Edwin: High King of Britain

Edwin: High King of Britain

by Edoardo Albert

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Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin's usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure - the missionary Paulinus - who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point. Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to great power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life : This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade - and to come to terms with the world view of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781782640332
Publisher: Lion Hudson
Publication date: 06/01/2014
Series: The Northumbrian Thrones , #1
Edition description: New edition
Pages: 352
Product dimensions: 5.12(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Edoardo Albert is a copywriter, editor and writer of short stories, features and books. His stories have appeared in Daily Science Fiction and Ancient Paths, and he has written features for Time Out, TGO and History today. He was the editor of the Time Out Cycle London Guide. He is the author of Northumbria: a lost Kingdom (History Press), The Northumbrian Thrones series (Lion Fiction), and London: A Spiritual History (Lion Books).

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Edwin: High King of Britain 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
wordsandpeace More than 1 year ago
Small kingdoms, pagan and Christian values clash to make modern England. Followers of this blog know my enthusiasm for Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories and the key periods for the making of Great Britain. So this is a delight to present another historical novel focused on some earlier events, the 7th century, by another author who does also a great job. Even though admittedly, no one in my opinion can beat master Cornwell, let me tell you what’s great about Edwin: High King of Britain. The book opens with Edwin already in exile for twelve years in East Anglia. When he prepares to remarry, to the Christian Æthelburh, some unexpected events will change a former friend into an enemy and start a whole chain of actions threatening the king and his family. How will Edwin deal with these threats? Will he overcome them and save his family and kingdom? Edwin is indeed convinced that only when the whole island is under one king, himself, will they all be safe from invaders. As you read the book to discover the answers, you will discover fascinating times that helped make England what it is today, or at least let’s say what it was at the beginning of the 20th century. For with Æthelburh of Kent come two Italian missionaries, James and the famous Paulinus. There are excellent passages comparing the pagan and the Christian faiths, for instance in conflicts between Paulinus and the pagan priest Coifi. You also find differences of approaches when Edwin discovers for instance that the Christian God exhorts to loving one’s enemies, something totally foreign to his pagan laws. The passages showing his reactions as he discovers these new values are very well done, I think. It is also during that time that the first Christian Church is built in stone in York, and massive crowds are baptized after Edwin and his household decide to take this dramatic decision for themselves. It is actually in York that Constantine the Great was proclaimed Emperor, back in 306. I was appalled I had totally forgotten these Western elements in his life! I thought it was also neat to see Edwin’s reaction to the art and marvel of writing, as before most messages were conveyed there orally. Apart from the religious dimension, essential to understand the dynamics of the time, the conflicts and relationships between all the different smaller kingdoms of the island were very well explained and illustrated, with their good measure of revenge and jealousy. Advice: before jumping into reading, familiarize yourself with the very helpful map found at the beginning of the book, and draw for yourself genealogy trees thanks to the list of characters also provided by the author. We are no longer used to British names of the time, and they may at first sound too much alike and confusing. It is essential to the full understanding of the novel I think, to know who is where on the map. VERDICT: England’s history did not wait for the Tudors to be full of intrigues and conflicts. This book is a wonderful entry to 7th century England, where pagan and Christian values clashed as small kingdoms fought to take prominence. Highly recommended to all lovers of history and historical fiction.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written and easy to get lost in the history
WhisperingStories More than 1 year ago
If, like me, you’ve ever wished you could travel back in time and observe society in another era, then this is certainly a book for you. Especially if you have ever wondered what life was like in Anglo-Saxon Britain. "Edwin: High King of Britain" by Edoardo Albert is an extraordinary tour de force. Albert is a scholar whose imagination is deeply embedded in the turbulent life and times of the period. While most of the hard facts in this tale come from the writings of The Venerable Bede (c. 673 – 735), the wonderful descriptions of people and places are enhanced by the almost poetic imagination and understanding of the author. He gradually leads us, not just into the deep forests and dark mountains of ancient Britian, but into the haunted minds and imaginations of its people. This is a world where for many the old gods hold sway, and pagan priests still predict the future from the blood and entrails of beasts. A world where the kings of Britain spent most of their waking hours fighting to keep their enemies at bay, and their