Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Edwin: High King of Britain {+ Giveaway}

02_Edwin High King of Britain(Notice: The winner of this giveaway is Nan Z. Congratulations to Nan and thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway.)

It’s a pleasure today to be participating in author Edoardo Albert’s Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour for his debut historical fiction release, EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN, the first installment in his Northumbrian Thrones series.

Edoardo has graciously answered some questions for me about his intriguing new release. Thanks to Edoardo and the lovely Amy at Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, I have a print copy of the book to giveaway. Please see the end of the post for more details.

This debut historical fiction series vividly recreating the rise of the Christian kings of Northumbria, England. In 604 AD, Edwin, the deposed king of Northumbria, seeks refuge at the court of King Raedwald of East Anglia. But Raedwald is urged to kill his guest by Aethelfrith, Edwin’s usurper. As Edwin walks by the shore, alone and at bay, he is confronted by a mysterious figure–the missionary Paulinus– who prophesies that he will become High King of Britain. It is a turning point.

Through battles and astute political alliances Edwin rises to power, in the process marrying the Kentish princess Aethelburh. As part of the marriage contract the princess is allowed to retain her Christian faith. But, in these times, to be a king is not a recipe for a long life.

This turbulent and tormented period in British history sees the conversion of the Anglo-Saxon settlers who have forced their way on to British shores over previous centuries, arriving first to pillage, then to farm and trade–and to come to terms with the faith of the Celtic tribes they have driven out.

The dramatic story of Northumbria’s Christian kings helped give birth to England as a nation, English as a language, and the adoption of Christianity as the faith of the English.

Please join me in welcoming Edoardo.

Mason - What was your research process like for this book?


Writing a previous book! Edwin:High King of Britain is, in part, the result of writing a non-fiction book on the history and archaeology of the Early-Medieval kingdom (if you call it a Dark-Age kingdom scholars will sniff at you) of Northumbria, called Northumbria:The Lost Kingdom and published by the History Press. My co-writer on this project was Paul Gething, an archaeologist and director of the Bamburgh Research Project, an archaeological enterprise that has been digging in and around Bamburgh for nearly 15 years now, leading to some major rethinking about the kingdom of Northumbria.

We wrote the book to tell the story of this most important, but little remembered, kingdom; for most people in Britain, history starts with the Romans invading in 43 AD, stops when they left in 410 AD, and then restarts in 1066 when the Normans arrived. The six hundred years in between are populated by a few vague figures: Bede, Vikings, Arthur, Alfred, but that’s about it. Yet these were the centuries when the foundations for modern Britain were laid, from its very division into England, Wales and Scotland, through to the common law, the shires (the county of Hampshire, for instance, is an older historical entity than France!) and the adoption of Christianity. It was the most crucial period in British history, and practically no one knows about it! While researching Northumbria:the Lost Kingdom, I learned about King Edwin, and the two kings that followed him, Oswald and Oswiu, in Bede’s EcclesiasticalHistory of the English People and I immediately thought, this is a wonderful story: I bet someone’s written it. Only, when I checked, nobody had! So I thought I would do it, and this is the first part of the results.

Mason - Now that your book has been published, what surprised you the most about this project and its outcome?


I found the hard-headed thought that my publishers, LionFiction, went into when costing and estimating sales for the book fascinating. I had, rather naively, assumed that publishers simply decided whether they liked a book or not before deciding to publish it, but the process is much more business oriented than that, with the editorial department working closely with the marketing department, estimating sales, working out where and who will stock the book, its future potential, etc. Publishing is, most definitely, a business and it behoves an author to understand this.

Mason - If you could write a book with any author (living or dead), who would it be and what would the book be about?


Gosh, choices, choices! Any author? Of course, I could pick one of my favourites – Tolkien, Waugh, Kipling, Stevenson – but then I’d risk a complete loss of authorial self confidence. In that case, I think it would be better to go with a non-fiction writer, and pick a topic that I would like to learn more about. So, with that decided, I’d obviously pick Bede himself, and ask him to collaborate in a sequel to the Ecclesiastical History of the English People, called the Political and Military History of the English People. Then I’d have the answers to the questions that have preoccupied me when writing Edwin and its sequels.

Mason - Do you have any habits/rituals you follow when writing such as a certain place to write, favorite beverage to drink, quiet verses noise, etc.?


I get started early. I’ve got a wife and three sons, plus various cash-flow jobs, so absolutely the best time to write is before everyone else is up. The alarm is set for 5am; I get up, make a cup of tea, and set to it. There’s nothing better than having written one or two thousand words before the rest of the world has woken up!

Mason - What do you hope readers take away from reading your latest release?


I’ve got two books that have recently come out: Edwin:High King of Britain is of course the first, but just last week my non-fiction biography of the most important of all the Early Medieval kings came out: InSearch of Alfred the Great: the King, the Grave, the Legend. I would hope anyone reading either of them would put down the books with a renewed respect for the tenacity with which men, in violent, chaotic times, clung to hope, venerated beauty, cultivated wisdom and strove, against all the odds, for virtue. That they could do so in such circumstances should be an inspiration for us all.

Mason - Are you currently working on any new projects?


