“The Briton and the Dane” by Mary Ann Bernal is a very well written and researched historical romance that is as educational as it is entertaining. The author portrays life in the 9th century with splendid detail and a sense of authenticity. I learned a lot about the times, the characters and the complexities of life in Britain at the time.
The romance part is believable and flows smoothly, the characters are complex and keep your interest. There is fighting, action, drama and historical value. A well rounded beginning of a promising series.
King Alfred the Great has thwarted the Viking threat against his kingdom of Wessex. Signing a treaty with the formidable Danish King Guthrum, he succeeds in pushing the heathen army back to the rolling fens of East Anglia.
An uneasy peace holds sway: The King establishes a standing army under Lord Richard, who takes command of the citadel at Wareham.
Richard and his army are accompanied by his daughter, Gwyneth, an impetuous and reckless young woman – at once striking, intellectually gifted, but dangerously vain and imprudent.
While Richard broods on the Viking threat, Gwyneth falls in love with an enemy prince – only to discover that she has been betrothed to a Saxon warrior twice her age.
Refusing to countenance her grim fate, she flees the fortress, but is soon kidnapped by a Viking warrior and taken to the camp of King Guthrum while Saxon search parties scour the land.
In captivity, a hostage to fortune, and the focus of political intrigue, Gwyneth is submerged in a world of expediency, betrayal and black treachery. Slowly, she realizes the truth is suspect, nothing is what it appears and her reality cannot be trusted.
And all the time, against this background, she desires nothing more than to be reunited with her dashing Danish prince.