Sworn Sword

Sworn Sword

James Aitcheson / Jan 24, 2020

Sworn Sword An ambitious young Norman soldier fights against desperate odds to consolidate the conquest of England in the years after the Battle of Hastings Brilliant first novel in the mould of Requiem by Robyn

  • Title: Sworn Sword
  • Author: James Aitcheson
  • ISBN: 9781848093249
  • Page: 449
  • Format: Hardcover
  • An ambitious young Norman soldier fights against desperate odds to consolidate the conquest of England in the years after the Battle of Hastings Brilliant first novel in the mould of Requiem by Robyn Young January 1069 Less than three years have passed since Hastings and the death of the usurper, Harold Godwineson In the depths of winter, two thousand Normans march toAn ambitious young Norman soldier fights against desperate odds to consolidate the conquest of England in the years after the Battle of Hastings Brilliant first novel in the mould of Requiem by Robyn Young January 1069 Less than three years have passed since Hastings and the death of the usurper, Harold Godwineson In the depths of winter, two thousand Normans march to subdue the troublesome province of Northumbria Tancred a Dinant, an ambitious and oath sworn knight and a proud leader of men, is among them, hungry for battle, for silver and for land But at Durham the Normans are ambushed in the streets by English rebels In the battle that ensues, their army is slaughtered almost to a man Badly wounded, Tancred barely escapes with his life His lord is among those slain Soon the enemy are on the march, led by the dispossessed prince Eadgar, the last of the ancient Saxon line, who is determined to seize the realm he believes is his Yet even as Tancred seeks vengeance for his lord s murder, he finds himself caught up in secret dealings between a powerful Norman magnate and a shadow from the past As the Norman and English armies prepare to clash, Tancred begins to uncover a plot which harks back to the day of Hastings itself A plot which, if allowed to succeed, threatens to undermine the entire Conquest The fate of the Kingdom hangs in the balance.

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    About "James Aitcheson"

      • James Aitcheson

        James Aitcheson was born in Wiltshire in 1985 and studied History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where he developed an interest in the Middle Ages, and in Anglo Saxon England and the Norman Conquest in particular.His debut novel, Sworn Sword, featuring the knight Tancred and set in the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, was published in 2011 The first volume in the Conquest Series, it has since been followed by two sequels The Splintered Kingdom and Knights of the Hawk.The Harrowing, James s fourth novel, was published by Quercus in July 2016 and named by The Times as a Book of the Month.jamesaitcheson


    1. James Aitcheson's star is rising.However, it is not quite there yet, he has some growth to develop and I expect that will be present in the next book The Splintered Kingdom when it comes out September 2012. Still, Sworn Sword was a fabulous surprise. I had been put off by the covers of the book for such a long time as they have a rather mass market design to them, but unlike me, others should not be put off by the action sequence covers as they do not tell the real truth of this author's work. A [...]

    2. With his first novel, author James Aitcheson looks at a period of history that is not often explored in historical fiction, the Norman consolidation of their hold on England, post Hastings. This novel is set in winter, early spring of 1069 as the Normans are attempting to complete their pacification of Northumbria. As the novel opens they are literally handed their heads at the Battle of Dunholm (Durham) by followers of Eadgar the Atheling, the Saxon claimant to the crown.The story is told throu [...]

    3. I really enjoyed this book. For a first effort from the author, I was truly impressed.Action right from the start, which drew me in. Much less action through the middle, but replaced with intrigue. Picked up again at the end.Never got bored; never scratched my head and said "huh?"; nothing I had to reluctantly slog through to get to the good parts.Anxious to read the next one!

    4. rating: 4/5 I wasn't sure what to expect from this novel, it was a bookclub read my library had and sounded like it would have sword battles and shield walls and other action-y goodness. And, although it has some flaws, I loved it! It starts with a well written, action-packed battle. But then slows down and lets the plot progress before a big finish with another epic battle. Tancred is a knight sworn to a Norman (French) lord during the invasion of England in 1060s. Having fought at the Battle o [...]

    5. Interesting because it's from the POV of a young Norman [actually he's from Brittany] knight in the aftermath of Battle of Hastings and the Norman Conquest, but the novel itself was not outstanding. The action sequences were well done, but the characterizations left a lot to be desired. Tancred a Dinant, the protagonist, was fully-fleshed, but the others paled in comparison--not exactly cardboard--but types. The novel read smoothly and was not a long read. Right from the start the English and No [...]

    6. Unfortunately I was kinda disappointed with this one. I really came into it with the best of intentions and high hopes, as I love this period of history and was looking for a new series that can scratch the itch only historical fiction can. Things started well enough with a harrowing battle between Norman knights and a bunch of pissed off Northumbrians. Aitcheson can definitely do guy-hits-other-guy-with-cool-sword type stuff as well as any other guy or gal that writes this kinda stuff, but ther [...]

