James AitchesonSworn Sword is the debut novel by James Aitcheson. The first in a series set in the turbulent and bloody years following 1066, it explores the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings, as seen through the eyes of one of the Norman conquerors, an ambitious and oath-sworn knight named Tancred.

The first in a new series published by Preface, Sworn Sword is available to buy now in hardcover, paperback and as an eBook across all formats, both online and from all good bookshops. The sequel, The Splintered Kingdom, will be published in September 2012.

For all the latest on James and his work, including details of signing sessions, festival appearances and other events, an exclusive Q&A and his official blog, visit www.jamesaitcheson.com, sign up to his Facebook page, follow his official Twitter feed or email him through the contact form.

 

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…

 

Read the first chapter

 

“A terrific writer … Aitcheson’s portrayal of eleventh century England is vibrant and authentic. Rarely have I been so transported into the world of the medieval knight and his environs. Full of intrigue and vivid, realistic battles, this accomplished debut novel sets a high standard indeed.”

Ben Kane, bestselling author of The Road to Rome

 

“What a triumph! Aitcheson has turned a familiar story into a fantastic novel. The plot is superb, clever and as true to the sources as is possible … a brilliant achievement.”

Dr Elisabeth van Houts, Emmanuel College, Cambridge

 

“Action-packed, this is the first in a promising series, set in a fascinating period.”

Mail on Sunday

 

“A well judged mix of action, intrigue and thoughtfulness … told in lucid, lively prose that sets scenes vividly and carries the plot forward.”

Historical Novels Review

 

“Breathlessly paced and packed with action, it’s a mightily accomplished debut in a major new series.”

ShortList

 

“The setting and historical detail are superb and there is more than enough excitement to keep you hooked to the final page.”

NewBooks Magazine