14 Jun 2013



In a panoramic novel against a backdrop of violence and political turbulence in the eleventh century, Ivar, a Danish orphan is enslaved to the most successful and experienced soldier of the age. He eventually becomes one of the elite bodyguard of the Emperor of Turkey. Meanwhile his distant relative, Torkil, the grandson of an Anglo Norse thayne, advances his military career in the service of Harold Godwinsson.

History dictates that one day the two warriors, caught up in the maelstrom of treachery, carnage, greed, lust and loyalty, will meet. When they do, there are devastating results for one of them, his king and his country.

The crown of England was the most contested in all Europe; on the death of Edward the Confessor, Harold Goodwinsson took possession of it. In 1066 two other claimants to the throne, a Norwegian and a Norman tried to wrest it from him. This is the story of Ivar, Torkil and the three kings they served.   
....... Outer back cover.

FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1: Trial by Ordeal): The rider coaxed his horse to slowly push its head through the tall reads.

MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 117): Ivar asked the swordsmith to inlay the claw in the pommel of his sword. The legend in his family was that the claw would protect the bearer from death at the hands of a stranger. What better place to put it than on the sword which would accompany Ivar when he faced the dangers of battle.

MY THOUGHTS: Set in a turbulent 11th century England, Three Kings - One Throne will undoubtedly be enjoyed by historical fiction fans of all ages (I know I liked it) but I'd especially recommend it for teenagers/young adults as whilst the story is never 'dumbed down' for this audience I do think it is written in such a detailed and yet simplistic enough way as to make it particularly accessible to them.

Narrated by not one but two characters, something that doesn't always work well and can be confusing. In this instance however an admirable job is done in telling the story from the perspective of two such seemingly different characters. And yet are they?

Though occasionally almost verging on text book territory, I admire that the author combined passages from actual texts of the era whilst going to such lengths to bring to life the events, the politics, the places, the people both real and, in particular, fictionalised, of the time. No mean feat when covering such a colourful period in history in just over 250 pages.

A satisfying and highly interesting read, my only real concerns being the minute print and the footnotes which, loved by some and loathed by others, I personally prefer in the form of a glossary that I can consult as and when.

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Brandi Kosiner said...

The dual perspective sounds like it worked well for this one.

Kelly said...

As you know, this is a genre I love...so I imagine it will go on my wish list. I was surprised to learn it's so short.

Gina R said...

Alas, far too historical for me, but I agree on the footnotes versus glossary option; the latter is much easier to navigate and doesn't require the font type to be microscopic.

Cherie Reich said...

Ooo, this does sound like a really interesting book! Thanks for the review!

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

Oh sometimes I do love footnotes that you can glance at instead of glossary you refer to at the back of the book.

Mama Zen said...

Oh, this sounds good!

Aunt Mary said...

Thank you so much my dear friend for this so interesting review , it really sounds like a good book to read :)

Brian Joseph said...

I find that this was such a fascinating time period. Perhaps the fact that it is so murky, at least in my mind, that this is so.

The Turkish connection is also very interesting. I just finished up Lost to the West: The Forgotten Byzantine Empire That Rescued Western Civilization by Lars Brownworth which covered that region during this era.

It seems that not too much historical fiction is derived from this time period. This one sounds good.

Betty Manousos said...

hi tracy, thanks for your great review!

this sounds like a really good book...i'm not a huge fan of historical fiction, but this era and setting has so much i love.

hope you're having a great weekend~

big hugs!X

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I'm with you. I prefer a glossary to footnotes.

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Personally, I don't like any kind of notes in a fiction book, as I find them to be a total distraction from the story ... to me that's what non-fiction and text books are for!!

If there do have to be notes and annotations, I would certainly prefer them as footnotes on the page in question. I can't think of anything more tiresome and annoying than having to keep flicking back and forth between a glossary and the story.

As you have probably gathered, this book won't be finding itself on my shelves anytime soon, if for no other reason than I think that it would be just a little too heavy going and too historical for me.

A nice review as always though.


Suko said...

Excellent review, as usual. This does sound interesting, although the tiny print would be hard to contend with.