Shadow on the Crown
Set in England when Vikings are on the brink of invasion, this is an epic tale of seduction, war, and unrequited love from an outstanding new voice in historical fiction
The year is 1001 and England is under threat. The air off the southern coast hangs heavy, thick with the fear of Viking sea raids.
For England’s King Æthelred the night sky is heavy with a dark portent. England’s future hangs in the balance, its path determined by a struggle for the King’s own heart. Two women – Emma, his Norman bride and Elgiva, his Anglo Saxon mistress – will stop at nothing in their battle for the King’s favour and the Queen’s Coronet. But the sky speaks of a royal death and ahead of all three is a journey fraught with danger and deception.
‘A magnificent work of historical fiction, evoking time and place in a remarkable way’ DAILY MAIL
‘This is one of the most enthralling and captivating novels I've ever read. It truly is an epic novel. I can't wait to read the next book by this author.’ KAREN MAITLAND
‘A meticulously researched, lyrically written tale which shines a sensuous light into the murkier depths of the Dark Ages’ ROBERT LOW
‘A highly entertaining addition to the historical fiction genre’ PUBLISHERS WEEKLY
‘Readers of historical sagas and romances will embrace this rich narrative’ LIBRARY JOURNAL
‘What a great book! Fascinating… a tense, exciting story’ DIANA GABALDON, author of the bestselling Outlander series
‘A well-wrought journey back to those little known times, this novel entertains while it educates’ Margaret George, bestselling author of ELIZABETH I and HELEN OF TROY
About the author
Patricia Bracewell grew up in California where she taught literature and composition before embarking upon her writing career. She holds an MA in English Literature, but has always been fascinated by English history – an interest that led her to a brief course in Anglo-Saxon history at Downing College, Cambridge University. She has two grown-up sons, and she lives with her Canadian husband in Oakland, California.
Striking a quivering bull's eye with the first book of a planned trilogy, Bracewell's enthralling debut begins with Emma of Normandy crossing the "Narrow Sea" in 1002 C.E. to marry the much older King Aethelred. Emma is ill-prepared for the trials that come with her new position; not yet knowing the heart of the old king she makes the mistake of demanding the title of queen. The king, regretting the hasty decision of "taking a Norman slut to wife," quickly tires of his demanding new bride; jealous rivals vie for Emma's crown; and the threat of a Viking invasion constantly looms. But Emma's role in the English court and her only chance of survival come down to heeding her mother's words: "our first and most important task," she instructed Emma before her departure, "is to bear a son." Only then will her crown be secure. In time, Emma wins the hearts of her subjects as well as the affection of a young man in her husband's court. Determined and savvy, Emma is a strong character that refuses to be cowed by her circumstances. With a light touch, Bracewell delivers a highly entertaining addition to the historical fiction genre.