Sunday, February 14, 2016

More of Hengest and Horsa

A Warlord's BargainA Warlord's Bargain by Chris Thorndycroft
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

In book two of Chris Thorndcroft’s trilogy, Hengest and Horsa have relocated to the British Isles where the power vacuum of post-Roman Britain creates a world run by warrior chieftains and petty kings who enrich themselves by sanctioning piracy and extracting tribute, which is right up our heroes’ alley. However, the mantle of Christianity having been left by the Romans shines a disapproving light on the pagans from the continent, but Hengest and Horsa are able to arrive at a fragile truce with the powerful Vitalinus to fight as mercenaries against the Picts in return for control over a large swath of territory. As part of this negotiation Vitalinus insists on marrying Hengest’s young daughter who doesn’t like the idea at all, and she has the means to do something about it.

Mr. Thorndycroft’s knowledge of his subject is vast. The scene settings and historical references carry the reader right into the fifth century. The story line follows several routes and leads the us to the edge of a cliff. At least this reader will be forced to the final installment to discover how all these things unravel. A Warlord’s Bargain is a feast for the imagination.

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