Friday, March 6, 2015

The Price of Blood by Patricia Bracewell

Title: The Price of Blood
Author: Patricia Bracewell

Publisher: Viking Adult

Published Date: February 5, 2015

Buy on Amazon: Paperback & Kindle 

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Readers first met Emma of Normandy in Patricia Bracewell’s gripping debut novel, Shadow on the Crown. Unwillingly thrust into marriage to England’s King Æthelred, Emma has given the king a son and heir, but theirs has never been a happy marriage. In The Price of Blood, Bracewell returns to 1006 when a beleaguered Æthelred, still haunted by his brother’s ghost, governs with an iron fist and a royal policy that embraces murder.

As tensions escalate and enmities solidify, Emma forges alliances to protect her young son from ambitious men—even from the man she loves. In the north there is treachery brewing, and when Viking armies ravage England, loyalties are shattered and no one is safe from the sword.
Rich with intrigue, compelling personalities, and fascinating detail about a little-known period in history, The Price of Blood will captivate fans of both historical fiction and fantasy novels such as George R. R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series.

My Thoughts:

The Price of Blood, by Patricia Bracewell, is the second book in The Emma of Normandy Trilogy. The first book, Shadow on the Crown, followed fifteen year old Emma as she left her homeland of Normandy and everything she knew to marry Aethelred, the haunted King of war torn and pillaged England. Viking invasions were blooding the land and causing much internal strife. (My review of Shadow on the Crown can be found at The second book picks up in 1006 where Shadow on the Crown leaves off and then ends in 1012. While these books are fiction they are based on real people, actual battles, and true events that have been recorded in history.  Bracewell used many works by Anglo-Saxon scholars to conduct her research.  What resulted is an extraordinary piece of historical fiction that uses rich language, detailed plot lines, and extensive character development. Bracewell is a wonderfully talented writer which is seen in Shadow on the Crown and The Price of Blood.

Queen Emma is an unforgettable heroine that easily captures reader's hearts, as well as the hearts and support of the English Court and commoners. This does not endear her to the King or her stepchildren. They view her and her young son Edward, who was named the rightful heir to the thrown, as threats. She is strong, intelligent, and dialed into the political landscape. Emma also keeps tabs on what is going on inside her family, the Court, and with other nobles.

In Shadow on the Crown, Emma falls in love with her eldest stepson, Athelstan. He returns her feelings but they know nothing can ever come of their dangerous love except heartache. When The Price of Blood begins the King already distrusts and dislikes Emma and he thinks Athelstan is out to steal his crown. If Emma or Athelstan gave the King any reason to think that they had feelings for each other it would lead to their destruction.  This leads to the two battling their desire for each other throughout The Price of Blood.

The Price of Blood does a wonderful job of illustrating just how hard it was to be female during this time. Women practically had no say in their lives and belonged fully to whichever man they were betrothed to. It saddened me to see Emma have no control of her son Edward's life. The King wanted them separated so that Emma would not influence Edward as he grew older, thus he had him sent away. Bracewell also demonstrated how disease heavily plagued the people of that age. Sickness spread like wildfire and there was nothing they could do but pray.

Patricia Bracewell has created an exceptional historical trilogy in Emma of Normandy. The Price of Blood is well written, well researched, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am eagerly awaiting the final novel in her trilogy to see what becomes of England, Emma, Athelstan, Aethelred, and her children. If you are looking for a pivoting series to read then you definitely need to get The Emma of Normandy trilogy.

Patricia Bracewell
The publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of the book, The Price of Blood, for the purpose of review.

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