The Edge on the Sword

The Edge on the Sword

4.8 5
by Rebecca Tingle

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An adventure worthy of legend, for fans of Game of Thrones and Rangers Apprentice

When fifteen-year-old Æthelflæd is suddenly and reluctantly betrothed to an ally of her father, the king, her world will never be the same. For as a noblewoman in the late 800s, she will be expected to be meek and unlearned-and Flæd is anything but meek and unlearned.

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An adventure worthy of legend, for fans of Game of Thrones and Rangers Apprentice

When fifteen-year-old Æthelflæd is suddenly and reluctantly betrothed to an ally of her father, the king, her world will never be the same. For as a noblewoman in the late 800s, she will be expected to be meek and unlearned-and Flæd is anything but meek and unlearned. Her marriage will bring peace to her land, but while her royal blood makes her a valuable asset, she is also a vulnerable target. And when enemies attack, Flæd must draw upon her skills and fight to lead her people to safety and prove her worth as a princess-and as a warrior.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Filled with exciting action [and] interesting characters." -School Library Journal

"Tingle's graceful, tightly plotted narrative enthralling tale. A first-rate example of historical fiction." -Booklist

Publishers Weekly
Set in the late 800s, this tale imagines the formative years of an actual heroic figure, the West Saxon King's daughter. "In this meticulously researched novel, which alludes to Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the author brings to life the mindset and emotions of her heroine, `the greatest woman in Old English military history,' " said PW in a starred review. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
Flaed is the King's daughter and is betrothed to the neighboring alderman. Their marriage will secure the bond between Mercia and West Saxon. Flaed is torn between being loyal to her father and England by marrying someone she has never met and leaving her homeland and beloved family. An envoy has been sent to protect her. She resents him always being present but learns a valuable lesson when she deceives him and escapes, only to be caught by England's enemies to the north. He saves her and teaches her how to wield a sword and protect herself, lessons she puts to use when the wedding convoy is attacked on its way to her new home. Flaed is a likeable heroine—one who is loyal to her family yet brave and willing to risk her life for others. Aethelflaed was a real person who governed Mercia and supported her brother, who became king of England in 899. Together they rebuilt fortresses, made alliances with their northern neighbors and fought common enemies. Aethelflaed of Mercia became a legend who was loved and respected by her people. Tingle gives an accurate portrayal of old England and what Aethelflaed's childhood could have been like. 2001, G.P. Putnam's Sons, $18.99. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Janet L. Rose
How refreshing!—historical fiction that treats the Middle Ages respectfully, not merely as an exotic setting. Tingle skillfully weaves Anglo-Saxon poetry, biography, and chronicle into the imagined adolescence of Æthelflæd, daughter of King Alfred the Great, the ninth-century English leader. Flæd is fifteen when she is betrothed to her father's Mercian ally, and although she resists her loss of freedom, she knows her marriage is politically necessary. In the year before the wedding, she studies in the scriptorium, learns about her father's battles with the Danes and her mother's Mercian heritage, and comes to know Red, her Mercian bodyguard. Flæd's relationship with Red is particularly compelling, developing slowly as Flæd herself matures. Red teaches her not only how to fight but also important lessons about what it means to rule and to be ruled. From her own experiments, Flæd learns horseback riding tricks. When she is attacked by Danish raiders during her treacherous journey to Mercia, Flæd uses her learning, her equestrian skills, and Red's lessons to save herself and her men, thereby earning the respect of her husband and his people. Historically, Æthelflæd became known as Lady of the Mercians and led her people into battle when her husband became ill. Tingle's Æthelflæd does justice to the figure from the historical record, a strong woman from a time when women held far more power than they did in the later Middle Ages. Tingle's novel is an intelligent and suspenseful debut—as they say in Anglo-Saxon, That wæs good boc! VOYA CODES: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses;Will appeal with pushing; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2001, Putnam's, 288p, $19.99. Ages 13 to 18. Reviewer: Rebecca Barnhouse SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-10-Queen thelfl--d of Mercia, noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for extraordinary achievements, is depicted as a teen in this novel. The eldest daughter of King Alfred, spirited Fl--d is well educated and loves studying, almost as much as being with her mother and sisters or wandering the West Saxon countryside with her brother Edward. She understands that she is expected to marry, but the 15-year-old is dismayed to learn how soon this destiny must be fulfilled. Her betrothal to the much older Mercian King Ethelred curtails her independence beyond endurance. She resents her new round-the-clock bodyguard, Red, although she is curious about the slave collar and bracelets that the free man wears. When Fl--d uses her considerable intelligence to evade Red's protection, the horrifying consequences change their relationship. Red becomes Fl--d's tutor in weapons and warfare, training her as a battle leader, a role she will be forced to play before she becomes a bride. Fl--d's story is filled with exciting action, interesting characters, and convincing historical details of the late ninth century that bring to life this distant and violent time in Britain.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
One of history's most dramatic heroines is restrained by a low-key presentation. Fifteen-year-old Æthelflæd, eldest child of Alfred the Great, spends her days learning her letters and wandering with her beloved brother. But Flæd loses these simple freedoms once her father betroths her to the ruler of Mercia, to cement an alliance against the marauding Danes. Flæd is appalled; not only is she to leave her home to marry a much older stranger, but she is also saddled with a warder who shadows her every movement. Nonetheless, Flæd and her guard slowly build a tentative friendship; he teaches her weapons and tactics, and she shares her tricks of horsemanship and woodcraft. But enemies are secretly watching, waiting for their moment to strike; and Flæd's future will depend on how much she has learned. Tingle briefly notes the sources for the real Æthelflæd, and her first novel painstakingly recreates Anglo-Saxon life with numerous telling details, from tidbits of gnomic poetry to the construction of shoes. Yet the central characters remain maddeningly elusive; all the time spent inside Flæd's viewpoint gives little feeling for her personality. The slow-paced plot is equally uninvolving; only in the final chapters-when Flæd has to draw from all her lessons in history, poetry, politics, and war, in order to lead her rebellious retainers safely through the bandits' murderous assaults-do all these carefully laid nuggets of information come together in an exciting, and moving, climax. Unfortunately, by then too many readers may have given up. (Fiction. 11-16)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sailing Mystery Series
Edition description:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

