So…here we are at the final post for my 2017 Reading Challenge. Wow! How did the year go by so fast?
This last entry was a no-brainer for me. Recently I picked up Matthew Harffy‘s novella, Kin of Cain, and it fits this month’s category perfectly. Like his other books, this story is set in 7th century Northumbria, in the year 630 AD.
This book is a companion to his other, longer books, set in this era. The first of these, The Serpent Sword, I reviewed here on the blog. And the author was gracious enough to provide me an interview as well.
So, yes, I am a fan of Harffy’s work. I have purposely not read any of his other Bernicia Chronicles books yet, as I haven’t wanted his interpretation of 7th century Britain and it’s people to colour my own, while I am in the midst of writing mine. But being that this one was a shorter story I thought I could risk it. And I’m glad I did!
The other books in the series are about Beobrand, a young man who goes on a quest to avenge his brother’s murder. This novella takes place before the events in the first book, The Serpent Sword, and the main character is Octa, Beobrand’s brother, who is a warrior in the court of King Edwin of Bernicia.
It is wintertime, and evil is stirring. Livestock and men have been found ripped apart, their bones gnawed upon. Edwin sends a group of his trusted warriors and thegns, Octa among them, into the icy marshes to find and kill the beast that is responsible for these atrocities.
This story is definitely engaging. It’s suspenseful and a little creepy here and there. And full disclosure, there is some gore, so if that kind of thing bothers you, be warned. The writing is solid. The details of seventh century Britain are done right, immersing you into this world. And Harffy includes a twist at the end that I really loved.
It’s a short, satisfying read, perfect if you want something that is not too long in the midst of this busy season. And if you want to delve more deeply into this fascinating world, Harffy’s Bernicia Chronicles now has four books, with a fifth to be released soon.
My rating: Five stars. Exciting, engaging tale of seventh century Northumbria, with good writing to boot.