Thursday 7 July 2022

A Discovering Diamonds Review of A Council of Wolves: An Anglo-Saxon Mystery by Elizabeth Springer

Anglo-Saxon 800s

"England, AD 879. Called away from his own wedding to accompany his brother on an urgent diplomatic mission for King Alfred of Wessex, the young royal official Lord Edwin of Wimborne becomes suspicious of an “accidental” death that occurs during their stay in neighboring Mercia. As Edwin investigates, he uncovers a tangle of deadly ambitions around the Mercian kingship. Back at home, Edwin’s bride Molly becomes embroiled in events that may have far-reaching consequences as well. Can Edwin unravel the true course of events in time to save an innocent man and foil a disastrous political plot bolstered by a band of renegade Vikings? When Molly finds the royal estate of Wimborne prey to neglect, embezzlers and seething local discontent, can she turn the tide and make it safe for King Alfred?"

A recreation of the Anglo-Saxon world during the 800s, with intriguing characters and an interesting plot.

Written as two narratives, Lord Edwin and Lady Molgifu (Molly), are a newly married young couple, although living apart at first because of a murder which must be investigated. (No spoilers, so I will say no more!) We travel with the two characters through their trials, tribulations, emotional upheavals – and the mystery, murder and political manoeuvrings that are all part of the plot. Both characters are engrossing and the two narrative Point Of View technique works well.

There is rather a large cast of characters, many with (to many a reader) totally unpronounceable Anglo-Saxon names, but don’t be put off by this, just ‘go with the flow’ as the saying goes.

Has the author slightly manipulated the Anglo-Saxon justice system to blend better with the morals of  our 21st century ethics? Maybe, but I do not think this matters. My only other slight query would be for the use of ‘Molly’ as a shortened nickname for Molgifu. ‘Molly’ sounds too modern to my ears which rather pulled me out of the believability of the period – Molgifu was quite pronounceable and memorable, so ‘Molly’ really was not needed.

However, an entertaining read that readers of historical murder mysteries should enjoy. I did.

Reviewed for Discovering Diamonds 

© Jack Holt
 e-version reviewed

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