Several! First, I’m writing the next volume in The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy: Oswald: Return of the King. I’m aiming to get that done by the end of October and it should be out next June. Then I’m researching and writing a history of London that focuses on an aspect of the city that has never been properly investigated: its religious history. The Light that Drowns the Stars: A Spiritual History of London should be out late next year from Lion Hudson. And while I’m writing that, I will also be working on the final volume of The Northumbrian Thrones trilogy: Oswiu: King of Kings. So, busy, busy, busy!

Thank you very much for your questions – they were most interesting. 

Edoardo, thanks for joining us and answering these questions to give us insight look at how your book came about.


Here is praise for EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN

        “In the first installment of the Northumbrian Thrones, a new historical fiction series, Albert launches readers into the tumultuous world of 7th century Northumbria. Edwin, the deposed king of the region, forges political alliances, is betrayed, and fights critical battles that form the arc of his rise and fall as High King of Britain. As he ages, he fears for the future of his kingdom, and war has simply become a necessary evil. His shifting worldview leads to conversion to the Christian faith—a slow process given special attention by Albert. But it is not a clear path, and sometimes Edwin and his subordinates doubt the validity and the power of the Christian God, as opposed to the pagan deities they have left behind. Albert’s focus on the religious element does not detract from the political and dramatic aspects of the history he is portraying. Rather, it lends an extra dimension of psychological turmoil, because characters must deal with the problem of not only individual identity but also the beginnings of a national identity related to religion. Albert’s offering is a highly entertaining and refreshing work of historical fiction thanks to his emphasis on the precarious intersection of religion and identity.”Publishers Weekly
        “A splendid novel that leaves the reader wanting more.” – Bernard Cornwell, New York Times bestselling author
        “A fast-paced and gripping tale of the great Northumbrian King Edwin, reclaiming one of our great national figures from the shadows of history.”Justin Hill, author of Shieldwall

EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN is available at the following sites: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Book Depository, and IndieBound.


Edoardo Albert is a writer of Sri Lankan and Italian extraction based in London. The best response to his writing was when he reduced a friend to helpless, hysterical, rolling-on-the-floor-holding-his-stomach laughter. Unfortunately, the writing in question was a lonely hearts ad. He hopes to produce similar results in readers, without inadvertently acquiring another wife.

For more information on Edoardo and his writing, visit his website. You can also connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.


You can also find out more about Edoardo (as well as more chances to win his book) by visiting the following blogs participating in his blog tour.

Monday, August 25
Review at Princess of Eboli
Review at 2 Book Lovers Reviews

Tuesday, August 26
Review at Just One More Chapter
Review & Giveaway at Unshelfish

Wednesday, August 27
Review at Dab of Darkness

Thursday, August 28
Interview & Giveaway at Dab of Darkness

Monday, September 1
Review at Book Lovers Paradise
Review at Queen of All She Reads

Tuesday, September 2
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Wednesday, September 3
Review at The Writing Desk
Review at The Mad Reviewer

Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Passages to the Past

Monday, September 8
Review at A Book Geek
Review at Svetlana’s Reads and Views

Tuesday, September 9
Review at Book Nerd

Wednesday, September 10
Review & Giveaway at 100 Pages a Day – Stephanie’s Book Reviews
Friday, September 12
Review at A Bibliotaph’s Reviews

Monday, September 15
Review & Giveaway at Words and Peace

Tuesday, September 16
Review at Layered Pages

Thursday, September 18
Review & Giveaway at Beth’s Book Reviews

Friday, September 19
Review at Book Drunkard

Edwin_Blog Tour Banner_FINAL

This giveaway is for one paperback copy of EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN and is open to residents of the U.S., U.K., and Canada. The giveaway will end on Wednesday, Sept. 17.

I’m trying the Google form again for this giveaway since the Rafflecopter widget didn’t want to work for everyone. To enter, just submit the requested information in the form below. There is no requirement to enter, but comments are always appreciated. 

Thanks so much for stopping by. I hope I’ve enticed you to check out EDWIN: HIGH KING OF BRITAIN. Is historical fiction your favorite genre or just one of many genres you enjoy? Also, tell me what you think about using the Google form instead of the Rafflecopter widget. Which do you like best? Which works better for you?

*This post contains affiliate links.



  1. Thank you for interviewing me and taking the time to feature Edwin: High King of Britain on your blog. Good luck to everyone entering in hope of winning a copy!

  2. Oh, and Mason Canyon is a wonderful name - it should feature as the hero or heroine of a story!

    1. Edoardo, thanks so for the kind words about the name. It is unusual and sometimes people aren't sure if it goes with a female (which it does) or a male.

      Thank you again for visiting with us here and answering my questions. I'm always delighted to learn more about a writer's process. Wishing you much success.

  3. Fascinating time in history. Edoardo, you're right - hardly anyone knows about it.
    A couple thousand words before everyone else gets up? I could do that - if my wife didn't get up until noon.

  4. Mason - Thanks for hosting Edoardo.

    Edoardo - I always appreciate it when an author does the research to tell those lesser-known stories. And this is a really interesting time in history. I wish you success.

  5. Sounds great but don't ask me to pronounce any of those characters' names

  6. I love historical fiction! This is up my alley.

  7. I love historical fiction and this one sounds particularly intriguing.
    Great interview.

  8. being a Medieval history major, this book is of great interest to me. thanks for the review.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.