A Land Divided: The Blood of Kings, Book 1

Written by K. M. Ashman
Review by Kristen McQuinn

Set during the reign of William the Conqueror, A Land Divided details the unrest in Wales and the Welsh Marches. English lords behind the scenes pit the fractious Welsh royalty against one another as each fight to claim control of territory and thrones. Betrayal and battle are rampant, and no one ever really knows who is a friend or foe. Gruffydd ap Cynan, the deposed and exiled true king of Gwynedd, allies with Rhys ap Tewdyr, the king of Deheubarth, against Welsh and English factions who would see their kingdoms forced under the rule of William of Normandy. This is the tale of their struggles to reclaim their thrones from those they view as traitors.

This is a straightforward novel, simply told and with little embellishment, which may appeal to some who enjoy a direct style of narration. The action is fast-paced, though often it is at the expense of style; the author has a great tendency to tell rather than show the story. Overall, while the novel deals with a fascinating period of history, it lacks stylistic flair that would make it stand out.