Book Review : The Splintered Kingdom (The Bloody Aftermath of 1066, #2)

The Splintered Kingdom (The Bloody Aftermath of 1066, #2)The Splintered Kingdom by James Aitcheson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I read James Aitcheson’s first book in the series (Sworn Sword my review here) and have to say I wasn’t particularly enthused by the way it was written. This book (book 2) was better, but I feel that it still falls somewhat short.

This novel covers the various post 1066 conquest rebellions that flare up all over England in 1070 and even touches on to that most infamous of episodes in the Norman Conquest ‘the harrowing of the North’.

The story line is again somewhat meandering and uninspiring and Tancred, the central figure’s character still feels like it’s not fully formed in the author’s mind and consequently he comes across as a little anodyne.

The author wants us to believe that Tancred is a knight who is held in high renown and has a reputation amongst his peers for great deeds and fighting prowess. However this is never really made believable, given what he does or achieves in this book (& even taking into account his exploits in Book 1). He never really seems to warrant the reputation he is supposed to have. Again this may be because the character is not fully fleshed out. I get the impression that the author is trying to have us believe Tancred is the kind of hero in the same mould of characters that feature in books by authors such as Cornwell / Scarrow / Iggulden et al. But the case for viewing him in this way is never really made.

So in summary this book is better than book one, hence an extra star, with more action and slightly more believable, but like Book 1, it still doesn’t feel entirely satisfactory to me.

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Book Synopsis

‘Official’ Book Description

England, 1070

Renowned for his exploits, the knight Tancred has become a lord in his own right, with men to command and a manor to call home on the turbulent Welsh Marches.

But his hard-fought gains are soon placed in peril, as the Normans’ newly won kingdom falls under siege on all sides. A coalition of enemies both old and new prepares to march, and King William’s fragile hold on England is brought to breaking point.

Amidst the turmoil, and with rivals seeking to undermine him, Tancred is chosen to lead an expedition deep into Wales. His sternest challenge yet, it will be either his chance for glory, or his undoing.