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Oswiu ~ Review

Oswiu: King of Kings
The Northumbrian Thrones #3
By Edoardo Albert

Following the murder of his brother Oswald, Oswiu has taken the throne. But the death of the high king has torn the alliances that had once held the kingdoms together. Add to that treachery and betrayal within his own kingdom and Oswiu has a lot of work to do if he hopes to rebuild his brother's kingdom.

As Oswiu and Penda each manipulate and position themselves to make alliances to strengthen their claims but at the same time the old and new are vying for the hearts of the people. Will the old gods lose to the new God and his message of salvation spreading through the land?

This is a period of violence and upheaval that was truly a dark age but this was the foundational shapings of a nation that still stands. One can honestly say that perhaps the choosing of those whom one calls friend and adviser is the most important decision one can make when leading. Throughout this series a poor choice can lead to regret and even loss of life.

I really enjoyed this chance to explore this time and place in history.  The author Edoardo Albert brings to life the characters - some of whom the reader can empathy with, while others make one cringe as they enter the scene.  There is a synopsis of the two previous books at the beginning of the book to refresh the reader's memory as well as a listing of the important personages from the book (and series). The author includes historical notes at the end of the book allowing the reader and insight to the few literary liberties that occurred as well as a glimpse into what happened after this story ended. This series must be read in order to fully appreciate and understand the subtle and not so subtle undercurrents of a land and people on the cusp of change.

I was provided a review copy of this book by the publisher with no expectation of a positive review - all expressed opinions are my own.

About the Book:
In the third entry chronicling the rise of Christian kings in Britain, Oswald dies and the great pagan king Penda becomes overlord in his place. To stand against the increasingly powerful Penda, Oswiu, king of Bernicia, tries to unite the smaller neighboring kingdoms by marrying a daughter of Deira. But the struggle for power leads Oswiu to order the assassination of the king of Deira. He wins the throne but loses the approval of the people. In atonement, he establishes a monastery at the site of the slaying. 

What will happen when Oswiu and High King Penda at last meet in battle? Though the kingdom may become politically one, both the Celtic and Roman strands of Christian faith vie for supremacy, mirroring the king's own struggle for power.