Monday 15 January 2018

Blog Tour ~ An Argument of Blood by Matthew Willis and J A Ironside

Jaffareadstoo is delighted to host the first stop on 

An Argument of Blood Blog Tour

Oath and Crown Book 1
Penmore Press

My thanks to the publishers and  HF Virtual Book Tours for my invitation to be part of this tour
and for my review copy of the book.

What's it all about ...

William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom from the rebels. 

On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future. 

An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.

What did I think about it...

In An Argument of Blood, we first meet William, Duke of Normandy, when he is a headstrong and impetuous youth of nineteen, quick to anger and rather slow to take advice from those who think that they know better. That William comes across as spoiled and selfish young man makes for interesting reading, I appreciated getting to learn more of his character and of what focused his drive and ambition as he grew to maturity.

In direct contrast to William's rather angry personality we head across the English channel to learn more about what is happening in the Anglo-Saxon court of King Edward the Confessor, and first meet our narrator,  ten year old Ælfgifa, sister to the Jarl, Harold Godwinson, as she learns of the marriage between her older sister, Ealdgyth and the King. To see the Saxon court through the eyes of this insightful young girl is quite refreshing and I enjoyed reading of life at court and of the difficulties encountered, not just by Ælfgifa, but also of the faults and foibles of those who live alongside her.

An Argument of Blood is an interesting and vivid account of the events which will eventually lead to the invasion of England and this first book in the series sets the scene quite nicely, with the ending lending itself to a natural continuation in the story. Taken as a whole, the book is well written with good attention to detail and a nice sense of time and place. However, I found that I looked forward more to Ælfgifa’s side of the story rather more that William’s but that’s no disparagement of the writing, as both are equally descriptive.

Filled with political intrigue, danger and conspiracy, An Argument of Blood is an interesting interpretation of the events which will eventually lead to the Norman conquest.

About the Authors...

J.A. Ironside (Jules) grew up in rural Dorset, surrounded by books – which pretty much set he up for life as a complete bibliophile. She loves speculative fiction of all stripes, especially fantasy and science fiction, although when it comes to the written word, she’s not choosy and will read almost anything. Actually it would be fair to say she starts to go a bit peculiar if she doesn’t get through at least three books a week. She writes across various genres, both adult and YA fiction, and it’s a rare story if there isn’t a fantastical or speculative element in there somewhere. 

Jules has had several short stories published in magazines and anthologies, as well as recorded for literature podcasts. Books 1 and 2 of her popular Unveiled series are currently available with the 3rd and 4th books due for release Autumn/ Winter 2017. 

She also co-authored the sweeping epic historical Oath and Crown Duology with Matthew Willis, released June 2017 from Penmore Press. 

Jules now lives on the edge of the Cotswold way with her boyfriend creature and a small black and white cat, both of whom share a god-complex.

Website Facebook Twitter  Goodreads

Matthew Willis is an author of historical fiction, SF, fantasy and non-fiction. In June 2017 An Argument of Blood, the first of two historical novels about the Norman Conquest co-written with J.A. Ironside, was published. In 2015 his story Energy was shortlisted for the Bridport short story award. 

Matthew studied Literature and History of Science at the University of Kent, where he wrote an MA thesis on Joseph Conrad and sailed for the University in national competitions. He subsequently worked as a journalist for Autosport and F1 Racing magazines, before switching to a career with the National Health Service. 

His first non-fiction book, a history of the Blackburn Skua WW2 naval dive bomber, was published in 2007. He now has four non fiction books published with a fifth, a biography of test pilot Duncan Menzies, due later in 2017. He currently lives in Southampton and writes both fiction and non-fiction for a living.

During the Book Blast we will be giving away a signed copy of An Argument of Blood

To enter, please enter via the Gleam form below.

Giveaway Rules

– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on February 7th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– Winner has 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.



  1. Great review, Jo! Thanks so much for hosting An Argument of Blood Blog Tour!

    HF Virtual Book Tours

    1. Thanks, Amy. It was great fun being part of the tour. Thanks for the invitation 😀


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