Shieldwall by Justin Hill
The year is 1016 and England burns while the Viking armies blockade the great city of London. King Ethelred lies dying and the England he knew dies with him; the warring kingdoms of Mercia, Wessex and Northymbria tremble on the brink of great change. One man lives to bear witness to the upheaval: Godwin, barely out of boyhood and destined to become one of his country’s great warriors. When Ethelred’s son Edmund takes the throne, determined to succeed where his father failed, he plucks Godwin from domestic peace to be right-hand man in his loyal shield wall. Godwin must traverse the meadows, wintry forests and fogbound marshes of Saxon England, raising armies of monks, ploughmen and shepherds against the Viking invader. With epic courage and ferocity, Godwin and Edmund repel the butchering Danes in three great battles. But an old enemy, the treacherous Earl Eadric, dogs Godwin’s footsteps, and as the final battle approaches, around the valiant English the trap begins to close. (Goodreads)
After Godwin’s father falls out with Alderman Eadric, he is held as hostage at King Ethelred’s court. The king’s son Edmund saves his life and they become friends. Godwin rises from being the second son to be the king’s right-hand man. They have the same vision of England and Godwin stays loyal to him even when things go from bad to worse.
I’m having some troubles writing this review but I’m not sure why is that.
To say this was action packed is an understatement. There was battle after battle and while I do like battles it really took the center stage when someone dies it’s told in great detail. The problem is that I didn’t get to really know the characters besides Godwin or what they were thinking. Lot of back-slapping and other manly activities but I kept missing for something else. I did like Kendra who first nursed Godwin’s father in the end and became Godwin’s mistress after that. But I would have liked to know what happened to her later on.
I know this gives the idea that I hated the book but I did enjoy it. It just had the action as the main point instead of historical things. I liked Godwin and Edmund but Knut was just like a spoiled brat. Haven’t read many books about this era and some of the characters were so different from what I’ve thought them to be.
Published: Little Brown and Company (2011)