The story starts in 1054, the years leading up to the great defining battle of 1066. King Edward is a pious and ineffective king, spending his days hunting, sleeping and praying, leaving the security and administration of his kingdom to his much more capable brother-in-law Harold Godwinson, the powerful Earl of Wessex. Against this backdrop we meet Wulfhere, a Sussex thegn who, as the sun sets over the wild forest of Andredesweald, is returning home victoriously from a great battle in the north. Holding his lands directly from the King, his position demands loyalty to Edward himself, but Wulfhere is duty-bound to also serve Harold, a bond forged within Wulfhere’s family heritage and borne of the ancient Teutonic ideology of honour and loyalty.
Wulfhere is a man with the strength and courage of a bear, a warrior whose loyalty to his lord and king is unquestionable. He is also a man who holds his family dear and would do anything to protect them. So when Harold demands that he wed his daughter to the son of Helghi, his sworn enemy, Wulfhere has to find a way to save his daughter from a life of certain misery as the daughter-in-law of the cruel and resentful Helghi, without comprising his honour and loyalty to his lord, Harold.
Now meet the children of Wulfhere who have come to tell their stories to you
"I am the daughter of Wulfhere and I was fourteen when his story started. My father was the thegn of our village and I loved him dearly and he loved me as his favourite. I had always known I was his favourite child. He could deny me nothing. But it all went wrong for me and him when he came back from warring in the Northern lands where he had fought a terrible battle against the Scots. You see, I had fallen in love with the son of our neighbour, Helghi of Gorde. All that summer whilst Father was away, I sneaked away to meet him in the forest. I knew it was forbidden for any of us to talk to any of the people from Gorde, but I had no idea why. I had no idea of the depth of animosity that ran between our fathers. Edgar was a handsome lad, but he had a crippled leg. His father blamed my father for it, something to do with a horse that my father had sold his father, although he had warned Helghi that the horse was not suitable for a boy; Edgar had only been a child at the time and the horse had thrown him and broken his leg. Neither Edgar nor I could see that this was a problem. But soon we were to find out that we were two young lovers stuck in the middle of a blood feud that we knew nothing about. We were soon to learn that the rivers of hatred ran deeper than any of us could ever have known. A hatred that would tear us apart and never die until one of our fathers was dead.”
“I was only 8 years old when our saga began; and two years younger than my brother Tovi, my closest companion in my short childhood. Life was wonderful for us until the day my father was sent a package from the Lady of Waldron. That day was the day that would change our lives forever. Tovi and I used to spend our summer days running through the forest, playing amongst the woods and the stream and the pond where we used to swim. Once we caught our sister Freyda, swimming with her paramour, Edgar Helghison. We knew it was forbidden for any of us to speak to the Helghisons, but we didn’t really know why. Of course seeing our big sister with Edgar was a great source of amusement and we used it to our advantage. Freyda was not very happy that she had to pay for our silence by handing over the brooch and copper plated mirror I was very fond of. But soon all was blown and Freyda and Edgar were found out and I had to return the items very reluctantly and much to my displeasure.
"The day that father received the package, Tovi and I had been hunting with some of the village children. We were running like foxes through the woodland path when we met the man from Waldron, scaring his horse into throwing him off. Unfortunately he was hurt and his horse had run away, so he was unable to continue on to Horstede to finish his mission which was to give my father this little mysterious package from the Lady Alfgyva who lived in Waldron. With the innocence of children, we offered to take it to my father. If only we had not. For some reason, Tovi and I would always blame ourselves for that mysterious package contained something that would drive a wedge between our mother and father forever. If I could turn back the time, from that day, I would, for life was to change dramatically for us all.”
“My father, Wulfhere, thegn of Horstede was bred for war. He learned from a young age to fight with a spear first and then sword and axe. And it was also from a young age that he taught me and my twin brothers Wulfwin and Wulfric to fight too. I loved my father, but one day I was to catch him out and that was the day that my life changed. I began to see my father for the flawed human he truly was. But he always tried to be good to me and to my brothers and sisters and for that I would always respect him. Life was not always good for me in our household. My older brothers hated me, I never knew why. I think it was just their way. They loved to torment me and once they hung me from a tree to stop me from going hunting with the Earl. I was so excited that Father had said I could go and they stopped it from happening. Then another time they hung me down a well and almost drowned me because I stopped them from using my younger sister Winflaed as target practice. Luckily Father caught them and pulled me out. They were punished, but I never found out how. But you could be sure that they were not beaten. Father was not one for punishing us in that way.
"One happy thing in my life was my little sister Winflaed. She and I were allies against the tormenting twins. I wasn’t always very nice to her, but she always took my side, no matter what. But the worst thing in our lives was yet to come in the shape of a blood feud. No one could ever know what it was like to have your life blighted by one until you have experienced it yourself.
"My Father was to fight on many a bloody field, but sometimes the enemy was closer to home, far more sinister and deadly than any battle.”
“Sons of the Wolf is a snap shot of medieval life and politics as the events that lead to the downfall of Anglo-Saxon England play out, immersing the reader in the tapestry of life as it was before the Domesday Book. With depictions of everyday life experienced through the minds of the people of the times; of feasts in the Great Halls to battles fought in the countryside, it cannot help but enlighten, educate and entertain.” – Lorraine Hunt Lynn, author of The Bartlemas Anthologies.
Paula will give away an ecopy of Sons of the Wolf to one winner. Please comment below to enter the drawing, and be sure to leave contact information.
The winner is Denise!
Find out more about Paula Lofting and her novel Sons of the Wolf on her websites:
http://www.threadstothepast.blogspot.co.uk – a blog that studies the Bayeux Tapestry.
Also available on Waterstones, The Book Depository and all other good online bookstores, on Kindle and other E-readers.
This is an IndieB.R.A.G. Blog Tour
1. No purchase is necessary.
2. Your email address will not be given out or used for any other purpose than contacting you if you are a winner.
3. The prize is available to one winner. Should a prize not arrive, proof of shipping is all that may be required of the provider.
4. The contest is being offered by author Debra Brown, Corvallis, OR 97330 USA.
6. Each prize will be valued at the price of the offered paperback or ebook.
7. The winner will be chosen by third party random drawing.