Saturday 24 August 2019

#BookReview — The Final Reckoning (The Shadow of the Raven: Book 3) by Chris Bishop #HistoricalFiction #AngloSaxon @CBishop_author

The Final Reckoning
The Shadow of the Raven: Book 3
 By Chris Bishop

Despite Alfred's great victory at Edington, Wessex is far from secure.

With the threat of an imminent Viking attack, Matthew, now a warrior, is sent to fortify and defend the ford at Leatherhead. There, hopelessly outnumbered, he faces his sternest test as he and a small band of barely trained Saxon warriors strive to hold out long enough for help to arrive or resolve to die trying.

In a time ravaged by political uncertainty, Matthew is placed in intense personal danger as he is also ordered to investigate the tyranny of the Ealdorman's stepson and dispense justice as he sees fit.

With his life still threatened by the wound to his chest, what is asked of him seems more than any man should endure as he faces . . . The Final Reckoning.

"You once told me you had no plans to invade Wessex, yet here you are..."

Alfred defeated Guthrum at Edington, and a treaty of peace was signed, but such a treaty did not neutralise the threat of another Danish invasion. This was not the time for complacently. The Vikings would try their luck again, Alfred is sure of it.

Alfred sends Matthew, The Warrior With The Pierced Heart, to Leatherhead to fortify the ford against invasion. What Matthew finds is an Earldorman who is controlled by his vile, treacherous and exploitative step-son, Oeric. Matthew must use all his wit, knowledge and skill to make Leatherhead ready despite Oeric. But as the Viking army marches ever closer, Matthew realises that they are hopelessly outnumbered.

Can The Warrior With A Pierced Heart, the man who it is said came back from the dead, win the day, or will the prophecy once told by a Celtic healer come to pass?

Vicious. Violent. Vivid. Victorious. The Final Reckoning: Book #3 in The Shadow of the Raven series by Chris Bishop is the hotly anticipated final chapter of the story of Matthew, the third born son of Lord Edwulf. Not only is this series shamelessly captivating, but the climax of this story was both spectacular and surprising — I should have seen it coming, but I didn't! The ending certainly caught me unawares.

As with the other two books, The Final Reckoning is told in the first person and by Matthew's perspective. The effect of this was, as a reader, we have an intimate knowledge of not only Matthew's thoughts but an understanding of his hopes and dreams, his loyalties and commitments, and his desperate struggle with who he is, what he has seen, and what he has done. He has made mistakes — trusted where he should not — and he is a wiser person because of it. Matthew is undoubtedly more careful in this book with regards to who he trusts and, more importantly, who he doesn't. He understands very well the treachery within other men's hearts, as well as their hopes and dreams. Matthew is a character that started out in this series as a very naive young novice monk, but by the end of this book, he is a man who others will follow willingly into battle. 

There are some wonderful and not so wonderful supporting characters in The Final Reckoning, in particular, Matthew's dear friend, Aelred. I adored Aelred. He says it as it is and he isn't cowed by those of a higher position than himself. He is undoubtedly the kind of man you would want by your side in a fight! In comparison to Aelred is Oeric who is as much of a villain in this tale as Lord Hakon. Bishop is very good at creating larger than life characters, and the narrative simply swept me away. This is a book that you can certainly lose yourself in. If you love Michael Hirst's fabulous Vikings, then I think you will find something very appealing about Bishop's Shadow of the Raven series.

I have to commend Bishop's fascinating interpretation of historical events. Researching the Dark Ages is notoriously tricky, due to an unfortunate lack of primary sources, but Bishop does not let this thwart him. Bishop has obviously spent many hours researching to the best of any historian's abilities the reign of Alfred the Great and indeed Guthrum. The instability, the constant threat, the raids, the slavers, the harshness of this foreign land as well as its beauty has been vividly brought back to life. I loved it!

The Shadow of the Raven series reads like a great Dark Age saga. It is absolutely brilliant. Everything about this book, and this series, is exquisite — a reader's dream come true.

Each book in The Shadow of the Raven series stands alone, yet they also transition nicely — picking up where the last book left off. The Shadow of the Raven is a series a reader can most certainly get excited about reading.

I Highly Recommend.

Review by Mary Anne Yarde.
The Coffee Pot Book Club

Pick up your copy of
The Final Reckoning

Chris Bishop

Chris Bishop was born in London in 1951.  After a successful career as a Chartered Surveyor, he retired to concentrate on writing, combining this with his lifelong interest in history.  His first Novel, Blood and Destiny, was published in 2017 and his second, The Warrior with the Pierced Heart was released in July 2018.  Both form part of a series entitled The Shadow of the Raven.

Chris is a member of the Historical Writers’ Association as well as the Historical Novel Society.

Connect with Chris: Website • Blog • Twitter • Goodreads.

1 comment:

  1. Congratulations on your award, Chris!


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