Eadric the Grasper
Eadric the Grasper (Eadric “Streona”) is a rich, swiftly moving story, set at the beginning of the 11th century in England—or as the book has it, Engla-lond. The research is intense (nice selected bibliography at the end), with both the descriptions and settings deep and provocative.
Named by BBC History Magazine as the “worst Briton” of the century, Eadric artfully negotiated, fought, and murdered in his quest for power. His ultimate goal was peace—eventually managing to negotiate an uneasy alliance with the pillaging Vikings. Adding to his troubles, however, is a masked rogue, lone warrior, who has a keen eye for sizing up battlegrounds and plotting attacks on the enemy. This lone figure, the “Golden Cross,” needs to be captured, and when Eadric finds out his (or her?) identity, he is faced with a dilemma between love and power. Perhaps the best feature of the text is, in fact, the multifaceted personality of Eadric. Although he is brutal and single-minded in his drive for control, he is portrayed quite sympathetically.
A simple map of Britain is included, but one with more detail (cities, towns, etc.) would have been useful.
This book fits well with all public libraries; most high school libraries would also do well to acquire this. A confident middle school student would be able to follow along as well. The complex character of Eadric is a natural fit for all levels of book clubs.