January 1069. Less than three years have passed since Hastings and the death of the usurper, Harold Godwineson. In the depths of winter, two thousand Normans march to subdue the troublesome province of Northumbria. Tancred a Dinant, an ambitious and oath-sworn knight and a proud leader of men, is among them, hungry for battle, for silver and for land.
But at Durham the Normans are ambushed in the streets by English rebels. In the battle that ensues, their army is slaughtered almost to a man. Badly wounded, Tancred barely escapes with his life. His lord is among those slain.
Soon the enemy are on the march, led by the dispossessed prince Eadgar, the last of the ancient Saxon line, who is determined to seize the realm he believes is his. Yet even as Tancred seeks vengeance for his lord's murder, he finds himself caught up in secret dealings between a powerful Norman magnate and a shadow from the past.
As the Norman and English armies prepare to clash, Tancred begins to uncover a plot which harks back to the day of Hastings itself. A plot which, if allowed to succeed, threatens to undermine the entire Conquest. The fate of the Kingdom hangs in the balance ...
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Vibrant and authentic. Rarely have I been so transported into the world of the medieval knight, and his environs. In short, Sworn Sword is an excellent read, full of intrigue and vivid, realistic battles. For new writers of historical fiction, this accomplished debut novel sets a high standard indeed. - Ben Kane, author of the bestselling Forgotten Legion Chronicles
Fans of the sword-swinging drama still mourning the end of HBO's epic Game of Thrones will find plenty to love in this uncompromising slice of historical fiction ... Breathlessly paced and packed with action, it's a mightily accomplished debut in a major new series - ShortList
A fantastic novel ... utterly convincing ... The plot is superb, clever and as true to the sources as is possible ... a brilliant achievement - Dr Elisabeth van Houts, Emmauel College, Cambridge
The setting and historical detail are superb and there is more than enough excitement to keep you hooked to the final page - New Books
Action packed, this is the first in a promising series, set in a fascinating period - Mail on Sunday
James Aitcheson was born in Wiltshire in 1985 and studied History at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where began his fascination with the medieval period and the Norman Conquest in particular. Sworn Sword is his first novel.