The Sons of Godwine: The Last Great Saxon Earls, Part 2

Written by Mercedes Rochelle
Review by Steve Donoghue

The second installment in Mercedes Rochelle’s Last Great Saxon Earls series focuses on the two sons of the mighty Earl Godwine: Harold, the foremost power-broker in the reign of Edward the Confessor, and Tostig. The latter is given effective rule of the northern reaches of the kingdom, and the bit of narrative genius Rochelle employs is to have the two brothers (and a handful of other key players) tell their own stories in semi-competing segments that keep the reader both gripped and guessing which brother is telling the truth of things in which segment.

As in the previous volume, Godwine Kingmaker, the historical research is smoothly incorporated into the event-by-event dramatics of the story, and the characters are expertly and insightfully portrayed. The world of England on the eve of the Norman Conquest comes alive in these pages.

Strongly recommended.