Premise (from book promo): Following Guthrum’s crushing defeat at Edington, Alfred’s kingdom is enjoying a rare period of peace. Alfred is ageing. Bouts of his old illness are increasingly frequent, and he prays that his final years will be free of Viking raids, allowing him to concentrate on expanding his kingdom’s boundaries and improving its standard of learning. Scholars are summoned from near and far, amongst them a certain Welsh abbot named Asser.
Ongoing peace is no certainty, however, and Alfred continues to improve his defences. An attack on Rochester proves that Wessex is still far from safe… whilst also confirming the effectiveness of Alfred’s newly fortified towns and mobile armies. The arrival of a huge Norse army puts those defences to the test. Its devious leader does not easily give up and the conflict becomes a trial of will and wits between him and Alfred’s staunch ealdormen, one of whom is Eadwulf’s son, Aethelred.
While Aethelred pursues his role as Lord of the Mercians, Eadwulf settles back in Aros. Old friendships are rekindled, new ones are formed, and a situation in al-Andalus takes Eadwulf, Bjorn and their comrades on another dangerous quest across the sea.
But will this new life be enough to stop Eadwulf missing his children and friends back in Mercia?
Millie Thom’s “King of the Anglo Saxons” immerses readers in the captivating world of King Alfred the Great and his struggles against Viking raids. As the fourth and final book in the Sons of Kings series, it delivers a fulfilling conclusion to a remarkable historical saga.
Already a fan of the author’s first three wonderful historical novels in the series (all three of which I’ve previously reviewed on this blog), I must say this one might be my very favorite.
As in the first three volumes, Thom skillfully balances various elements, seamlessly blending the challenges and violence of the time with adventure, romance, and action. Every character, no matter how small their role, contributes to the vibrancy of the story. The author’s meticulous research shines through, taking readers from Mercia and Denmark to the vivid and exotic al-Andalus, allowing them to envision long-forgotten times and people.
One of the book’s many strengths lies in the deep connection between King Alfred and the fictional character Eadwulf of Mercia. Thom expertly weaves historical figures with her fictional creations, creating a seamless blend of fact and fiction that enhances the authenticity of the narrative.
The author’s attention to detail is evident throughout the book, and the inclusion of maps provides a wonderful sense of place and historical evolution. She convincingly conveys the passions and motivations of King Alfred, and readers gain insight into Alfred’s dedication to defending his kingdom, fostering education, and leaving a lasting impact on his people.
“King of the Anglo Saxons” captures the complexity of staying in power and the challenge of maintaining peace in the kingdom amid Viking threats. It explores the evolving dynamics between characters, the interplay between loyalty and conflicting interests, and the personal journeys that unfold throughout the series. Readers are left with an appreciation for the historical significance of King Alfred the Great and his enduring legacy.
No doubt Millie Thom has crafted a wonderful four-book series in Sons of Kings, (four book series) with “King of the Anglo Saxons” providing a befitting and satisfying conclusion. It is a testament to Thom’s storytelling prowess, historical knowledge, and ability to create compelling characters that resonated with this reader. This series is a must-read for fans of historical fiction and those seeking an immersive and enlightening journey through a tumultuous period in English history.
To learn more about Millie Thom, please visit her site at Bringing History To Life.