Saxon England is a period of which I am particularly fond and thus I was very pleased to find a new author writing about it. The Serpent Sword is an excellent debut from Matthew Harffy – a writer I expect to have tremendous succcess in historical fiction.
This is a well-crafted story with an array of varied and interesting characters. Interaction between those characters is handled skilfully and with much subtlety. I especially like the development in the relationship between Beobrand and Hengist as the tale unfolds.
There is some bloodshed and brutality in this story of Beobrand but no more than one would expect in such a turbulent period. The fight scenes come across as real and the action is rooted in the period in which it is set.
The pace of the story is good and there are always several plot strands for the reader to ponder upon at any one time. This gives The Serpent Sword the depth that it needs to keep the reader guessing. My only small criticism there might be that the romantic element of the story is a little predictable but, that apart, I loved the book.
I would heartily recommend this book to lovers of quality historical fiction and the sequel, The Cross and the Curse will be out very, very soon.