‘King of Kings’ by MJ Porter

My Review (4 stars out of 5)

Following his father’s death, King Athelstan rules over the English, unifying the territories of Wessex, Mercia and York. But uniting the Scots and Welsh to ensure peace and protect against invasion from the Norse Vikings, isn’t so easy. Set against him, is his own stepbrother, Edwin, who believes he, not Athelstan, is the rightful king of England. With the Scottish and Welsh rulers unwilling to give up their kingdoms, can the new king find a way to rule over them all?

This is the second book I’ve read by this author. The first one – The Automobile Assassination – was a mystery set in the 1940s, so this is another kettle of fish altogether. As with any historical novel set in the 900s, there’s going to be some weird names and these can be difficult to remember, particularly as some are spelled similarly. Given the vast cast of characters, I also found it a bit of a challenge to remember which are male and which female – Athelstan, Aelfwynn, Gothfrith, Eadgifu, Ealdred etc aren’t obviously one or the other. Anyway, the author tells her tale from differing perspectives, giving what I suppose is a modern approximation of the kinds of conversations they’d have. The book does bring to life the sometimes-boring aspects of this period in history and gives the characters depth and humanity, making it a more interesting and thoughtful read. The author also provides a map of 10th century Britain, as well as a lengthy cast list explaining who everyone is, along with a note on different names which turn out to be the same ones with different spellings.

Though a little heavy and a bit patchy at times, this is well-researched and interesting read that will please fans of historical novels.

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Author Bio

MJ Porter is the author of many historical novels set predominantly in Seventh to Eleventh-Century England, and in Viking Age Denmark. They were raised in the shadow of a building that they believed housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia – so their writing destiny was set. The first novel in their new Anglo-Saxon series for Boldwood Son of Mercia was published in February 2022.

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NB This post first appeared as part of the Blog Tour for King of Kings, via Rachel’s Random Resources.

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  3 comments for “‘King of Kings’ by MJ Porter

  1. 26/02/2023 at 2:36 PM

    Hats off to the author for writing about this time period. The further back you go, the harder it gets except about African local history which is all difficult to research as there are few written records.


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