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For those who like The Last Kingdom series.
What are the Bernicia Chronicles about?
Matthew Harffy used to work in IT, and also was an English teacher and translator. But now, he is a British writer who specializes in historical fiction.
The Bernicia Chronicles is set in the 7th century, against the backdrop of the clash between peoples and religions in Dark Ages Britain.
The story focuses on Beobrand, an outsider who lost most of his family. He comes to the Anglian territory of Bernicia and becomes a warrior who went on to fight for Oswald, king of Northumbria, and the people of Albion.
How to read the Bernicia Chronicles Books in Order?
Every book in the Bernicia Chronicles series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- The Serpent Sword (2015)
- The Cross and the Curse (2016)
- Blood and Blade (2016)
- “Kin of Cain” (short story, 2017)
- Killer of Kings (2017)
- Warrior of Woden (2018)
- Storm of Steel (2019)
- Fortress of Fury (2020)
- For Lord and Land (2021)
- Forest of Foes (2022)
What is the plot of the Bernicia Chronicles stories?
For more information about the books in the Bernicia Chronicles by Matthew Harffy, you’ll find below the official synopsis for all the books:
The Serpent Sword – AD 633, Anglo-Saxon Britain: Beobrand is a young man with a shadowy past. As an outsider in the kingdom of Bernicia, he is compelled to join his brother, Octa, as a warrior in the household of King Edwin. He must learn to fight with sword and shield to defend the war-ravaged kingdoms of Northumbria. In a period of great upheaval for Dark Age Britain, all he finds is death and war.
The Cross and the Curse – AD 634, Anglo-Saxon Britain: warlords battle across Britain to become the first king of the English. After a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, Beobrand returns a hero. His valor is rewarded with wealth and land by Oswald, king of Northumbria. He retires to his new estate with his bride only to find himself surrounded by enemies old and new. With treachery and death on all sides, Beobrand fears he will lose all he holds dear. On a quest for revenge and redemption, he accepts the mantle of lord, leading his men into the darkest of nights and the bloodiest of battles.
Blood and Blade – AD 635, Anglo-Saxon Britain: Oswald’s plans for further alliances and conquests are quickly thrown into disarray when his wedding to a princess of Wessex is interrupted by news of a Pictish uprising. Rushing north, Oswald leaves Beobrand to escort the young queen to her new home. Their path is fraught with danger and uncertainty, and Beobrand must try to unravel secrets and lies if they are to survive. Meanwhile, old enemies are closing in, seeking brutal revenge.
“Kin of Cain” (short story) – AD 630. Anglo-Saxon Britain. Winter grips the land in its icy fist. Terror stalks the hills, moors and marshes of Bernicia. Livestock and men have been found ripped asunder, their bones gnawed, flesh gorged upon. People cower in their halls in fear of the monster that prowls the night. King Edwin sends his champions, Bassus and Octa, and band of trusted thegns to hunt down the beast and to rid his people of this evil.
Killer of Kings – AD 636, Anglo-Saxon Britain: Beobrand has land, men, and riches. He should be content. And yet he cannot find peace until his enemies are food for the ravens. But before Beobrand can embark on his blood feud, King Oswald orders him southward, to escort holy men bearing sacred relics. When Penda of Mercia marches a warhost into the southern kingdoms, Beobrand and his men are thrown into the midst of the conflict. Beobrand soon finds himself fighting for his life and his honor.
Warrior of Woden – AD 642, Anglo-Saxon Britain: Many are the kings who bow to Oswald. And yet there are those who look upon his realm with a covetous eye. And there is one ruler who will never kneel before him. When Penda of Mercia, the great killer of kings, invades Northumbria, Beobrand is once more called upon to stand in an epic battle where the blood of many will be shed in defense of the kingdom. But in this climactic clash between the pagan Penda and the Christian Oswald, there is much more at stake than sovereignty. This is a battle for the very souls of the people of Albion.
Storm of Steel – AD 643: heading south to lands he once considered his home, Beobrand is plunged into a dark world of piracy and slavery when an old friend enlists his help to recover a kidnapped girl. Embarking onto the wind-tossed seas, Beobrand pursues his quarry with single-minded tenacity. But the Whale Road is never calm and his journey is beset with storms, betrayal, and violence. As the winds of his wyrd blow him ever further from what he knows, will Beobrand find victory on his quest, or has his luck finally abandoned him?
Fortress of Fury – AD 647. Anglo-Saxon Britain. War hangs heavy in the hot summer air as Penda of Mercia and his allies march into the north. Caught unawares, the Bernician forces are besieged within the great fortress of Bebbanburg. It falls to Beobrand to mount the defense of the stronghold, but even while the battle rages, old and powerful enemies have mobilized against him, seeking vengeance for past events. As the Mercian forces tighten their grip and unknown killers close in, Beobrand finds himself in a struggle with conflicting oaths and the dreadful pull of a forbidden love that threatens to destroy everything he holds dear.
For Lord and Land – Greed and ambition threaten to tear the north apart. War rages between the two kingdoms of Northumbria. Kin is pitted against kin and friend becomes foe as ambitious kings vie for supremacy. When Beobrand travels south to rescue a friend, he unwittingly tilts the balance of power in the north, setting in motion events that will lead to a climactic confrontation between Oswiu of Bernicia and Oswine of Deira.
Forest of Foes – AD 652. Beobrand has been ordered to lead a group of pilgrims to the holy city of Rome. Chief among them is Wilfrid, a novice of the Church with some surprisingly important connections. Taking only Cynan and some of his best men, Beobrand hopes to make the journey through Frankia quickly and return to Northumbria without delay, though the road is long and perilous.
What should you read if you like the Bernicia Chronicles novels?
If you like reading Matthew Harffy’s Bernicia Chronicles, you may be interested in The Last Kingdom’s Bernard Cornwell’s books, Conn Iggulden’s series, Simon Scarrow’s work.