50. 'Oswiu: King of Kings' by Edoardo Albert

Thursday 2 March 2017

Oswald’s head is on a spike. 

Can Oswiu avoid the same fate? 

The great pagan king Penda set a trap, and when the brothers Oswiu and Oswald walked in, only one came back alive. Rumours abound that the place where Oswald’s body is strung up has become sacred ground – a site of healing for those who seek it.

 Oswald’s mother believes he will protect those he loves, even beyond the grave. So she asks the impossible of Oswiu: to journey to the heart of Penda’s kingdom and rescue the body that was stolen from them. 

Will this fateful task allow Oswiu to prove himself worthy of uniting the kingdoms under him as the King of Kings, or will it set him on a path to destruction? 

Oswiu: King of Kings is the masterful conclusion to The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy.

Oswiu: King of Kings is the final instalment in the Northumbrian Thrones trilogy by Edoardo Albert. I have previously reviewed Oswald: Return of the King here.

I must admit I was eagerly awaiting the final instalment of this trilogy, as Oswiu called out to me from the pages of the previous two books. I don't know why, but something about the underdog brother really appeals to me. The genre, and style of writing really does lend itself to both male and female readers, which is a great advantage. I really enjoy when a book is aimed at no specific gender.

Well written, and spanning a vast length of Oswiu's rule, Edoardo Albert has once again brought the days of the past back to striking life. Although set in the seventh century the characters feel very real, against the backdrop of an extremely violent world. A world of warring clans and gods, where the cunning of a war lord, or the guile of a priest could be a King's undoing.

The characters are memorable in their own right, and can be traced back to the first instalment Edwin: The High King of Britain. As an audience we grow with the characters as they go through various trials and tribulations, tested time and time again by the world around them, by the old Gods and the new, one God.

My favourite character, as with in Oswald, has to be Bran the raven. Albert creates such a personality for the raven, it was impossible not fall a little bit in love with him. For his loyalty not only to Oswald, but to Oswiu too. He didn't abandon either brother, and was in that sense was their truest ally.

I grew to have an unexpected sympathy, and liking for Rhieienmelth, which quite frankly astounded me but Edoardo weaves the tapestry of the story cleverly, and you begin to see that those close to Oswui have their own motives woven into the background and serving their own agendas. The bond between Œthelwald and Rhieienmelth is severely tested later in the book, and was a story line I enjoyed very much. I feel that Œthelwald's character knew he could never live up to his sainted (quite literally) father, and this premeditated his later choices and failings.

Throughout the book, I felt Oswiu was striving to step out of his holy brother's shadow, and make his own mark in the world. It was upsetting to read how he felt he was still the lesser preferred brother of the two, even when he risked his life in a daring attempt to take Oswald's remains back from his pagan nemesis Penda, a relationship that runs as the lifeblood throughout the tale.

I think these books would make for a brilliant television series also, along the vein of The Last Kingdom, and I'm already thinking who could be cast in the main roles!

I highly recommend this trilogy to those of you interested in historical fiction, especially those who prefer the earlier centuries or medieval history. I very much enjoyed engrossing myself in the world Edoardo brought vividly to life.

Purchase Oswiu: King of Kings here
Find out more about the Author, Edoardo Albert here

Thank you to Lion Hudson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. 


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