Today I am delighted to be a part of the book tour for Matthew Harffy‘s latest addition to his Bernicia Chronicles, Storm of Steel, with a review of this fabulous new novel.
AD 643. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and the sixth instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles.
Heading south to lands he once considered his home, Beobrand is plunged into a dark world of piracy and slavery when an old friend enlists his help to recover a kidnapped girl. Embarking onto the wind-tossed seas, Beobrand pursues his quarry with single-minded tenacity.
But the Whale Road is never calm and his journey is beset with storms, betrayal and violence.
As the winds of his wyrd blow him ever further from what he knows, will Beobrand find victory on his quest or has his luck finally abandoned him?
I have had the distinct pleasure of following the adventures of Beobrand and his band of warriors from the very first to book to this one, the sixth in the series. In a feat that few authors ever manage to achieve, each book has been better than the last and, indeed, when I read the last one, Warrior of Woden, I sincerely doubted that Matthew Harffy could top it. But top it he has! And in spectacular style.
In Storm of Steel Beobrand has gone off in a new direction, on a personal mission, rather than one dictated by kings, and by sea rather than land. This has given scope for a fabulous new adventure and gives a new edge to the battles, both on land and sea – and against the elements. It also means new experiences, as Beobrand journeys along the south coast and into Frankia. The locations are stunning, Matthew Harffy’s descriptions of dramatic coastlines, stormy weather and the different brands of people he encounters, from lowly peasants, to pirates and warlords, all serve to transport the reader back to the 7th century, recreating the Anglo-Saxon world in the mind of the reader.
‘Go Cynan,’ Beobrand whispered.
Cynan stepped away from the sailors and scrambled over the side of the ship, back into Háligsteorra. Beobrand followed him and quickly joined Bassus and the others where they stood before a pile of bloody corpses.
The pirates clambered off the ship even more quickly than they had boarded. Their leader was last, and he shuffled towards the wale still clutching Dalston to him, with the sharp seax blade digging into the skin beneath the monk’s chin.
When he reached the side, he stepped over, steadied by the welcoming hands of his men. He lifted Dalston bodily and carried him over with him.
‘Take the treasure the boy carries,’ shouted Beobrand. Send the boy back.’
The dull thuds of axe blows signalled the ropes that had held the ships together being cut. Using their oars, the pirates shoved the two ships apart. the gap between the vessels widened quickly, soon it would be too far even for an unarmoured man to jump.
‘Send the boy back!’ yelled Beobrand again, but as he said the words, he tasted the bitterness of defeat and deceit in his throat.
Storm of Steel is Beobrand’s 6th adventure; the stunning imagery and constant action leads the reader into Beobrand’s world in magnificent style. The action, as ever, is constant and leads the reader on a roller-coaster of a ride from the first page to the last, never quite certain that Beobrand will win through, nor even that he will survive the encounter with one of the greatest warlords of Frankia and rescue the kidnapped girl…. I’m not telling….
Matthew Harffy is an author whose writing goes from strength to strength with each book. I feel I’m repeating myself when I say ‘this is the best one yet’, but it truly is. I defy anyone to be able to put it down without wanting to read through to the end in one sitting. I certainly read late into the night, but the lack of sleep was well worth the experience of another adventure with the now-famous Beobrand and his band of warriors.
Storm of Steel is a masterpiece of a novel, the visually imagery recreated by the words evoke a world so long in the past that little remains but archaeology, and yet the reader can imagine themselves there, and fighting at the side of Beobrand, Cynan, Bassus and the rest. But there is more to fighting in all of Matthew Harffy’s books. The intricate and engrossing plot weaves its way between the battles – against man and the elements – to tell a story that is at once intriguing and gripping.
Beobrand and the Bernicia Chronicles are a phenomenon!
I cannot recommend the stories of Beobrand, told in the Bernicia Chronicles, highly enough. And Storm of Steel stands out as one of the best books I have read so far, this year.
About the author
Matthew grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.
Follow Matthew Harffy:
Twitter: @MatthewHarffy, Facebook: @MatthewHarffyAuthor, Website: http://www.matthewharffy.com/
Website: www.ariafiction.com; Twitter: @aria_fiction; Facebook: @ariafiction; Instagram: @ariafiction
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©2019 Sharon Bennett Connolly