    7. A great book. The English have been invaded by the vile French. A French king proclaims the English land as his domain and its people as his subjects. So we know that the good guys are going to be some dashing English knights who are called upon to rescue the day. But no! James Aitcheson gives us a completely different viewpoint. The story is told via narrative from the thoughts and actions of a French knight - Tancrid. And the novel shows us how in his own little world, this French knight belie [...]

    8. Sworn Sword sweeps us into the 11thc just as the English are on the rise after their devastating defeat at Hastings just over two years before. From the outset we are thrust into a world of where life depends on who wins the battles. Bloodshed and loss is now a way of life for most people since William of Normandy clawed the English crown from the head of the usurper’, Harold Godwinson. With the opening focusing on an English uprising in the streets of Dunholm, strong hold of Robert de Commine [...]

    9. The year is 1069, the location England, three years after the Battle of Hastings. The Normans won possession of the kingdom that day, but even three years later, not all the land is subdued. Tancred a Dinant, a sworn sword, or knight, pledged to a lord, fought at Hastings. He saw the carnage there and the slaughter of all the men that occurred that day as the English usurper, Harold Godwineson, was defeated and killed. Tancred is sworn to Robert de Commines, and has been for more than fifteen ye [...]

    10. I enjoyed the story in this one set in post Norman invasion Britain. Told from the perspective of a Norman Knight it covers events during 1069 and focuses on Saxon attempts to throw out the Normans, especially from Northern England. It has lots of interesting characters and for a first novel Aitcheson writes well, with only the odd inconsistency. I did fine that the latter part of the book wasn't quite as good as the rest of it, so overall probably 3 1/2 rather than a strong 4. However, there is [...]

    11. Well this such hard book to review, on one side we have wonderfully written scenes of battle, life in 1069 england. Then we have not very interesting characters, annoying characters and characters who are just meh.I will be reading the others in this series as the author has improved in his writing skills from what I have been imformed

    12. History is written by the winners.As someone much cleverer (Winston Churchill?) than me once said.Except for the aftermath of the 1066 invasion and conquering of Olde England, by the Normans. All the stories about that disaster I can remember reading, are by the losers; the English.Well, we've got the Bayeux Tapestry, of course, but that stayed in Normandy and is a little biased, I think most people would admit.There is 'The Doomsday Book', but that is more a stock-taking and history has to be p [...]

    13. The author James Aitcheson has not only written something pretty remarkable and captivating for his young age and in a difficult genre to crack which is often filled with middle-aged to old men/women, he has awakened and created a whole other aspect and slant on history and historical figures.Most of the popular historical fiction is centred around Anglo-Saxons or Vikings or Civil Wars (in America and England) or royal courts from the sixteenth century onwards but yet I do believe James is the f [...]

    14. I loved this-a great and promising debut novel-and am looking forward to more from this talented young author. It follows the years post the Battle of Hastings, as we join Tancred, a man at arms and several of his friends and colleagues, as they are entrusted with a delicate mission for their new master. Twists and turns abound in the well paced novel, and it has set an intriguing scene for the further books in the series.I always enjoy historical novels "a la Bernard Cornwell"-but find at times [...]

    15. I finished this book really fast (which tells something), but somehow I do not have all that much to say about it. I liked some scenes, and the main character is also quite likeable. It is interesting to read from Norman point of view, although I would expect more details about what makes Normans so specific, why they went to England, basically some more general setting for the story. Also, character development could use some improvements - I got to know the main character (somewhat), but the r [...]

    16. I'd say 3.5 stars maybe. Enjoyed it, but overall I can't help comparing it to Cornwell's Saxon series and because of that it just falls short.

    17. I have read so many books about this period and other equally bloody eras and they have generally been quite good if you have a fairly strong stomach and an ability to overlook the odd historical faux pas in the name of a good story and, to be honest, I was expecting much the same from this one. Boy was I wrong! This was, from start to end, an excellent story with a fast pace that never lets up, well written battle scenes that capture the brutality of the event without causing you to revisit you [...]

    18. My first impression 20 to 30 pages into this was that this author writes a lot like Bernard Cornwell, but without the much appreciated element of humor Cornwell injects into his Uhtred series. Getting past that minor criticism, this was a really engaging story of a period of English history I had not given much thought to, the aftermath of William's 1066 victory at Hastings. Conflict and resistance to the Norman takeover lasted for years and the years immediately following saw lots pitched battl [...]

