A time for swords by Matthew Harffy

Hunlaf travels as a young monk to the minster of Lindisfarne with his teacher Leofstan only to witness the first Danish attack on the English coast. While the brethren are being slayed, Hunlaf discovers the warrior within him when he tries to defend two children together with Runolf, a big redheaded norseman. Hunlaf is convinced that God has sent Runolf to help them defend the other minsters on the English coast from the next attacks. They recruit their own war band and prepare for a bloody battle to defend everything they hold dear.

I’m always in for a bloody viking story. Although I prefer to use the more historical correct term ‘Danes’ when England is involved. I hadn’t read anything by Harffy before and his writing certainly didn’t put me off.

The story isn’t new and full of clichés that you’ve read before. A monk turning into a warrior. A Dane and an Englishman joining forces to defeat the Danes. A group of outcasts preparing to defend a bunch of villagers. If you’re looking for an original story, you should look elsewhere.

I’m still happy that I’ve read ‘a time for swords‘. I loved the character building of the different fighters and their underlying relations. The battle scenes aren’t that great, but entertaining enough to read. Entertaining is the perfect word for this book. Don’t expect more than that.

The ending was fine and hints to a sequel. I must admit that I’m not inclined to read the next book as I wasn’t interested in ‘the romance’ part of the story. But I might try another of Harffy’s books some day.

Matthew Harffy is no Bernard Cornwell or Conn Iggulden. But if you’re looking for your next viking read when the world outside is still a mess, this might be your next go to.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in return for my honest opinion.