James Aitcheson was born in Wiltshire and studied History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where began his fascination with the medieval period and the Norman Conquest in particular. Sworn Sword is his first novel.
AUTUMN, 1071. The struggle for England has been long and brutal. Now, however, five years after the fateful Battle of Hastings, only a desperate band of rebels in the Fens stand between King William and absolute mastery of his kingdom.
Tancred, a proud and ambitious knight, is among the Normans marching to crush them. Once lauded for his exploits, he is now all but destitute. Embittered by his dwindling fame and by the oath shackling him to his lord, he yearns for the chance to win back his reputation through spilling enemy blood.
But as the Normans’ attempts to assault the rebels’ island stronghold meet with failure, the king grows increasingly desperate. With morale in camp failing, and the prospect of victory seeming ever more distant, Tancred’s loyalty is put to the test as never before.
For his true path, he knows, lies in a different direction. He seeks his love, Oswynn, once presumed dead but now believed to be held captive by a powerful Danish warlord. His journey will take him from the marshes of East Anglia into the wild, storm-tossed seas of the north, as he ventures in pursuit not just of her, but also of vengeance.
Once again James Aitcheson well and truly knocks the ball out of the park, his latest book Knights of the Hawk is an action packed thriller. There are very few let up in the story for you to take a breath and pause, you literally find yourself flipping to the next page then the next, just one more page, just one more chapter, and then suddenly …its 3am… how did that happen. totally lost in the world of Tancred.
I cant say he is the most likeable character, and in this book possibly even less so, but he is well written , and allows the reader a rare first person view of what it must have been like for the Normans having conquered this wild and proud land of Britain.
As usual the mix of fact and fiction is so well done, so blurred i really don’t know where one start and the other ends. I always feel i have learned something important by the end of these books, even if its just how the British as they are today were formed into who they are. This period of our history is so wild, so varied, so violent, so action packed, so full of change. Never again would this land be conquered, so its so important to understand how it happened, and how we all formed together, how people like Tancred became British, something James Aitcheson does so well, with an obvious love of the towns and villages of old Britain, and what they must have seemed like so long ago.
Every time i read his books i feel transported back to that time, the sights sounds and smells sounds so clichéd in a review, but it really is a relevant comment for his writing, because he brings them all to life.
Another fantastic novel, i look forward to the next. Very highly recommended
The Splintered Kingdom (2012)
Knights of the Hawk (2013)