Shadow of the Raven by Millie Thom

T I T L E: Shadow of the Raven
S E R I E S: Sons of Kings (Nº 1)
A U T H O R: Millie Thom
P U B L I S H E R: Millie Thom
P U B L I S H--D A T E: May 27, 2015
I S B N: 9780520153051
Historical Fiction
A tale of Viking raids, hapless thralls, noble kings and their sons and friendship and love. Above all else, a tale of unforgivable betrayal and the ever-present desire for revenge… The life of Eadwulf, ten-year old son of the Mercian king, is changed forever when his family is betrayed to the Danes by his treacherous uncle. In a Danish raid, his father is killed and his mother is raped. And along with his tutor and childhood friend, Eadwulf is captured and taken to the Danish lands to be sold as a slave. As a thrall in Jarl Ragnar’s village, Eadwulf’s life is hard, his days unbearably long. But on the return of Bjorn, the jarl’s jovial firstborn, from his summer raids, Eadwulf’s life greatly improves. Under the protective wing of Bjorn and his crew, he spends the next few years sailing to places he’d never even dreamed of, trading and raiding. And though he’s still a thrall, he becomes a well-respected member of Bjorn’s closely knit crew. But through it all, the smouldering desire for revenge on those who destroyed his family refuses to abate. Eadwulf’s tale plays out against the backdrop of events unfolding in Wessex in the face of escalating Danish raids. Alfred, the fifth son of the Wessex king, faces family tragedies from an early age, losing first his mother, then his beloved sister when she is married to the new Mercian king. At his father’s court and the successive courts of his three elder brothers, he learns the weighty art of kingship. And, like Eadwulf, he learns the harshest lesson of all . . . that a trusted kinsman can so easily turn traitor.

     While there are other stories out there written about the time period of the Vikings and their raids across England and Europe there is not an overabundance of them. I never tire of reading historical fiction related to the Medieval or Elizabethan eras, but reading this one from the Dark Ages was quite refreshing.
     This book is very well written. It is also evident that the author did her research. She does a fantastic job of blending fact with fiction to make an informative but very entertaining read.
     The fictional characters are so believable that is easy to forget that they did not exist as their story unfolds right along with that of the true historical figures. Reality and imagination fit together seamlessly. As their story progresses you feel as though you are right there with them experiencing both joy and hardship.
     I am looking forward to reading what is in store for Eadwulf as he finally returns to Mercia and I can not wait to see his uncle's reaction when he confronts him face to face. The second book in this series is one that I will definitely be on the look out for.
     If you are a fan of historical fiction and love reading about either the Saxons or the Vikings, then this is a must read.