Princes In Exile

Written by Richard Denning
Review by Jo Barton

Princes in Exile is the third book in the Northern Crown series, and is set in 6th-century Britain during the dark age of our history. Cerdic and his raggle-taggle band of followers live in unpredictable times, and when a dangerous ambush threatens their very existence, the necessity of protecting the princes Edwin and Hereric forces Cerdic into enemy territory, where in the wild and foreign lands of Gwynedd they must seek refuge. However, sanctuary comes with a high price to pay, and Cerdic and his people will have to face grave danger and untold difficulties before resolution can be found.

Aimed primarily at young adults, this cleverly constructed historical novel has the ability to leap successfully across the great divide into the adult market. Beautifully presented and professionally finished, it is obvious that the author knows his target audience well, and never seeks to compromise or swerve away from telling the story in vivid and realistic detail. He creates such a sense of time and place that all too easily you are transported back to a dark and reckless time, when good men fought against evil, and where enemies lingered in the shadows.

There is sometimes a tendency in an established series to assume prior knowledge which can be discouraging to new readers. However, whilst Princes in Exile confidently continues the story, it also provides enough past detail for a comfortable read. A comprehensive glossary at the start of the book lists all the major locations and characters, both real and fictional, and the historical notes section at the end of the book explains the intricacies of the ‘darkest years of the dark ages’ in a realistic and easy to understand manner.

I have no hesitation in recommending this book as a fascinating look at England’s dark and complex history.