Review Blog

Sep 08 2008

Bloodline by Katy Moran

cover image

Walker Books, 2008. ISBN 9781406309386
(Age 11+) Recommended. It is a time of great peril in Dark Age Britain, as the Wolf Clan's king has died and the Mercians are striving to take as much land as they can. When Essa is abandoned by his father, Cai the bard, at a Wolf Clan settlement, he is alone and desolate. He grows up in the marsh village between the two warring kingdoms, learning to use his sword, the Silver Serpent, and coming to terms with his ability to see through the eyes of his goshawk and influence animals. Cai has always believed in being 'bound to no man' but Essa finds himself in the middle of the conflict, with a desperate part to play.

Beautifully detailed and abounding with action, Bloodline is an engrossing historical story. Essa is a spirited boy and his journey across Britain, meeting different tribes and kings is fascinating and at time heart wrenching. The reader warms to his strong and thoughtful character. His boyish anger at his father and his deep resentment about being left behind without even a final farewell, his love for Lark, the tomboy, and his rivalry with the village boys, make him come alive. Other characters are equally well developed. Hild, the village headwoman, is capable and strong, and Wulf the Mercian prince is a match for Essa as they flee Ad Gefrin.

A subtle fantasy strand of communication with animals runs through Bloodline but is not intrusive and gives an added dimension to the story as it seems to fit so well into a time when Britain is moving from pagan ways to Christianity.

This a finely wrought tale with well paced action and an engrossing hero. It will appeal to lovers of adventure and historical novels.
Pat Pledger

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