Three Kings – One Throne (Finn’s Legacy)
England at the time of 1066 was a wealthy country, and its throne was a prize worth winning. This is the story of that turbulent time, when three men wanted that prize, Harold Godwinsson, who had become King after the death of Edward (the Confessor), Duke William of Normandy, and the King of Norway.
The story is told through the view of two different protagonists, Ivar, a Danish orphan, a slave who eventually becomes one of the elite bodyguard to the Emperor of Turkey. And Ivar’s distant relative, Torkil, who is the grandson of an Anglo Norse thayne, and who serves in Harold Godwinsson’s English army. The two become caught up in the battles that rage between the three claimants of the Crown of England with devastating results.
I wasn’t quite sure if this tale is written for adults or younger readers, for while it is a good, interesting read it seemed a little simplistic in places: ideal for younger readers but perhaps without the “meat” required for an engrossing adult read? I found the change from one lead character to the other a little confusing at times, but on the whole the idea works well and the story, for the most part, bowls along well.
I did find the footnotes very distracting. At times I felt this could almost be a text book not a story, I think the author would have been better advised to have had a glossary for readers who want to know the detail. I am also not certain whether lovers of this period would be enthusiastic about the historical side as there were a few noticeable gaps in the factual history (no mention of King Harold’s visit to Normandy for instance).
However, this an interesting tale of adventure and 11th century political manoeuvrings, and it would be an excellent choice for any teenager who wanted to read some good historical fiction about the Norman Conquest. Ideal for school libraries!