Monday, 10 August 2020

COMETH THE HOUR by Annie Whtehead @AnnieWHistory

5 out of 5 stars

How I discovered this book: I'd seen many historically-orientated tweets from the author, and decided to try one of her books.

In a Nutshell: Saxon England in the 6th-7th Century.

I loved this book, a fictionalised version of the true saga of the Saxon rulers, from Edwin of Deira to Penda of Mercia, in which I was engrossed.  Annie Whitehead has turned the history into a terrific story, as compelling as any Game of Thrones type fantasy.  There is a large cast of characters, but she has provided a family tree diagram in the front if you forget, for a moment, exactly who everyone is.  The characters themselves are so well defined that I didn't find their number confusing.
Until I read this I knew little about the period, other than the fact that what we now call Great Britain was divided into seven basic kingdoms, so I enjoyed finding out about the divisions of territory within these kingdoms, with the different tribes who had their own languages and traditions.  The book covers the period when Christianity was first becoming more popular; I was surprised to find how gradual it was, and I could understand why it was treated with such suspicion, the pagan ways being far more relatable.
The way in which the people lived is so well-researched, intricately detailed, painting a vivid picture of the era, but at no time did I feel bogged down with irrelevant facts.  What I loved most about the book, though, is the feeling it gave me; it made me want to be there.  To experience the times for myself.  That's the sign of a truly talented author of historical fiction, I think - one who can make you want to go back in time and live in it, because the scenes and people come alive.  The journeys, the battles, the winter nights in the long halls; I yearned to be Derwena, wife of Penda!
This is the first book I've read by this author, and I am sure I will pick up another at some point in the not too distant future.  Highly recommended to all histfic lovers, especially those with a particular interest in the 7th Century. 


  1. Thanks, Terry! This one goes right to my TBR list.

    1. And I just found this in my unpublished.... sorry, I've been getting used to new blog layout - I wish they wouldn't foist these things on us, the new one was just fine!!

      Anyway - yes, a good choice indeed!