The Saxon Plague

Written by Penny Ingham
Review by Ray Thompson

Book Two of the Saxon Wolves series continues the story of Anya, daughter of a Saxon king and British mother. Though herself a priestess, she was exiled to Britannia for speaking out against human sacrifice by the high priest. This novel opens with her fleeing from her husband Vortigern, High King of Britain, and what follows is a harrowing tale of hardship: bitter weather conditions, the mistrust of outsiders, hunger, sickness, plague, treachery, warfare, enslavement, brutality, revenge, rape, the death of loved ones. 455 AD was not a good time for the people of Britain, and Anya, as a healer, shares their anguish.

Moments of happiness are fleeting, undercut by awareness of the dark tide of savagery that threatens survival. This is the strife-torn world that awaits the rise of a champion to restore order and justice. By the conclusion, Hengist and his Saxons have been defeated at Mount Badon, a champion has been given an ancient sword of kingship, a precarious alliance established. Hope lies ahead, however uncertain, but here there is violence and suffering. This is a picture of post-Roman Britain that will interest Arthurians and those who like their Dark Ages authentically dark… and perhaps wonder about civil wars in the Middle East? Sobering.