The Last Horse
England: The First Viking Age
(The Ninth Century Book 3)
By M J Porter
The third book in The Ninth Century Series.
The Raiders have been routed from Torksey, dead, or escaped.
Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters, her new king a warrior not a ruler. And as he endures his coronation, as demanded by the bishops and ealdormen, there are stirrings from the east.
Coelwulf must again take to the trackways of Mercia. His destination, any place where the Raiders are trying to infiltrate the kingdom he’s fought so hard to keep whole, losing beloved friends in the process.
The year is AD874 and Mercia lies threatened. But Coelwulf, and his loyal warriors, have vowed to protect Mercia with their lives. They’re not about to stop now.
Praise for The Last Horse
“An excellent, well-written book.”
“Action-packed, hard to put down.”
Stacy T, Netgalley Reviewer
I feel him faltering beneath me, and I’m not surprised.
We’ve been riding for so long, the attackers behind us, fierce and unrelenting. I wish I could jump from his back, allow him the time he needs, but neither of us has that option.
My eyes have been searching the horizon for all that time, just hoping to see the banner displayed so proudly by the men inside Northampton. I need to see it. He needs to see it, but it feels so far away.
Even my warriors are gone, their mounts fresher and more able to take the punishing pace that Jethson has set from the front of the group.
My warriors were lost, but I found them.
I’ve had no time to mourn the fresh losses and the reason for their delay.
I might never need to.
But no, Haden’s gait lengthens beneath me, as the ground suddenly flattens out, and there, before us, I can see the promise of survival and hope on the horizon. I never thought I’d be so grateful to see my Aunt’s banner.
All of the other horses, riderless or ridden, stream away, far in the distance. I can just determine that Edmund has reached the river crossing. I watch almost despairingly, as Jethson disappears, no doubt taking steady steps down the steep embankment, the promise of a swim across the expanse of the Nene perhaps not the temptation it might once have been.
But the sound of the chase reaches my ears, and despite Haden’s best efforts, I know I need to stand. I need to face the Raiders, even if it is for the final time, if only to ensure my men and horses make it back to safety.
I should not have stirred the hornet’s nest. I should have thought more before I risked everything just to have the comfort of enjoying the coming winter nights without fear of attack from the Raiders.
My tenure as king will have been brief but filled with acts of bravery, or so I hope they might record it.
Others, Edmund and my Aunt amongst them, will berate me for my foolishness, and rage will mark their grief, keeping it at bay. That brings me some comfort.
I watch as more and more of the horses disappear down the steep riverbank, the hope of survival beginning to thrum through my body, in time to the elongated stride of my sweating mount. He’ll run himself to death, but it still might not be enough.
Pick up your copy of
The Last Horse
Add The Last Horse to your ‘to-read’ list on
M J Porter
I'm an author of fantasy (viking age/dragon themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest), born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since AD1066. I write A LOT. You've been warned!
Connect with M J Porter: