Here is the opening passage from my new book, ‘Blood of Ironside’. It is the third book in my series ‘The Lost King’ which tells the story of Edgar Atheling, the last native King of England, and his resistance to the Norman invasion of William the Conqueror.
The book is available on Kindle and Smashwords immediately and should be available on other readers such as Kobo, Nook, Sony Reader and i-Pads and Smartphones withing a couple of weeks.
You can buy it in the Amazon.co.uk store by clicking on the link in the sidebar to the right. It costs $3.08, £1.97 or Euro 2.60.
There will be a link to the US site at the bottom of the extract.
I heaved the body of the fisherman out of the boat. The corpse floated on the water, blood seeping from the stab wound in his neck.
‘You had to do it,’ Anna said.
I stared at her blankly.
‘You had to kill him,’ she said. ‘To save our lives you had to kill him.’
I shook my head, my mind reeling from what I’d done.
‘We’re not safe yet,’ cried Athelstan. ‘The tide is taking us back to land.’
I followed his gaze. We were now only a hundred yards from the tip of the causeway and moment by moment we were getting closer.
My eyes swept over the causeway. Norman soldiers swarmed across it hunting for wounded survivors and putting them to the sword.
William stood upon the edge, leaning upon his broadsword. I could well imagine his fury at our escape. His stare was fixed upon me and he stood as if he were incapable of further movement.
Yet all around him was frenzied activity. A last defiant handful of English warriors had battled their way to the edge of the cliff. They raised their swords and jeered at the Normans, daring them to attack.
For a moment there was a pause and then a horn blared. A score of Norman horsemen spurred their horses and charged the tiny shield-wall. It held for a moment but the weight of the charge smashed it asunder. The Normans surged through, turning in their saddles to slash at the unprotected backs of the warriors. Every man of the wall was hacked to death
‘We’ve got to get out to sea,’ yelled Godwin, rowing frantically against the surging tide.
We were barely fifty yards from the shore. Archers from the cliff were shooting volley after volley of arrows at us but their aim fell short. But then a deadlier peril appeared. Two score of Norman horsemen had found a path down from the cliffs and raced along the shore. They forced their horses into the sea and struggled towards us.
The horses floundered, neighing with fear and fury, mouths open wide in wrath as their riders whipped them on. The spray from their hooves flew into the air; it seemed as if they were riding through a storm.
The horsemen were barely twenty yards from us now. They drew their swords, yelling with exultation. The blood lust was on them. They had been sent not to capture us but to kill.
‘They’ll be on us in moments,’ Anna cried, drawing out her dagger.
Then we heard the whistle of arrows. Willard’s outlaws shot a dozen shafts into the Normans and then a dozen more. Most hit home, wounding and killing. A third flight was aimed at the horses and in moments the sea was a churning mass of blood and bodies. The rest of the horsemen wavered, broke and fled back to the shore.
Siward Barn seized an oar, Hog a second and I snatched one from Godwin’s hands.
Four of Willard’s men were heaving on the oars in the second boat and drew close.
‘Pull,’ Siward Barn cried, ‘we’ll cheat the devils yet.’
Amazon US link is: http://t.co/X4nLHHXnQX
Amazon UK link is: http://t.co/KRNth65wNY
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