Blood and Destiny

Written by Chris Bishop
Review by Chas Forest

This story takes place during the winter of 878, after the Viking invasion of England, where Alfred reigns as King of Wessex. The story is told by a 16-year-old novice monk named Matthew, the third son of an important ealdorman from a long line of noble Saxons. His older brother, Edwin, is a much relied upon warrior in the king’s personal retinue. The two brothers are brought together by the death of their parents, which leaves them the sole survivors of their family.

Although Matthew knows little about Edwin or being a warrior, he finds himself drawn so deeply into his king’s politics and what is required of him that he questions his suitability not only for the vows he has taken, but for the calling his father had chosen for him.

Chris Bishop creates an amazingly vivid account of ninth-century life that I found completely believable and fascinating. Each word is so precisely selected for authenticity, each scene so realistically depicted, each character so lavishly drawn that this was an absolute joy to read. I am happy to add that it is the first in Bishop’s The Shadow of the Ravenseries, so there is more to come.