1030 C.E.: Harald, the second son of King Cnute—ruler of Engla-lond, Danmark, and Norvegr—with his wife Selia, attempt to live as landholders in Mercia, away from the constraint and intrigues of his father’s court.
Welcome to one of the November 28th stops on the blog tour for The Sea’s Edge by Garth Pettersen with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for more reviews and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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About the Book
The Sea’s Edge
The Atheling Chronicles Book Four
by Garth Pettersen
Published 7 November 2023
Genre: Historical Fiction
Page Count: 247
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In 1030 C.E., Cnute, king of England, Denmark, and Norway, sends Harald, his middle son, to the Kingdom of Dublin to meet with his Norse-Irish allies. Harald’s mission is to coordinate an invasion of the northern Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd, to replace King Rhydderch who is growing too powerful on England’s borders. Harald is reluctant to be involved in affairs of state, but agrees to go, even though his beloved wife, Selia, is unwell. Harald tells Selia he will not have to take part in the fighting.
While she waits for Harald to return, Selia and her friend Gudrun befriend a young and attractive gleeman (poet-minstrel). When the gleeman is accused of a crime, Selia seeks witnesses in his defense.
Harald becomes involved in a conflict with Dublin’s neighbor, and to appease the king of Dublin, he commits to leading their combined forces in the attack on Wales. The plan is to replace King Rhydderch with Iago, the weaker King of Anglesey. The more Harald learns of these monarchs, the more his allegiance leans toward the man he has been sent to kill.
Will Harald unseat a strong and just ruler to carry out his father/king’s commands, or will he tread a more righteous road, which will destroy the life he and Selia have built in England?
The tide rose up the Afon Ffraw as the day wore long past middeldæg. Outside the shelter of the stakewall, we faced a wind off the sea that swept long hair off faces and long beards to the side. Only a few of my men spoke—those who loved the sound of their own voices and who anticipated the coming entertainment. The rest walked in silence, aware that events may yet turn the bout into a skirmish. The difference between the talkative and the silent lay in battle-experience.
I imagined King Iago and Queen Madwen following behind my band, but did not turn to see them. They would not miss a fight between a petty Norse-Irish king and the son of a great Danish one, especially within their own territory. I supposed the good folk of Aberffraw would also be flocking to the bloody entertainment King Ragnall and Harald the Atheling would provide.
Much of the strand had been swallowed by the tide. Waves broke white as they curled in their advance toward shore. A wealth of sea pebbles chattered as they rolled seaward with each departing flow, only to be carried back with the next wave. If I had still fully believed in the gods of my forebears, I would have remarked upon Njord’s breathing as the source of the rhythmic surges. I also would have absorbed the strength and courage Njord sent me in the wind. As it was, I asked the All-Father to bring me home to Selia, while I let the living smell of the sea, the sounds of its force, and the bite of the north wind feed my strength. I could never deny the sea and the wind.
My Rating: 4 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I was granted complimentary access to The Sea’s Edge by Garth Pettersen as part of my participation in a blog tour for this title with Goddess Fish Promotions. Thank you to all involved in affording me this opportunity! My thoughts are my own and my review is honest.
I didn’t realize when I signed up to review on this blog tour that this title was the fourth in a series, but I found it easy to dive right in and enjoy the story anyway. Although I normally do recommend that readers try to read a series in order, and I’m sure I missed references here and there because I didn’t, this one is possible to read out of order if you must.
The Sea’s Edge follows Harald, a young man trying to balance duty and loyalty to his father King Cnute, and his love and desire for a quiet life with his wife Selia. A quiet life is certainly not what lies in store for Harald, however, and the plot takes us through epic battles, political intrigue, and the tragedy of losing good people too soon.
As a former student of history, I loved all of the historical details included in this story and how vividly the past is brought back to life while telling the story of these fictional men and women. Historical non-fiction writers could definitely learn a thing or two about prose from historical fiction authors like Garth.
About the Author
Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, BC. When he’s not writing, he is riding horses or working on his acreage. 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 for the Windsor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. Garth Pettersen’s historical fiction series, The Atheling Chronicles is published by Tirgearr Publishing and books one, two, and three are available at most online outlets (The Swan’s Road, The Dane Law, and The Cold Hearth). The fourth book, The Sea’s Edge, will be released in November, 2023.
Garth Pettersen will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
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