Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Forgotten Kingdom, by Signe Pike {ends 9/22}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

The Selgovae were not like other Britons. They kept close to their gods and the beings of the old forest they tended. Those I’d met had little care for finery, though they possessed wealth in plenty, for they traded in furs—wolf, bear, rabbit, hind. Their huts were warm and dark, tight from weather. Their halls were modest and made entirely from wood, devoid of the rich outer carvings beloved by our people.

Soon we reached the foot of another small hill, and their huts appeared, hunched beneath the snow-covered branches of the forest. People peered from quickly opened doors, then disappeared behind them. I could not blame them, given the sight of us. At last we climbed an ice-slicked footpath through rusty spines of bracken, and my face was met with a gust of woodsmoke. The hall was long and narrow, with tidy thatching, a heavy set of oaken doors waiting beneath unadorned beams.

While this is the second book in a trilogy, it was understandable without having read the first book, and still a quite compelling story on its own.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: The Forgotten Kingdom, by Signe Pike {ends 9/22}
AD 573. Imprisoned in her chamber, Languoreth awaits news in torment. Her husband and son have ridden off to wage war against her brother, Lailoken. She doesn’t yet know that her young daughter, Angharad, who was training with Lailoken to become a Wisdom Keeper, has been lost in the chaos. As one of the bloodiest battles of early medieval Scottish history scatters its survivors to the wind, Lailoken and his men must flee to exile in the mountains of the Lowlands, while nine-year-old Angharad must summon all Lailoken has taught her and follow her own destiny through the mysterious, mystical land of the Picts.

In the aftermath of the battle, old political alliances unravel, opening the way for the ambitious adherents of the new religion: Christianity. Lailoken is half-mad with battle sickness, and Languoreth must hide her allegiance to the Old Way to survive her marriage to the next Christian king of Strathclyde. Worst yet, the new King of the Angles is bent on expanding his kingdom at any cost. Now the exiled Lailoken, with the help of a young warrior named Artur, may be the only man who can bring the Christians and the pagans together to defeat the encroaching Angles. But to do so, he must claim the role that will forever transform him. He must become the man known to history as “Myrddin.”

Bitter rivalries are ignited, lost loves are found, new loves are born, and old enemies come face-to-face with their reckoning in this compellingly fresh look at one of the most enduring legends of all time.

Wow. The beginning of this book was a little confusing. The names were unfamiliar, and there was a whole book before it—was there some fundamental knowledge that was needed to understand what was happening here? But the magic that is a well-written book soon took over. The pages kept turning in a desire to find out what happens next!

The basics of the story are covered in the summary, but the Author’s Note at the end was very interesting. What is the difference between historical fiction and historical fantasy? This book could be quite enjoyable for fans of historical fiction, or for fans of fantasy as well. The difference is hard to discern when based on a time period of which the reader has limited previous knowledge.

While following along with characters whose names are difficult to pronounce sometimes presents a challenge, the fates of Languoreth, Lailoken, and Angharad kept me engaged. I’d give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars and will definitely consider putting the other two books of the trilogy on my to-be-read list.

{click here to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a wife, mother, and remote-learning supervisor to a middle schooler and an elementary school student. She enjoys snacking, reading, and overcoming zoom challenges. She also blogs at SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of The Forgotten Kingdom!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Tuesday, September 22nd, at 11:59pm EST, and the winner will be emailed the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

The Forgotten Kingdom, by Signe Pike

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