The Cross and the Curse

Written by Matthew Harffy

North East Britain, the Dark Ages. Ancient paganism battles with new faith. Rival cultures jostle for supremacy. Kings plot to establish new nations. Into this heady mix strides Beobrand, a particularly able Anglo-Saxon warrior equally skilled at applying violence and making enemies. In the service of newly crowned King Oswald, he wins honour, his own land and the girl of his dreams, but a dark curse from the past threatens to take it all from him.

This tale is very similar to the Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, recently dramatised on television. It’s set much earlier but it’s in the same geographic area with much the same cultural mores and technology. Beobrand is an interesting protagonist, a thinker as well as a fighter, but not a superman, although he does have the typical hot headedness that seems to be de rigueur for heroes in this sub-genre. It’s very entertaining, if a bit disjointed.