    19. c2011. FWFTB: Northumbria, rebellion, oath-sworn, vengeance, slain. It is not often that I have read a book with such an exciting start. The reader is thrust into the action and already rooting for the hero. Really good writing. The rapid pace is maintained all the way through and the fight scenes are described very well. Bloody and gory but not overdone at all. This is a part of history that is very murky so the historical notes at the end of the book were most interesting. I also haven't come [...]

    20. What I really like about this book is the historical context. It's not just a story, it meshes in with the history of the time. That said, it's not 100% accurate on the details (as outlined by the author in an appendix), but good enough for me.This book has good character development as we learn about Tancred (a Knight) and follow his life through a very brief span of a few months where his lord is killed and he deals with that. The book also provides a fair chunk of back story on how he got to [...]

    21. Sworn Sword is the first book in James Aitcheson’s 1066: The Bloody Aftermath series. The novel is based two years after the Norman conquest of England and tells the tale of Tancred a Dinant, a Norman Knight serving under the Earl of Northumbria, Robert de Commines. Tancred’s story starts with the Norman capture of the city of Durham (or Dunholm as it’s called in the book). Tancred is on a scouting mission looking for any English fugitives that have escaped the attack on the city. But his [...]

    22. The novel starts with the new Norman Earl of Northumbria attempting to establish himself in Durham in 1069. The locals aren't keen on having a Norman overlord and the hero of the story Tancred of Dinant loses his lord, his lover and most of his friends whilst barely escaping with his own life. Then circumstances force him to swear an oath to a new lord he knows nothing about and to undertake a dangerous journey from York.The post conquest period isn't as well known as other bits of British histo [...]

    23. About a month or so ago, I was in my local Waterstones when I spotted two books both set around the time of the Norman Invasion but telling the tale but different angles: Hereward and this. Humming ang haaing, I eventually decided on Hereward and then, later, came across this novel for sale in Tesco's picking it up there.Of the two books, I have to say - and despite a title that sounds like a bad b-movie ('"Sworn Sword: 1066: The Aftermath!" coming soon to a theatre near you!') - this is the bet [...]

    24. A well-written debut novel and first installment in a series that will follow the lives of the Normans and the Northumbrians following the 1066 (ish) battle of Hastings. This is history I knew nothing of and I wish I had read the historical notes before, and not after, the novel.The story lacked a bit in depth but it was a very enjoyable book to read. Think of the scenario we have all seen at some point on TV where a young child is reading, say - Treasure Island, and has all of the characters an [...]

    25. I really enjoyed the tale and I am thankful on this Thanksgiving Eve that the author, James Aitcheson, has many years of great historical fiction to write ahead of him!Main character Tancred, though engaging, is a bit one dimensional. I found myself hoping he would become more crafty or diabolical -- like the chaplain he served for so much of the story. Early on, I really enjoyed author Aictheson's use of the old English names of towns or castles.I still don't understand why after everything Tan [...]

    26. Obviously my rating will give away the fact that I did not enjoy this story much. If I'm going to read a book this wordy and descriptive I need characters that I can enjoy. I really found only Tancred was sufficiently fleshed out as a character and he did not capture my imagination at all. Everyone else is just a name with no personality.There is no doubt in my mind that this author did a phenomenal job of the research and history. I, personally, just needed something more.

    27. As a keen reader of historical action fiction I REALLY wanted to like this book - it’s set in a pivotal time in British history & I’ve not really read anything set in this time period before.However, as I started to read I found the prose to be slightly turgid and the storyline rather meandering with some sluggish and slightly odd character interactions. The main character, Tancred a Dinan - a knight in service of his Norman lord, seemed hard to like either way - not because he seemed fl [...]

    28. First in the Conquest historical fiction series and revolving around Tancred a Dinant, a loyal knight of Lord Robert's in 1069 in England. This ARC was sent to me by the author for an honest review.My TakeAnother buried treasure in my moving boxes. It's a brief glimpse into Tancred a Dinant's life within the space of a few months with one battle after another — I did enjoy reading from a fighting man's perspective as opposed to a noble's.This was a mixed blessing with Aitcheson providing a goo [...]

    29. To be honest, this one has surprised me. It sat on my book shelf for several months. I kept picking it up but for some reason couldn't bring myself to read it. Now that I have, I have bought the rest of the trilogy and look forward to reading them too.Aitcheson writes a little like Bernard Cornwell, only better. The story is much more subtle than I expected it to be with no where near as much blood and gore as I have become used to in these "knights of old" historical novels. It makes a wonderfu [...]

    30. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised. Where I would not put the author's historical fiction up to Bernard Cornwell levels just yet, it was a good read, for those who like historical fiction that works to stay within the history (as opposed to alternative history, or attempts at historical fiction where the history is wrong!) I am looking forward to the rest of the series.

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