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James Aitcheson Books In Order

Publication Order of Conquest Books

Sword Sword (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Splintered Kingdom (2012) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Knights of the Hawk (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Harrowing (2016) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

James Aitcheson

James Aitcheson is an English historical fiction author best known for his debut novel Sworn Sword. The first of the Conquest series, Sworn Swords, sets the pace for the sequel on the aftermath of the battle of Hastings. Thanks to his background in historical studies, Aitcheson is able to incorporate historical features and characters, making this fiction series sound like it was written by someone who lived during those times. Other notable works include The Harrowing voted as the book of the month in July 2016.

Sworn Sword

Sworn Sword is the first book in the Conquest series. The story is set in the winter of 1069. It has been less than three years since Harold Godwineson and Hastings died. Two thousand Normans, led by Tancred a Dinant, a Norman knight march to North Umbria with only one goal, subdue this troublesome province. The Normans are hungry for battle, and their leader also wants more land and silver. These dreams are thwarted when Normans are ambushed in the streets of Durham by English rebels.
The battle that ensues turns the Normans into a one-person army. Tancred survives, albeit severely wounded. He has no other choice but to escape to York. Tancred’s Lord also dies in battle, and for some time, the Norman Knight does not know what to do. Fortunately, the Norman Vicomte of York takes Tancred into his household. When York is about to be attacked, Tancred’s host tells him together with other Durham survivor to accompany his family to London, and his priest to the monastery in Winchester.

During the journey from York to London, Tancred and his team are keen to avoid the Saxon rebels, bandits, and Viking. However, their efforts are not always successful, and the journey is nothing but rough. The team is lucky to deliver Viscomt’s daughter and wife to London and also escort the priest to his final destination. The knights get curious about the message the priest is carrying at the last leg of the journey, and they solve the mystery before the priest gets to the monastery.

As Tancred and the Knights from York travel to London, the City of York falls, but the Castle is spared. Upon their return, the Knights join William’s army, and the battle continues. The Normans win this time around, and thanks to skilled warriors like Tacred, the Vicomte of York has an easy time triumphing over his enemies.

This story is told through the eyes of Tancred a Dinant. The cast features historical figures who make an essential part of English history. The story comes in three sections made up of a travelogue sandwiched between two battle sequences. The travelogue is a welcome break that adds a lot of character to this story. Given that this is a historical book, contemporary names are used. If you are not conversant with English history, the book comes with a comprehensive glossary that will help you understand the places the author references in the story.

The Sworn Sword is a well-written, action-packed novel perfect for history lovers. Get a new perspective on the time before Norman invaded Britain. Aside from enjoying the intruding story and the beautiful cast, you will also get some facts about this important period in history. Add some exciting scenes of battle, and you can be sure that this is a page-turner.

The Splintered Kingdom

The Splintered Kingdom is the second book of the conquest kingdom. The story starts where the Sworn Sword ends. It is the summer of 1070, and Tancred has just been promoted to a lord given his bravery during the battle for York. With his new status comes a manor where Tancred calls home and knights under him. The fields are bursting with produce, and there is a woman to warm Tancred’s nights. However, an alliance between Tancred’s old and new enemies threatens the status quo.

The marching against King William is looming. The English have teamed up with the Viking, and Welsh forces and the Normans are left with no choice but to liaise with unlikely allies. Tancred has enemies’ closer home-the Norman barons. To make things worse, his relationship with Beatrice Malet makes him come close to losing his life. The idyll life in York is replaced by one battle after another. From personal battles with men who should be friends to fighting enemies who want to take down the kingdom, Tancred goes through it all.

Even with all odds against him, Tancred leads a dangerous expedition into Wales. Winning this battle will surely bring Tancred a lot of fame, just like a failure will ruin his reputation. As the war rages, both England and Tancred’s destiny are at stake. This journey through wars and conflict can be harrowing at times, but the action from the start will keep you glued to the pages. It helps that the characters in the story are nothing but fascinating. Tancred is a likable character. He is brave, loyal, fair, and a skilled warrior. The warrior is so in love with his people that he is willing to die for them. He also comes with a dark side that has put him in harm’s way a few times. All in all, Tancred lacks the arrogance that came with the invaders who went to England in 1066.

This is an enthralling story of battle, vengeance, and honor. Get to read about the saga during the struggle for England. The story is well-written in the first person, which makes it easy for the reader to identify with the lead character. The author is keen to follow the sequence of events recorded in history while adding details that turn this into one interesting story.

If you are a historical fiction fan, The Splintered Kingdom is perfect. The story features enough historical icons, not to mention the action-packed war scenes spread throughout the book. The author is successful in painting a picture of how life was in the past, and it is hard for readers not to feel Tancred suffer or rejoice when the warrior leads his troops to victory.

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