"Filled with exciting action [and] interesting characters." -School Library Journal

"Tingle's graceful, tightly plotted narrative enthralling tale. A first-rate example of historical fiction." -Booklist

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The Edge on the Sword 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Edge of the Sword is a wonderful medieval history novel. The story is set in Mercia, England in the late ninth century. It is about 15 year old Aethelflaed, who is a smart and strong noblewomen, who would be become `Lady of the Mercians¿ when she would be betrothed to her father¿s ally. Their enemy, The Danes, want to stop her from marrying King Alred¿s ally because they do not want their forces to be stronger. The author set a nice pace for the story. The people who would like this book would be people who enjoy stories based on medieval history. If you like books with swords and exciting fighting in it, this would be a great book for you to read. If you read books like Inkheart, Heir Apparent, or the Lord of the Rings, you might like this book. The story made me feel emotional at times, but it was satisfying. The Edge of the Sword was the kind of book I couldn¿t put down; I would stay up all night. without sleep reading it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I cried alot during the book, but it was very well written and extremely interesting. I want more from this author!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The Edge On The Sword was an outstanding book. It's a definite reccomendation to all teenagers of my age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i got a book report and i am having a hard time writing the summeries. i didn't have time to read ALL the book and i heard that it is VERY interesting. i was wondering if you could send me a BOOK BLURB for the back of my book report, RIGHT NOW :). I NEED to get a good mark on my book report!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was awesome! Full of adventure and surprises, I was swept into Flaed's world. I love the trick where Flaed "disappears" on the horse.........I wouldn't want to try it, though!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was wonderful! It was a bit sad though because she has to leave her family. Real good though!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The novel gives a realistic view of what the Middle Ages were really like, and why the United Kingdom is named just that. Set in the 9th century in the land we now know as Great Britian or the United Kingdom, this book gives a realistic view into what every day life was like. The young heroine was married off at a young age to a neighboring king old enough to be her father in order to strenthen an alliance against a common enemy. The story has action & adventure as well as being well researched & educational. I appreciated the prologue that explained the now-archaic germanic/saxon letters & spellings, as well as the pronuciation of them. And best of all, Queen Aethelflaed is a documented historical figure and a real role model to inspire young girls today. While this story is fiction about what her early life could have possibly be like, the book concludes with a chapter stating that facts that history does tell us about Queen Aethelflaed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In the late 800s, the role of a king's daughter was to marry to benefit her father's kingdom. That is the role that fifteen-year-old Aethelflaed has know all her life would someday be hers. But she never expected it to happen so soon, and is shocked when her father announces that she will marry Ethelred of Mercia to strengthen an alliance against the Danes. She couldn't be less prepared for this news, and is shocked by the fact that in a few short months, she will have to leave her family to marry a man that she has never even met. And there are those men that would wish to stop this alliance - Welsh and Danish raiders. Because of this, Flaed's new fiance has sent a bodyguard for her - Red, a gruff man with a mysterious past. But Red has more to offer Flaed then just protection. He can teach her to defend herself using fighting skills that have traditionally only been taught to men. These are skills Flaed will need if she is to face the men who are plotting against her. This historical novel was both exciting and fascinating. Aethelflaed grew up to be a great heroine, but I had never heard of her before. I loved reading about this strong and very real girl who became a leader at a time when women's roles were limited.