Wednesday 27 June 2018

BLOG TOUR: The Warrior with the Pierced Heart (The Shadow of the Raven Book 2) - Chris Bishop

In the second book in the exciting and atmospheric Shadow of the Raven series we rejoin novice monk turned warrior, Matthew as he marches ahead of King Alfred, to Exeter to herald the King's triumphant return to the city, marking his great victory at Edington.

It should have been a journey of just five or perhaps six days but, as Matthew is to find to his cost, in life the road you're given to travel is seldom what you wish for and never what you expect.

In this much-anticipated sequel Chris Bishop again deposits the reader slap-bang into the middle of Saxon Britain, where battles rage and life is cheap. An early confrontation leaves Matthew wounded, but found and tended by a woodland-dwelling healer he survives, albeit with the warning that the damage to his heart will eventually take his life.

Matthew faces many challenges as he battles to make his way back to Chippenham to be reunited with King Alfred and also with the woman he wants to make his wife. This is an epic tale of triumph over adversity as we will the warrior with the pierced heart to make it back to those he loves, before it is too late.

What did I think?

I absolutely loved Blood and Destiny, the first book in the Shadow of the Raven series, by Chris Bishop and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of book 2: The Warrior with the Pierced Heart to continue Edward's story.  Edward is a novice monk, known as Matthew, who has relinquished his calling to fight for King Alfred against the Viking invasion.  Although you could read this as a standalone, I think it is imperative to read Blood and Destiny first to really appreciate the story in The Warrior with the Pierced Heart.

We catch up with Edward as he and his men journey to Exeter with a Viking boy who Edward rescued from the battle at Chippenham, named him Edmund and adopted him as his own brother.  This compassionate decision, made by Matthew the monk rather than Edward the warrior, may prove very costly indeed when they are ambushed by a group of Vikings.  In the ensuing battle, Edward is left for dead with a spear in his chest.

Edward is rescued by a local Celtic healer named Ingar who nurses him back to health and warns him that although she removed the spear, he has been left with a pierced heart that will shorten his life.  Ingar also has a prophesy to fulfil and drugs Edward so she can use him for her pagan ceremony.  Although Edward's mission is to return to his betrothed, Emelda, he can't help but be drawn to the mysterious Ingar.  This red-blooded man was definitely never meant to be a monk!

Before he is fully healed, Vikings attack the home of Ingar and Edward finds himself a prisoner.  Edward finds that his reputation has gone before him, not only because word has spread about 'the warrior with the pierced heart' but because of Arne, the boy he named Edmund who is now back with his kin.  The Vikings are not keen to kill Edward as they believe he came back from the dead so it buys him enough time to escape along with a band of merry men.  It really made me think of Robin Hood as Edward (Robin Hood), Aelred (Little John) and Brother Benedict (Friar Tuck) make their way through the countryside to Alfred's court where a dangerous mission awaits Edward as the story is set to continue in book 3.

I loved this second instalment of The Shadow of the Raven series; Chris Bishop's writing is so vivid that I could easily visualise Ingar's dwelling in the woods and the Viking camps on the banks of the Thames.  I can see myself reading this whole series again when it is concluded just to relive every single moment of Edward's life.

The Warrior with the Pierced Heart continues Edward's breathtaking story with a stunning Anglo Saxon landscape that is brought to life by the evocative writing of Chris Bishop.  This is an outstanding piece of historical fiction and I can't wait to continue Edward's fascinating journey with him.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Chris Bishop is a retired chartered surveyor who has pursued his love of writing for as long as he can remember. He is an intrepid traveller and a retired Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He is married with two children and four granddaughters and lives in London.

Twitter: @CBishop_author

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