Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (from publisher)
Before the thorns taught me their sharp lessons and bled weakness from me I had but one brother, and I loved him well. But those days are gone and what is left of them lies in my mother’s tomb. Now I have many brothers, quick with knife and sword, and as evil as you please. We ride this broken empire and loot its corpse. They say these are violent times, the end of days when the dead roam and monsters haunt the night. All that’s true enough, but there’s something worse out there, in the dark. Much worse.
From being a privileged royal child, raised by a loving mother, Jorg Ancrath has become the Prince of Thorns, a charming, immoral boy leading a grim band of outlaws in a series of raids and atrocities. The world is in chaos: violence is rife, nightmares everywhere. Jorg has the ability to master the living and the dead, but there is still one thing that puts a chill in him. Returning to his father’s castle Jorg must confront horrors from his childhood and carve himself a future with all hands turned against him.
Winter King: Henry VII and the Dawn of Tudor England by Thomas Penn (purchased)
It was 1501. England had been ravaged for decades by conspiracy, violence, murders, coups and countercoups. Through luck, guile and ruthlessness, Henry VII, the first of the Tudor kings, had clambered to the top of the heap–a fugitive with a flimsy claim to England’s throne. For many he remained a usurper, a false king.
But Henry had a crucial asset: his queen and their children, the living embodiment of his hoped-for dynasty. Queen Elizabeth was a member of the House of York. Henry himself was from the House of Lancaster, so between them they united the warring parties that had fought the bloody century-long War of the Roses. Now their older son, Arthur, was about to marry a Spanish princess. On a cold November day sixteen-year-old Catherine of Aragon arrived in London for a wedding that would mark a triumphal moment in Henry’s reign.
In this remarkable book, Thomas Penn re-creates the story of the tragic, magnetic Henry VII–a controlling, paranoid, avaricious monarch who was entering the most perilous years of his long reign.
Hereward by James Wilde (purchased)
1062: While the ailing King Edward, known as the Confessor, wastes his final days building monuments to God, across the Channel the brutal William the Bastard of Normandy plots to swamp all England in a tide of blood. The war drums are beating, the ravens are gathering. But with the king’s closest advisors scheming and squabbling, any hope of resistance to the Norman duke lies with just one man. Hereward is the King of Terror. Hereward is a warrior, trained in the lethal art of spear, axe and sword, a master tactician, a mercenary, and, to both ally and enemy, the devil in human form – as adept at slaughter as the foes gathering to claim Edward’s throne. Yet the men who need him most have made him outlaw, and Hereward must carve a bloody swathe from the frozen hills of Northumbria to the war-torn fields of Flanders just to stay alive. Here, during the darkest age in history, are the early days of the man who would be forged into one of England’s greatest heroes. It is the story of two mismatched allies, Hereward the Warrior and Alric the Monk, one fighting to save the land he loves, the other to save his friend’s soul. This is the story of the last Englishman, the first terrorist…the forgotten hero.