A Time for Swords

Written by Matthew Harffy
Review by Mike Ashworth

AD 793, Lindisfarne. Hunlaf is a young novice monk based at the Minster at Werceworthe (Warkworth) on the Northumbrian coast. On a fine spring morning Hunlaf accompanies his friend and mentor, the monk Brother Leofstan, to Lindisfarne to deliver a supply of lambskins to be used at the scriptorium. While at the monastery Viking raiders attack in the first recorded Norse onslaught. Hunlaf picks up a sword and attempts to defend the helpless monastery and its population. It is a moment which will change his life forever.

Told in retrospect by Hunlaf as an old man coming to the end of his life, this is the story of how he becomes a warrior. He hints at a full life, of Odessa, Rome, and Byzantium before returning home to die. This is the first in a new series by this best-selling author. Those familiar with his work will know what to expect – a taut plot, strong characters, exciting action scenes and research which brings alive the culture and times. This promises to be a superb new addition to historical fiction. I can hardly wait for the next outing as Hunlaf develops as a man, and as a warrior. Highly recommended.