Review: A Time for Swords by Matthew Harffy.

One of the advantages of writing for a living is publishers and fellow authors often offer up books for review. That also means my tbr list is ever expanding. A Time for Swords is Matthew Harffy’s latest opus that has been sitting on my kindle since Christmas (sorry Matt), but it was definitely worth the wait.

Set in 793, at the dawn of the Viking age, Harffy takes us back to the Northumbrian setting that provided the backdrop for his excellent Beobrand books. Hunlaf, a novice in the monastery of Lindisfarne, experiences the brutal and bloody Viking assault and slaughter that sent shockwaves through medieval Europe. Hunlaf stands his ground and kills a man before escaping the Vikings, and the young monk’s life is changed forever. At first almost a lone voice warning against the return of the northmen, Hunlaf gathers his own band of warriors together to fight the threat, and a merry bunch of misfits and cutthroats they prove to be.

What follows is typical Harffy: a fast paced heroic thriller that builds to a gut wrenching conclusion, with somewhat of a cliff-hanger and hint of more to come from Hunlaf. Matt’s writing has really matured from his first Beobrand books (although there are a couple of allusions to the earlier northumbrian series that will make fans of his work smile), and this is a masterful depiction of an England teetering on the edge of catastrophe. It’s no secret I am a massive fan of Matt’s writing, but getting a new series (potentially) or new books can be nerve wracking for a reviewer. Hunlaf’s story really lived up to expectations with brutal action, wry humour, and a beautifully drawn historical setting. Wholeheartedly recommended.

Next up Alan Bardos’s The Assassins set in 1914.

A Time for Swords is available on Amazon and other sellers.

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