power intact. I say Albert leads us ‘gradually’, because for me the beginning of this story was slow to get under way. There were too many historical asides that interrupted the forward momentum of the plot, and not enough characterisation. The detailed description of a battle at the beginning did very little to entice, largely because not having any real sense of the characters involved, you didn’t care very much who won. And there are moments – certainly in the first half – when you wonder if it’s all grinding to a halt. But just when you think the tale is going no-where, Albert introduces a fine moment of tension, like the attempted high-jacking of his young bride, and suddenly you’re hooked once again. As the story progresses, and gathers pace, Albert draws you more deeply in to the lives and personalities involved. Perhaps the most fascinating character to emerge – and that because his personality was developed at the most depth – was Coifi, the chief pagan priest to Edwin. The physical descriptions of this scuttling, drooling soothsayer, with his cloak of crows feathers, and rattle of bones, are so vivid, so oppressive, you feel he is in the room with you, a menacing, unclean presence. But once the Jesuit priest entered the King’s household, and finally converted Edwin, Coifi’s hold over the king and his entourage was threatened. Albert cleverly portrays the gradual disintegration of the priests’ status and his personal disillusionment in gods who no longer responded to his call, so that you gain a real insight, and sympathy, for the man himself. The basic facts about Edwin’s conversion and Coifi’s response are recorded by Bede, but it is the sensitive imagination of Albert that has managed to bring this complicated character to life. Interesting too, is how these very early Christians viewed the “new God”. One, they hoped, who would be more successful than the old gods in giving victory in battle. The transition to a full understanding of the Christian message was to take some time, as they viewed with astonishment, and some amusement, the idea that “you should love your enemies”! One of the reasons I really respect this author is that he has kept to historical facts, and the truth is, there aren’t that many facts known to us about this period of British history. That’s why the story-line is a little bit thin. It takes us through Edwin’s last years as he plotted and fought to consolidate the fragmented
booknerdDS More than 1 year ago
Edwin, High King of Britain was a fantastic read! The first line is a perfect indication of what's to come " The king is going to kill you." I thought this was a perfect opening because the rest of the book pretty much follows the same theme of intrigue. Edwin and Æthelburh were great heroes and made the story a fun and interesting read. The writing flowed and the story was engaging. There is adventure and action. The religious themes laced with the imaginative realm made this story very unique. Once I started reading I had a difficult time putting the book down. The struggles between religion and righteousness. I highly enjoyed and recommend this novel.
VicG More than 1 year ago
Edoardo Albert in his new book “Edwin: High King of Britain” Book One in The Northumbrian Thrones  series published by Lion Hudson recreates the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England. From the back cover: Edwin is a king.  Yet he is about to be betrayed and butchered. In 604 AD, Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin’s usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure–the missionary Paulinus– who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point. Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life. This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade–and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out. Power, empires, kings, betrayal and political intrigues are just some of what has to be dealt with in this wonderful beginning of this first-rate series.I like history and when it is presented to me fresh I enjoy it even more.  I had no idea that any of these events had happened.  Mr. Albert is a highly gifted author who knows how to give us wonderful characters that are human and have strong emotions.  Plus this is history and these events happened however that doesn’t stop the story from being really exciting. Mr. Albert has given us a unique thriller that will keep you on the edge of your chair as you read and flip pages as fast as possible.  I recommend this book highly and look forward to the next book in this series. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Lion Hudson.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN by Edoardo Albert from Lion Fiction via Kregel. It is the first story in the Northumbrian Thrones series. I was thrilled for the chance to read not only historical fiction, but one about royalty. My favorite subject. While researching my family tree, I learned that from my maternal grandmother’s side, I’m descended from English royalty. The book includes a map, a list of characters, and a glossary of terms. The story itself takes place in the 7th century and follows Edwin as he journeys from exile to become High King. Edwin seeks to unite Britain as one entity. A central point of the novel is his conversion to Christianity, told with precision and artistry. The entire novel flows; I found no parts to be dull or dragging, as sometimes happens with historical fiction. The details were rich. I felt as though I feasted along with the characters. I do read a lot of historical fiction, but never before have I read about Edwin the High King. I highly recommend this to fans of history, royalty – with an emphasis on court intrigue, and anyone looking for a fast read. I look forward to future installations in the series.
