Review: The Scathing – C. R. May

5 of 5 stars

Series: King’s Bane 3

My version: Paperback

Historical Fiction Dark Ages Britain
Self Published
Supplied by Author

In an epic tale of courage and ferocity, the kingdom of Mercia is born.

More than a year has passed since the English crossed the German Sea to settle the island of Britain.

Secure now in their Anglian fastness, their gaze turns to the West.

But other kingdoms also covet the middle lands.

Sweeping down from the western hills Cynlas Goch and his army of Powys lay waste to the valley of the River Trenta, burning, killing and enslaving as they go.

Heavily outnumbered but trusting to their valour, can Eofer king’s bane and his war band slow the onslaught until the English and their allies wrest a final victory from the ashes of defeat?

The Scathing is the third book in the Bestselling King’s Bane series, the genesis of England.

What a time to be alive!

When dreams are born, legends created, heroes emerge – and books like this published.

You see what I did there?

If The Scathing is your third encounter with Eofer Wonreding, King’s Bane, Astrid Hygelacsdottir, Thrush Hemming, and the island of Britain before it became England or English, or even if it is your first, any way you look at it – you’re in for a real treat.

Reading The Scathing was such an emotional, all-enveloping blast, it was one of those where I’m trying to sleep faster, so I can wake up tomorrow and read some more. Having finished it, I’m quite exhausted, with a million thoughts running around my brain. The whole series (so far) are not so much as books, as an experience. The next best thing to actually bring there. Though I do feel like I’ve been there, seen what happened and…I didn’t want to come back. I want to go back there again and soon.

The good Mr May put me through the emotional wringer before even leaving the first chapter – it grabbed me immediately and then hurled me head-first back into early 6th century Britain. The book is full of warmth, charm, colour and character, the writing is captivating and bristling with incident, interest, excitement and not a little tension. Not everything goes where you think it will, you are certainly kept on your toes – not least in that it’s the English who are the ones travelling to Britain in these stories.

The book vividly builds an absorbing picture of these tumultuous times, peopled with well-drawn and developed characters – even those we don’t see (until the end), like Eofer’s wife. They are characters you care about – even if that is hate – and, unlike some period novels, there are absolutely no passengers here, no people wearing the red sweatshirt.

The Scathing may well be part three of C.R. May’s King’s Bane trilogy (so far, as informed speculation has it), but reads like a complete, stand alone novel in its own right. You could start here, but why would you want to? What you need to know about what happened to the characters and their journey to Britain, before the book opens, is imparted as you go, and deftly woven into the story. However, you really shouldn’t read this on its own, make sure you read the first two and then you too can be sat staring, mouth opening and closing like some sort of fugly goldfish with shock and pleasure – if those two can be combined – when you reach the end.

With the King’s Bane saga and The Bernicia Chronicles, C.F. May and the boy Harffy are carving out a wonderfully rich and engaging vision of how 6th Century Britain could have been. They’re making the Dark Ages sparkle and absolutely the place to be for true Historical Fiction fans right now.

You can buy The Scathing from Amazon

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