Kin of Cain by Matthew Harffy

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First let me say thanks to the author and the fine folks at Aria for including this poor, humble scribe with the illustrious group of reviewers on this Blog Tour.  Since I am leading off this tour, I reckon it’s appropriate for me to announce, “Welcome, and now, on with the show.”

More Dark Age tale telling from the author of The Serpent Sword.  This time he weaves a story that is well known but puts his own twist on it, and in a manner that is both entertaining and foreshadowing.  The main character in this tale is the older brother of Beobrand, the hero of Matthew Harffy’s excellent Bernicia Chronicles series.  Octa becomes part of the group of warriors chosen to ferret out and kill a night stalking monster wreaking havoc among the common folk.  As he has done in the full length  tales, Mr. Harffy brings to vivid life the ethos of a dark age warrior; the fealty owed when oathsworn, the bonding between fellow sword brothers, the ale hall boasting.  The quest to find the monster is emotion and action packed.  A boggy, misty, fen land can play with a man’s mind, so too can facing the limits of one’s endurance in a very trying situation.  Unrelenting drama unfolds as the warriors close in on their quarry and not a few surprises make their task that much more interesting.  I enjoyed learning a little about Beobrand’s big brother and the sword that plays such a large part in his tale. 4.7 stars and a Hoover Book Review’s coveted “Job well done” acclamation.  🙂




AD 630. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical tale set in the world of The Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Winter grips the land in its icy fist. Terror stalks the hills, moors and marshes of Bernicia. Livestock and men have been found ripped asunder, their bones gnawed, flesh gorged upon. People cower in their halls in fear of the monster that prowls the night.

King Edwin sends his champions, Bassus, Octa and band of trusted thegns, to hunt down the beast and to rid his people of this evil.

Bassus leads the warriors into the chill wastes of the northern winter, and they soon question whether they are the hunters or the prey. Death follows them as they head deeper into the ice-rimed marshes, and there is ever only one ending for the mission: a welter of blood that will sow the seeds of a tale that will echo down through the ages.


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