Theophilusfamily More than 1 year ago
  Once I got to the third chapter, you would have had to pry *Edwin: High King of Britain* out of my hands. The reason? It reminded me of The Lord of the Rings. I read this paragraph....  "The wind blew harder and Edwin shivered, but it was not from a cold to which he was inured that he shook. 'He made me bow to him. He forced me to my knees in front of his men, in front of mine, and made me do homage.' Edwin turned to Forthred, and his eyes were as grey and cold as the sea.  'He bought me my kingdom and defeated my enemy, but he ground my knees into the blood soaked mud and forced the homage I would have willingly given. But he is dead now, and no other man will make me kneel.'  'But I will kneel to you lord,' said Forthred, and he went down on one knee before Edwin. 'Get up, get up.' Edwin hauled Forthred back to his feet. 'We have endured too much together for you to kneel to me, old friend.' "  And I said to my friend "This is a real-life Middle Earth kind of story."  I like learning history through novels, and I love the fact that this book is a true-to-history account. However, I was sucked in by the story and the characters, and the factual basis was all an extra benefit. This books reads like Tolkien, and a bit like a Stephen Lawhead novel, with kings and queens and battles and warcraft.  One thing really struck home to me: Nothing is new under the sun. People still do horribly violent things to one another. Weapons are still formed to take life and spill blood. Power and empires are still sought. And the Gospel still goes out- a very tiny seed that grows greatly in good soil, an insane idea that saves souls, a beautiful word amidst the evil and coarseness.  Edwin, a man who walked this earth and saw the sun and impacted history, had to choose how to live and whom to serve. This novel imagines how he made those choices. His bride, Æthelburh, another true figure, came to Edwin's house with Christianity and two spiritual counselors, a priest Paulinus, and a deacon James. These men are humble and devout without becoming cliches, just as Edwin is hard-headed and determined.   Christianity at its most unadulterated, life-giving form is about to enter this pagan land. That's what makes this book so cool... it wrestles with the introduction of Christ into history, and shows how men's hearts changed when they encountered the Gospel, but it is not your typical poorly-written tract style novel. Readers can enter it without fear of anything but accuracy meeting imagination.  Thank you Lion Fiction for my review copy! 
ChatWithVera More than 1 year ago
I enjoy reading books based on real history and written with historical authority. Edwin High King of Britain is authored by Edoardo Albert who has taken the early history of England (Britain) in the 6th century as recorded by historian Bede, who lived during the period and is accepted as authority in his writing, and fleshed it out to give us Edwin, the first High King of Britain. When I agreed to read Edwin, I did so with some feelings of fear that I would not enjoy it. Frankly, I do not like reading about this period as much as later periods of history. I was very pleasantly surprised at the readability and feeling of the author holding faithful to the actual recorded history in his story. I found the story interesting and it gave me some insight, albeit fictional, into the early history of my own people. The time is after the conquest of the Roman Empire in the land that is now England, Ireland, and Scotland and after the Romans had left. It is 625 A.D. This is the story of uniting the people to form a nation.The inhabitants are pagan in religion and clannish with individual kings for each group. The area has been settled by the Germanic people, the original Britians, and invaders from the North. Edwin is an actual person recorded in the Ecclesiastical History the English People by Bede. The story opens with Edwin in exile and out wandering when he is approached by a mysterious stranger who predicts that Edwin will be a ruler. This was a barbaric land and people, and the story portrays this well. It was also a good portrayal of the beliefs about the hereafter that these early people held as well as that of their many gods. The introduction to Christianity by the new wife of Edwin who brought with her a Roman Catholic priest, Paulinus, is interesting. A blending of the barbaric warring and piety made for a different and interesting read. While based on the history of Bede, the reader must keep in mind that this is not a record of what took place. It is, in fact, a novel and should be read as such. I enjoyed the book and will recommend it to those who enjoy reading fiction based on this time period. I've always enjoyed a bit of history, so here is a bit about Northumbrian, Bamburg Castle History which includes information about Edwin. DISCLOSURE: I received a complimentary copy of Edwin: High King of Britain from Kregel Publishing in exchange for my review. Opinions expressed are solely my own. I received no compensation for this review.
a-nonny-mouse More than 1 year ago
Villains, heroes, heroines, the rise and fall of kings and kingdoms make this an adventure-filled tromp through some of history's darkest and bloodiest times. I'm rather thankful that we live in the time we do - maidens were little more than chattel that were bartered and traded for political reasons, villains were brutish and vile, and kings' lives seemed to be a mere blink at times. Not having read The History of English People by Bede, I found it a compelling, interesting book that I very much enjoyed. I love books that are historical and that pull me into a time long since past. This one does just that. I especially liked the conversion of Edwin and how the queen conducted herself in some very difficult circumstances and trusted that God would take care of her. If you like the Arthurian legends and books about medieval times, you would probably like this new series. I am looking forward to the rest of the trilogy. I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own and I was not required they be positive.