The Warrior with the Pierced Heart (Shadow of the Raven)
This second book in The Shadow of the Raven series is told in the first person by Mathew, the second son of a noble family, who was intended for the church until he is enlisted by King Alfred of Wessex during the centralizing of his power in 9th-century England. Mathew is a very likeable character whose motivation is authentic. He reacts in a way the reader can relate to. Though still a young man, he accepts the overwhelming duty of messenger/soldier foisted on him by his king with as much zeal as he had for a monastic life.
Each fast-paced adventure is told in believable detail. Bishop’s research is outstanding and very engaging. That can be a tall order, but make no mistake—this story is very entertaining and does not read as a history book. I was not a fan of books set in the 9th century until I had the good fortune of reading book one in this series, Blood and Destiny. The sensitivity of the main character in such a hostile environment kept me turning the pages, at times reading in horror at the cruelty he witnesses. I’m looking forward to book three.