Here’s the blurb
In the wild lands of Norway, Hunlaf must quell a vicious slave uprising in Matthew Harffy’s new historical adventure.
A wild land. A lethal fanatic. A violent revolt.
Northumbria, AD 794. Those who rule the seas, rule the land. None know the truth of this more than the Vikings. To compete with the seafaring raiders, the king of Northumbria orders the construction of his own longships under the command of oath-sworn Norseman, Runolf.
When the Vikings attack again, the king sends cleric turned warrior, Hunlaf, on a mission to persuade the king of Rogaland into an alliance. But Hunlaf and Runolf have other plans; kin to seek out, old scores to settle, and a heretical tome to find in the wild lands of the Norse.
Their voyage takes them into the centre of a violent uprising. A slave has broken free of his captors and, with religious fervour, is leading his fanatical followers on a rampage – burning all in his path. Hunlaf must brave the Norse wilderness, and overcome deadly foes, to stop this madman. Can he prevent a night of flames and slaughter?
A Night of Flames returns fans to the world of Hunlaf and Runolf. While book 1 focused on the initial raids against Lindisfarne, book 2, eventually, takes the reader further away to seek out the home of the Raiders. An intriguing idea, and an interesting way of keeping with the same characters, when there’s such a huge historical gap between those first raids, and the later, more sustained ones.
Throughout the book, Hunlaf constantly questions himself – is he a warrior or is he a man of God? There are some illusions, through foreshadowing in the narrative, to possible future adventures for Hunlaf, far from the shores of Northumbria. But for now, we have Hunlaf’s accounting of the building of a ship to brave the Whale Road, and the journey he subsequently takes, via Orkney to Norway. It’s a slow burner. Not until nearly halfway through the book does Hunlaf reach his destination. And even there, his journey isn’t at an end, and nor are the perils he must face.
The author, admits, in the endnotes, that this book is big on the fiction. This is understandable. There’s so little information about events at this time, and I confess to feeling a little sorry for him having to pick a new thread for this story of the late eighth century. It would be ‘easier’ to choose a later period when more is known, and yet, equally, it allows for much wider scope. Hunlaf and his fellow warriors aren’t constrained by history to perform certain tasks.
Fans of the author are sure to enjoy book 2 in Hunlaf’s story. Book 3 promises to take readers even further afield, and I look forward to it.
A Night of Flames is released tomorrow, March 3rd 2022. Preorder now. Unless you’re reading this after March 3rd and then it will be available anyway:)
About the author
Matthew Harffy grew up in Northumberland where the rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline had a huge impact on him. He now lives in Wiltshire, England, with his wife and their two daughters.
Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3sOTmAe
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