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  4.0 out of 5 stars

Every man must have a lord”

“…that’s a devil out there. A devil who only looks like a man. I don’t want to meet him unshriven.

Or is it a devil? The story begins after the Conquest, after the Harrying of the North, as the de Neuville family rebuilds on the northern lands awarded them by King William. The Saxons may be conquered, but their customs, laws and mindset constantly clash with that of the Normans, and the Normans don’t give a d*** about what the Saxons want.

De Neuville’s daughter Gerlaine is attracted to Gurth, the illegitimate son of the former Saxon lord, but when their relationship is discovered Gurth receives a brutal punishment at the hands of Gerlaine’s father With tensions already high, the Norman violation of the Saxon’s sacred “hearth right” brings on horrific consequences as the outraged Gurth demands wergild (man payment). Gerlaine holds to her love for Gurth until the punishments against her family becomes too dear and love changes to hatred and revenge…..

There’s actually a whole lot more to it than that but you really do need to read it for yourself, I don’t want to spoil it for you. Despite what the somewhat cheesy cover implies, this is not a romance novel – this is very dark story about the struggles between two completely disparate cultures. I really enjoyed Godwin’s writing, it’s very subtle and understated and you do have to pay attention or you’ll end up backtracking. This was just a really great read with quite a surprise twist at the end and I am looking forward to more from this author. I understand he’s written one on Harold Godwinsson as well as a series on Robin Hood.