The champion of a dead king has nothing left to lose… And nothing more to fear.
Hastings, 1066. Styrkar the Dane stumbles wounded and delirious from the corpse-strewn battlefield of Senlac Hill. He has watched his king butchered at the hands of foreign knights, seen his countrymen defeated in battle, and he will not stop until there is a reckoning.
Styrkar embarks on a bloody quest to avenge his dead master, becoming an outlaw in the wilds and earning a fearsome reputation.
When a Breton knight seeks to track down this fugitive and make his own name, he can little envisage the task he has set himself. For Styrkar, the Red Wolf, last surviving housecarl to King Harold Godwinson, will carve the story of his vengeance in Frankish flesh… or die in the attempt.
My Review for Oathbound
Oathbound starts with a vivid and well-sketched scene in the immediate aftermath of the battle of Hastings. From there, we’re taken back in time, to Styrkar’s childhood in Denmark, and told how he came to England – an important detail as Styrkar is a Dane, housecarl to the half-Danish Harold Godwinson, and he should never have come to England’s shores. But it is to Harold Godwinson that Styrkar is oath bound at the battle of Hastings.
The following tale is well told, as we follow Styrkar in the aftermath of the English defeat at the battle of Hastings. It’s not long until he is butting heads with the Franks from Normandy, and making himself both a powerful enemy, and a less than friendly ally.
I’m intrigued by how this story will develop in book 2. Styrkar is a complex character, thrust into a world where nothing is at it was, and he’s not above fighting for what he feels is right, but equally, sometimes he just wants to fight and doesn’t consider the consequences. With the build-up for book 2 an important part of the ending to book 1, it’s very clear that our main character (I’m not sure he’s a hero) is really going to be placed in a compromising position throughout Shield Breaker.
Oath Bound is a fascinating start to a new series exploring England after the Norman Conquest, pitting Norman/Frank against a Danish/Saxon, essentially two men for whom England isn’t their home, and yet who must make their lives there, all the same.
And here’s the blurb for the sequel…..
Styrkar the warrior sails to dangerous lands in this thrilling new historical adventure from Richard Cullen. The sequel to Oath Bound, longlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2022.
England, 1068: a land gripped in the iron fist of Frankish invaders. But the Conqueror does not sit easily on his fledgling throne. Rebellion is rife, and the flames of uprising have been ignited in every corner of the kingdom.
Thrown back into this crucible is Styrkar the Dane, former housecarl of the slain King Harold. Forced to travel to Ireland by his deadliest enemy, he must risk the fates of his brothers-in-arms in order to protect the one thing he loves.
So begins a journey that will take Styrkar to the royal court of Dublin, and the frigid climes of the north of England, for loyalty, love and vengeance. He will be tested, beaten and broken, but can any man keep the Red Wolf chained for long?
Meet the Author
Richard Cullen originally hails from Leeds in the heartland of Yorkshire. Oath Bound, his debut historical adventure novel, was longlisted for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize 2022. As well as being a writer of historical adventure, he has also written a number of epic fantasy series as R.S. Ford. If you’d like to learn more about Richard’s books, and read free exclusive content, you can visit his website at follow him on Twitter at, or join him on Instagram.
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