Cold Heart, Cruel Hand: A Novel Of Hereward The Wake and The Fen Rebellion of 1070-1071 by Laurence J. Brown, Derek Richardson

bookshelves: published-2004, historical-fiction, conflagration, britain-england, medieval5c-16c, revenge, war, norfolk, paper-read

Read in June, 2009


My cover is unavailable on GR:

Dedication: For Kaye, with love

Front Quote:

Cold heart and cruel hand
Now rule across the land

Anglo-Saxon Chronicles

Opening:

1070
They left York by the Jubber Gate, what remained of it, like thieves in the night. Behind them smoke from the blackened timbers of the burning City billowed skywards, choking the night air, obscuring the moon, covering their escape.

[..]the fens, a stinking wilderness of sky and mud. It was rumoured that the fen dwellers had webbed feet, that nature had intervened to prevent them sinking into the endless marshland.

Sweyn II Estridson (Svend Estridsen) April 28, 1074

A great fictional read about a very obscure part of English medieval history, although a proof reader would not have gone amiss and the book length may have been reduced by, say, four pages if all the modern curses had been taken away. But I loved it, all those ‘bloody’ villains – and what about the coracle action to set the bridge aflame.

Yes, loves me some neat coracle action.

Seeing that history can never be construed as a spoiler, I will add that Hereward ultimately loses the battle to keep the Isle of Ely out of The Conqueror’s hands.

3.5* upped to 4* for a great hero.

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