The Wolf Banner by Paula Lofting

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It seems that just about everyone wanted to rule England…the French, the Godwins, Edward and his heirs, the Danes.  It also seems that anything that could go wrong for Wulfhere does go wrong.  In the sequel to Sons of the Wolf, the author pulls out all the stops and delivers a scintillating run up to the cataclysmic events coming in 1066.  Wulfhere is a prime example of the range of emotions the author uses to bring the reader into the mindsets of the main and bit players in this chaotic, uncertain time.  A champion fighter, respected thegn and loyal servant to the King, Wulfhere endures much turmoil and suffering and has to dig deep to survive everything thrown at him.  The author also gives the reader a penetrating glimpse of the dance between the parties vying for power; be it the throne of England or the Earldom of Mercia.  Duplicity, underhanded dealings, and the pragmatic approach to the politics of the day are dealt with in an informative and entertaining fashion.  A page turning delight awaits, dear reader.  4.3 stars

Sons of the Wolf by Paula Lofting

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It is 1055, a decade or so before William makes his move for the English crown.  King Edward is without an heir…Harold Godwinson wants to be that heir but before that can happen, there are other enemies to deal with.  Wulfhere is the thegn of a small village and has newly returned from the battlefield, one that is a source of nightmares and those are only part of the woes the protagonist faces at home.  Wulfhere is a complicated and conflicted character and is but one example of the well written characters the author has created, both fictional and historical.  The author has also given the reader a wonderful view of what life was like, the lives of the villagers, the thegns and nobles are vividly portrayed.  So too, are the scenes of battle, whether a full blown engagement or a feud induced brawl, the bestial savagery of man is on full display.  I really enjoyed this tale.  It is a page turning nail biter and what’s even better is that it’ll continue in a sequel. 4.3 stars