harffy


Beobrand, mighty warrior, lord of his own hall, leader of his own war band but still tormented by events in the past.  Sent by King Oswald on a seemingly innocent mission finds himself embroiled in war and conflict.  He also finds that the main tormentor, the man he has pledged to kill, is among the foes arrayed against him.  In this latest installment of The Bernicia Chronicles, the author has taken this rash, headstrong, Dark Age warrior, and as he has done throughout this series has turned up the angst, turned up the rash/reckless responses, and turned up the brooding melancholy. A short quote, “It seemed it was his wyrd to become that which he most despised.”

The author also exhibits his same flair for bringing the reader into the scene he is describing, whether it is Reaghan placating/pleading her goddess or Beobrand in the midst of sword-song.  Killer of Kings is a multi-layered, page turner; an excellent addition to what has become one of my favorite series.  4.6 stars



AD 636. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the fourth instalment in The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Beobrand has land, men and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his bloodfeud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics.

When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honour.

In the chaos that grips the south, dark secrets are exposed, bringing into question much that Beobrand had believed true. Can he unearth the answers and exact the vengeance he craves? Or will the blood-price prove too high, even for a warrior of his battle-fame and skill? 

Author info: 

Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.

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Blood and Blade – Bernicia Chronicles 3 by Matthew Harffy


This is book three in The Bernicia Chronicles and the story of a 7th century warrior, Beobrand.  When I read book 2, I said at the end of my review that I was eagerly anticipating the 3rd.   The author did not disappoint me.  Skillfully intertwining fact with some robust and entertaining fiction, Mr. Harffy takes the reader on an interesting ride through Northumbria, Wessex, Mercia and the land of The Picts.  This was a violent and confusing period where warriors still fought for their lords and still sought vengeance for any slights or misdeeds; where the old gods were beginning to lose their sway over the populace as kings converted to Christ and looked for alliances with other Christ minded rulers.  Beobrand is now a renowned warrior in the service of King Oswald and the lord of his own land and gesithas (his personal retinue of warriors), but he still has many enemies seeking to do him harm.  And so, we have a page turning affair redolent in the violence of the age but one also of plot shifts, surprises and new forays into love; reluctant, unexpected, dangerous and forbidden love.  Give yourself a treat, dear reader, if you haven’t started this series, then you owe it to yourself to do so.  The Dark Age of Albion awaits you.  5 stars

The Cross and the Curse by Matthew Harffy


One of the perks of having a growing reputation, a well deserved one for this humble scribbler of book reviews, is obtaining advanced copies of an author’s upcoming release.  Such was the case here as the author sent me a copy of The Cross and the Curse, the follow up to his excellent debut, The Serpent Sword.  Beobrand is now a renowned warrior in the retinue of King Oswald, is married to a beautiful and loving woman; things are looking up…for a while at least.  Mr. Harffy has avoided any semblance of a sequel jinx by putting together an intriguing account of what it could have been like when the Cross met the old gods in post Roman Britain.  Beobrand, while not a follower of Christ, is oath sworn to a very Christian king while at the same time he has to deal with a witch who has a surprising link to Beobrand and utters a terrible curse upon him.  An entertaining story ensues, one with great story-lines and and plenty of Dark Ages treachery and heroics. Add in a bit of inner turmoil and a dash of wavering sanity and you have a page turning tale that leaves you yearning for book three. 5 stars