Matthew has been sent by Lord Alfred to Leatherhead to train the locals and defend the ford from a dangerous attack by the Viking warriors camped nearby. Severely outnumbered and lacking skill, this doesn't look good. If this wasn't difficult enough, Matthew has also been tasked with investigating the tyranny of the Ealdorman's step son who has been accused of setting up raids for self gain.
Bishop has clearly done his research for this book which shines brightly throughout the story. It must be really hard to write a book that covers one of the most important times in English history, but bishop imprints his knowledge and creativity into his work to create a Fantastic combination of history and fiction. The level of detail is truly incredible. Bishop gives a great account of how tough it must have been back in the Anglo-Saxon era making everything feel so real. I think this is why I loved this series so much and why I believe Chris Bishop is up there with the likes of Bernard Cornwell.
The characters in the series was another standout point from book one to three. We've watched Matthew grow from a timid novice monk to the infamous warrior with the pierced heart, it's hard not to appreciate bishops work in creating such an impressive character. I thought Aelred also complemented the MC very well. He's a loyal companion, trusted counsellor and deadly warrior all wrapped into one. I found Aelred to be a bit hot-headed and unpredictable in the second book because in this third book, he's very much chilled and steered Matthew away from violence. I would love to see a spin-off of Aelred's life before he met Matthew!
Overall, I have loved Chris Bishops Shadow of the Raven series. It sits highly on my list when it comes to recommending historical fiction books. I would like to thank Netgalley and the guys at RedDoor Press for providing me with a copy to read and review!