Cold Heart, Cruel Hand

Author - Laurence J Brown

Another author's review - 4 stars

Ranulf Redbeard rides again! This time the sole survivor of King Harold's Huscarls finds himself fighting alongside Hereward the Wake. There have been many takes on Hereward's story with every author striving to understand this complex man who became one of England's first folk heroes. Author Laurence Brown, with his vivid style and enthusiasm, sticks quite close to the story as written down in the primary source De Gestis Herwardi Saxonis, even to the extent of using the Latinised names for some of the English resistance fighters. Again there are problems with the finer points of detailed research but, as with Housecarl, you can easily put this to one side and enjoy getting swept along in the high adventure.

The book ends with the fall of Ely and the Cap of Refuge to the Normans. The question now is; where will Ranulf Redbeard go next? Hereward carried on his fight for several more years after Ely fell, but many of his comrades left England to emigrate to Constantinople and joining the Varangian Guard. Now isn't that an idea for the next book! Though maybe he will join Earl Waeltheof in his many adventures? Hmm, I'll just have to wait and see won't I!

Geoff Boxell of Wendlewulf