Saturday 24 November 2018

#BookReview — Sons of the Wolf: Sons of the Wolf : Book #1 by Paula Lofting #AngloSaxon #HistoricalFiction @Paulalofting

Sons of the Wolf:
Sons of the Wolf : Book #1

By Paula Lofting

On the battlefield, Wulfhere fights for his life but elsewhere the enemy is closer to home, sinister and shadowy and far more dangerous than any war.

1054, pious King Edward sits on the throne, spending his days hunting, sleeping and praying, leaving the security of his kingdom to his more capable brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex. Against this backdrop we meet Wulfhere, a Sussex thegn who, as the sun sets over the wild forest of Andredesweald, is returning home victoriously from a great battle in the north. Holding his lands directly from the King, his position demands loyalty to Edward himself, but Wulfhere is duty-bound to also serve Harold, a bond forged within Wulfhere's family heritage and borne of the ancient Teutonic ideology of honour and loyalty.

Wulfhere is a man with the strength and courage of a bear, a warrior whose loyalty to his lord and king is unquestionable. He is also a man who holds his family dear and would do anything to protect them. So when Harold demands that he wed his daughter to the son of Helghi, his sworn enemy, Wulfhere has to find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery in the household of the cruel and resentful Helghi without compromising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.

Sons of the Wolf is a panoramic snapshot of medieval life and politics as the events that lead to the downfall of Anglo Saxon England play out, immersing the reader in the tapestry of life as it was before the Doomsday Book. With depictions of everyday life experienced through the minds of the peoples of the time; of feasts in the Great Halls to battles fought in the countryside, it cannot help but enlighten, educate and entertain.

Bloody. Brutal. Brilliant.

The greatest warriors of the land descended from wolves. Sea Wolves — that was what their enemies had called them. They were fearsome creatures, the stuff of legends. But such things were not talked about anymore. For Englalond is a Christian country now. Nevertheless, when the moon is at its fullest, and if you listen carefully, you can still hear the Sea Wolves as they howl, for such men will never be silenced.

As the cries of the dying fall silent on Dunsinane Hill, Wulfhere can finally return home to Horstede. Although he is glad to leave the bloodshed behind him, he fears what kind of reception he will receive, for his wife is yet to forgive him for his gross betrayal.

At court, it has become increasingly apparent that pious King Edward will never produce an heir. So who will be king when Edward dies? With the Godwin’s once again the most prominent family in Englalond, the nobles of the land can do nothing but speculate. Will the next King of Englalond hail from Wessex, or will he, God-forbid, hail from Normandy? 

Wulfhere’s loyalty to Harold Godwin is without question, and although he does not always agree with him, he will stand and fight, for the wolf inside of him cannot be silenced any longer.

From the peaceful tranquillity of Wulfhere’s land in Horstede to the slaughter at Hereford in 1055, Sons of the Wolf (Sons Of The Wolf #1) by Paula Lofting is one of the most compelling stories set in this era that I have ever read.

When flicking through the pages of The Doomsday Book, I have often wondered who were these people whose names have been preserved for all eternity. It seems that Lofting has asked herself the same thing, for she has taken some of these names and breathed life back into them.

This is a story about love and hate. Loyalty and betrayal. It is a story that is forever timeless but somehow new. The writing is elegant, the descriptions beautiful. Lofting’s words wrapped around me and suddenly I found myself in this new place, where the customs seemed unfamiliar, but the love for one’s family is the same as it ever was. Lofting’s attention to detail has to be commended — from what her characters wear to how they reacted in times of terrible struggle. There is an integrity in her writing. It was believable. This is a long book, but reading it was effortless. I became immersed in the story and the hours flew by. The narrative was flawless.

I thought Wulfhere was exquisitely drawn. Wulfhere is a flawed character, but for me, that made him all the more credible. He makes many mistakes, but he pays for them. He does not run away or pass the blame. He owns his mistakes, and at the end of the day, he only wants what is best for his children. His feud with his neighbour, the vile Helghi, brings tension to the story. There is always this element of expectation. What is Helghi going to do next? Helghi is a wonderful antagonist to pit against Wulfhere. Wulfhere is honourable, Helghi is not.

Wulfhere’s daughter, Freyda, surely tests his patience. However, I felt a great sympathy for her. She is young and thinks herself in love. While Wulfhere battles to keep her safe, she fights him every step of the way. It is a believable, and an incredibly emotional relationship the two of them have which I found incredibly compelling.

Both Wulfhere and Helghi are historical characters, but I think it was the drawing of some more well-known ones such as Harold Godwin, which closed the deal on this book for me. Lofting has taken the sources and presented Harold as I have always imagined him to be. He is honourable, loyal and he loves his country. I am trying my hardest not to become too attached to Lofting characterisation of Harold, for I know how his story ends!

If you are looking for your next fix of historical fiction, then pick up a copy of Paula Lofting’s Sons Of The Wolf. You won’t regret it.

I Highly Recommend.

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

Paula Lofting

Paula has always wanted to write since she was a little girl coming home from school to sit at the table with her notebook. A prolific reader, she loved nothing better than to spend weekends with a book in her hand. Earliest influences such as Rosemary Sutcliffe, Leon Garfield, Charles Dickens, C.S.Lewis, inspired an interest in history. It became her lifelong wish to one day write and publish a book, but not being able to type, and having no funds for a typewriter to learn on, this ambition was reluctantly put on hold. With the advent of PC's and a need to retrain and use a computer, this old ambition was stirred and she decided to rekindle her love of writing at the grand old age of 42. At this point, she had reached a turning point in her life and studied nursing, and also decided to write the book she had been promising herself she would one day write. Her début novel, 'Sons of the Wolf' was first published with the assistance of Silverwood Books in 2012. More recently she has republished it with her new publishing company Longship Publsihing. in kindle. It is a story set in the years leading up to the Norman Conquest of England and the first in the Sons of the Wolf series. She has always admired the works of Sharon Penman and Bernard Cornwell, and Mary Stewart, amongst many others. History is a great love of hers and her interest in the subject goes beyond that of the keyboard. She also enjoys Anglo-Saxon re-enactment with Regia Anglorum, also a great source of research for her writing.

Paula loves to hear from readers, you can find her: WebsiteBlogFacebookTwitter.


  1. Hi Mary Anne

    Thank you so much for this insightful and fabulous review. It is not often that someone 'gets' what an author is trying to portray, and reading this account, I can see that you have!Thank you for the spotlight, it is much appreciated!

  2. Congratulations on your award.

  3. Congratulations on your award. I shall be definitely putting your book on my to-read list. It sounds amazing.


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