Saturday 17 November 2018

#BookReview — The Dane Law: The Atheling Chronicles #2 by Garth Pettersen #HistoricalFiction #Vikings @garpet011

The Dane Law:
The Atheling Chronicles #2
By Garth Pettersen

After a peaceful year running their Frisian estate, Harald and Selia are called to Engla-lond.

Their return is marked by violence and intrigue. The king has vowed to Queen Emma that their son, Harthacnute, will inherit the throne, but the atheling is cruel and reckless. Many view Harald as the better choice, which makes him a target for the unseen supporters of his half-brother. King Cnute urges Harald to be prepared to assume the throne should Harthacnute prove inadequate. Harald resists being swept up by forces beyond his control, but doubts he will survive the reign of King Hartha.

And what of his older brother, Sweyn?

"It is a short space God gives us and few men get to follow paths of their choosing..."

Cnute, King of Engla-lond, Danmark and Nordvegr, made a deal with his second wife, Emma of Normandy, that when he died, their son Harthacnute would inherit the throne of all the Kingdoms. This is a deal that Cnute now profoundly regrets. Harthacnute Cnuteson is arrogant, impulsive and he has a violent temperament if he does not get his own way. Cnute fears that Harthacnute would destroy everything that he had worked so hard to achieve. He would bring war, and division.

Harald Harefoot has made a life for himself on his Frisian estate. He is the second son of Cnute and his first wife Ælfgifu. Harald has no ambition to become the next King of Engla-lond. But, he cannot ignore a summons from his father.

With his wife beside him, Harald sails to Engla-lond leaving the safety of Frisia far behind him. However, he discovers that many in his father’s court would like to see him crowned King when his father dies, instead of Harthacnute. Even his noble father, tells Harald to be prepared to assume the throne. Allies, Harald may have, but then so does Harthacnute, and there are those who will do anything to make sure Harald is never crowned King.

From the tranquillity of Harald’s Frisian estate to the dangerous world of Ragnall mac Ragnail’s Hall, The Dane Law: The Atheling Chronicles #2 by Garth Pettersen is a masterful retelling of one man’s courage to stay alive while those around him are plotting his death.

Pettersen has skilfully brought the historical characters of this era back to life within the pages of this remarkable book. The Dane Law has it all — political intrigue, ambition, scandal, and treason. From the opening chapter I was enchanted, and I soon lost myself in the pages of this wonderful retelling of the latter part of King Cnute’s reign.

Told in both the first person and the third, Petterson has cleverly woven together a story of this often overlooked time in British history. There are many characters in this book, each with their own agenda. Reading this book was like watching a game of Hnefatafl play out. But, the question is — who will play the part of King? Who will defend him? Who will attack? Will Harold be triumphant in this medieval game of thrones?

Petterson’s extensive research into this time and these people has to be commended. He has brought Cnute, his family, his allies, as well as his enemies back to life.

There is a useful Glossary of places, people and long-forgotten words at the beginning of the book. I thought it was refreshing to see the archaic language throughout this story. It certainly kept the story very authentic in the telling.

The Dane Law is book 2 in The Atheling Chronicles. I have not read book 1, but this did not hamper my enjoyment of the story at all. The Dane Law stands firmly on its own.

Fans of Michael Hirst’s Vikings series will love this book.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club.

Garth Pettersen

Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. When he's not writing, he's riding horses and working with young, disabled riders.

Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies, and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story River's Rising was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella, River Born, was one of two runners-up in the Wundor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. His debut novel, The Swan's Road (Book #1 of the Atheling Chronicles) published by Tirgearr Publishing was released in 2017 and Book #2, The Dane Law, in September of 2018.

You can find Garth: WebsiteGoodreadsTwitter.


  1. This looks like another title to add to my read list.

  2. Congratulations on your review.

  3. Congratulations. Your book sounds very interesting.

  4. It is really good, Mrs Lords. You really should read it!

  5. Congratulations on your book award! Fabulous review, Mary Anne.


See you on your next coffee break!
Take Care,
Mary Anne xxx