The Splintered Kingdom by James Aitcheson
Reviewed by W. Keith McCoy, Somerset County Library System
The second volume of this trilogy of the aftermath of the Norman Conquest finds its hero, Tancred a Dinant, as lord of a small manor town nearWales. Crops come in, his consort is expecting, and life is good. But barely three years after Hastings, the English are rising up, this time in cooperation with the Welsh and the Danes, to threaten King William from several directions. Tancred is commissioned to lead a raiding party into Wales to distract one rebel leader, but through his own bullheadedness and some deceit, his soldiers are killed or scattered, while he is captured for the price on his head. Tancred escapes only to find his lands desolated, and his lord and love interest both hostages. Tancred heads off to find them and the king in the east, as a great battle for supremacy looms. The finale to this segment ends with more fire, slaughter, and surprises. Verdict: There are enough swordplay and chases amidst the detail to warrant returning to this series, or even starting it, by aficionados of tales of England’s historic warriors.