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FREE E-PUB ê Oswiu: King of Kings á In the third entry chronicling the rise of Christian kings in Britain, Oswald dies and the great pagan king Penda becomes overlord in his place To stand against the increasingly powerful Penda, Oswiu, king of Bernicia, tries to unite the smaller neighboring kingdoms by marrying a daughter of Deira But the struggle for power leads Oswiu to order the assassination of the king of Deira He wins the throne but loses the approval of the people In atonement, he establishes a monastery at the site of the slaying What will happen when Oswiu and High King Penda at last meet in battle Though the kingdom may become politically one, both the Celtic and Roman strands of Christian faith vie for supremacy, mirroring the king s own struggle for power Edoardo Albert has again outdone himself He has completed his trilogy with a flourish, leaving the reader wanting to knowabout the world his characters find themselves in I find historical fiction fascinating but none so much as that placed in the Brisith Isles in the middle ages Albert has taken the scant historical information available to us about this early medieval period and has woven a fascinating, vivid, and believable tale of the battle for survival between kings, kingdoms, and Edoardo Albert has again outdone himself He has completed his trilogy with a flourish, leaving the reader wanting to knowabout the world his characters find themselves in I find historical fiction fascinating but none so much as that placed in the Brisith Isles in the middle ages Albert has taken the scant historical information available to us about this early medieval period and has woven a fascinating, vivid, and believable tale of the battle for survival between kings, kingdoms, and even religion that set the stage for Britain as we know it If you haven t read this book or the other two in the trilogy, for that matter , I highly recommend you drop whatever you are doing and pick these books up In Oswiu King of Kings , Edoardo Albert brings to vivid life the battle for the land and souls of the British people in the seventh century Albert tells an epic tale of kings and queens, omens and shieldwalls, where the future of a people was decided as much through the guile of its priests as the strength of its warlords Edoardo Albert deftly weaves the threads of a memorable cast of characters into the weft and warp of a vibrant tapestry of war, mystery and intrigue Yet the true strength In Oswiu King of Kings , Edoardo Albert brings to vivid life the battle for the land and souls of the British people in the seventh century Albert tells an epic tale of kings and queens, omens and shieldwalls, where the future of a people was decided as much through the guile of its priests as the strength of its warlords Edoardo Albert deftly weaves the threads of a memorable cast of characters into the weft and warp of a vibrant tapestry of war, mystery and intrigue Yet the true strength of Oswiu King of Kings , is in the depiction of the effects of conflict on the men and women of the Dark Ages, as Albert reminds us there is muchto conquest than the ringing clash of swords Quality fictional biography of Oswiu, Dark Ages king of Bernicia, one of the early Christian kings Amazing what the author has done with a mention in Bede a fully fleshed novel, with the same excitement of battles and court intrigue, and sometimes wry humor that marked the author s earlier books in the trilogy The novel brought that whole period to life I m glad Bran, Oswald s pet raven, made appearances here each one marked a turning point in the story.Most highly recommended. 4.5 Stars Oh my goodness, I am going to miss this series Never mind, the paperbacks are all on my shelf anytime a re read becomes necessary London based author, archaeologist and journalist Edoardo Albert has bought his Northumbrian Thrones trilogy, encompassing the lives of three seventh century rulers of the Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria to a conclusion in magnificent style, yet not detracting from the known historical facts Oswiu was a supporting character in the last book, the younger and 4.5 Stars Oh my goodness, I am going to miss this series Never mind, the paperbacks are all on my shelf anytime a re read becomes necessary London based author, archaeologist and journalist Edoardo Albert has bought his Northumbrian Thrones trilogy, encompassing the lives of three seventh century rulers of the Saxon Kingdom of Northumbria to a conclusion in magnificent style, yet not detracting from the known historical facts Oswiu was a supporting character in the last book, the younger and somewhat less confident brother of the Saintly King Oswald both of them nephews of Edwin, the focus of the first book I say Saintly quite Literally The Seventh century King Oswald of Northumbria is actually a canonized Saint in the Roman Catholic church After the deadly trap with kills his beloved brother, Oswald, at the behest of his mother Acca, embarks on a quest to retrieve the remains of his brother impaled to a tree in an act of ritual humiliation by Penda King of Mercia, the perpetual enemy of the Northumbrian monarchs The scene in which Oswald s pet raven, Bran, exacts his own sort of vengeance for his master was one of the most memorable in the book Indeed, Bran has emerged as a character himself in the course of the series I appreciated the way that the role of royal women was represented in this tale, as they are so often considered powerless and marginalized in reality, they were the Peaceweavers It is the part of women in this Middle earth to weave together kingdoms in our bodies and on our beds, to requite war with desire, to make peace with the children we breed That is our part The book then proceeds to follow the first 13 years of Oswui s reign, revolving mostly around his power struggles with Penda, and efforts to secure the throne of Deira, which alongside the small Kingdom of Bernicia from Northumbria as a whole For international readers, this was the ancient Saxon Kingdom, encompassing much of what is now NorthEastern England North of the River Humber, as well as parts of Southeastern Scotland It is a complicated story of shifting loyalties within families, loss, betrayal, death, and ultimate victory Interwoven within is the story of how the English Church grew in this formative period and the faith of the characters themselves, Oswiu and his relatives, as well as Aidan, first Bishop of Lindisfarne, who according to tradition, prevented the destruction of the great fortress of Bamburgh with his prayers In this last book, a new element is introduced when Penda claims to be the embodiment of the god Woden on earth, and turns his expansion of power into a clash of gods, making it his goal to eradicate the new religion from the lands of the Angles, along with all the Kings who have embraced it Never believing he can truly be the match of his brother, Oswui and his family must fight, in the end for their very survival In the course of events, Oswui makes some hard decisions and takes controversial courses of action His likely complicity in the murder of the Christian King of Deira and his Kinsman Oswine Godfriend has been a blot on his reputation across the centuries Deservedly so Oswine here emerges as a sympathetic and tragic figure a King who never really wanted to be one, a man who wished to do right, caught up in the turbulent tides of power This was a world in which men of God could barely avoid violence, and the fate of Kingdoms was decided at the point of a sword My only complaints were that the book was not long enough OK, not really It was 550 pages long, but Oswui reigned for another 15 years after the novel ends, one of the longest reigning and living of all the pre conquest Kings A lot happened in that 15 years, and I think it would have taken another full length book to cover it all Still, I would have liked to hear a littleabout that period The other was some of the fantasy like elements in the story, which though they were well written, I felt weren t always necessary Such as the suggestion that Oswald s Spirit lingered in the form of a black cloaked figure, who at one point stands next to Oswui and is spoken to by him Overall though, this novel and the entire trilogy have proved to be an excellent contribution to the genre, in which Pre Conquest Britain is often her ignored or is represented in whimsical Romance novels with cliched or stereotyped characters Recommended for lovers of solid and immersive Historical Fiction, and easily ranked among better known authors