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The edge of the sword

by Rebecca Tingle


Book Review

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Publishers Weekly :

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Medieval history buffs will be enthralled byTingle's first novel. The author sets her tale in the late 800s and imagines the formative years of an actual historic figure, the West Saxon King Alfred's oldest child (a daughter), ?thelfl?d. Heavily saturated with political and military strategy, it will likely hold boys' attention as well as girls. Fifteen-year-old Fl?d's life becomes endangered when she is betrothed to Ethelred, chief aldorman of Mercia,because enemies opposed to the union start plotting against both royal families. Fl?d escapes one kidnapping, but later, on her way to Mercia to wed Ethelred, a pack of raiders attack her party. Fl?d must employ all she's learned about battle from books, her father and her faithful guard, Red. In this meticulously researched novel, which alludes to the poem Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Tingle brings to life the mindset and emotions of her heroine, whose loyalty tinged with a rebellious streak is convincing enough to lay the groundwork for her destiny as "the greatest woman in Old English military history" (according to the closing historical note). If Fl?d's wisdom and bravery seem larger than life, her regret over leaving her homeland and ambivalence about marriage make her all too human. Ages 12-up.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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Book Review

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School Library Journal :

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Gr 6-10-Queen ?thelfl?d of Mercia, noted in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for extraordinary achievements, is depicted as a teen in this novel. The eldest daughter of King Alfred, spirited Fl?d is well educated and loves studying, almost as much as being with her mother and sisters or wandering the West Saxon countryside with her brother Edward. She understands that she is expected to marry, but the 15-year-old is dismayed to learn how soon this destiny must be fulfilled. Her betrothal to the much older Mercian King Ethelred curtails her independence beyond endurance. She resents her new round-the-clock bodyguard, Red, although she is curious about the slave collar and bracelets that the free man wears. When Fl?d uses her considerable intelligence to evade Red's protection, the horrifying consequences change their relationship. Red becomes Fl?d's tutor in weapons and warfare, training her as a battle leader, a role she will be forced to play before she becomes a bride. Fl?d's story is filled with exciting action, interesting characters, and convincing historical details of the late ninth century that bring to life this distant and violent time in Britain.-Starr E. Smith, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
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