Friday 22 September 2023

πŸ“– Book Review ~ For the Want of Silver by Michael E Wills

17 May 2023

My thanks to the author for my copy of this book

A novel based on the true story of a Viking raider who, over 30 years, acquired a fortune in English silver.

In the churchyard of the village of Orkesta, just north of the city of Stockholm, there are two eleventh century rune stones. One of them, in a few brief words, tells the world of the extraordinary achievements of Ulf of Borresta, who lived nearby. During a long career as a Viking raider, he became extremely rich on the proceeds of Danegeld. The carved runes mention the names of real Norse historical figures with whom he ravaged the English countryside. These names can be dated and the vicious raids and bloody battles where the Danegelds were won, identified.

πŸ“– My Review..

I have read several of this author's books for children so it was with great interest that I started this latest book which is aimed at the adult historical fiction market. As with all his books the author places you very firmly in the ancient world and with his fine eye for detail and impeccable research the eleventh century world of the Norsemen comes alive in the imagination.  The rune stones which mention Ulf of Borresta, a runemaster from Sweden, can still be seen and I must admit to googling in order to find out a little more about this mysterious person who I had never heard of before. 

Once the story began I was immediately taken back into a world which was filled with danger and intrigue all of which is brought to life by an author who really does know how to tell a good story as, whilst keeping to the known historical facts, he also brings the unknown into sharp focus. I enjoyed following Ulf's exploits as together with Erik, his boyhood friend, they follow a life of adventure whilst at the same time Ulf acquires much wealth in the form of Danegeld which he uses in order to make his life more prosperous. The story moves along quickly with some graphic detail, after all this is a time of Viking battles but there is also an authentic historical feel to the story with detailed description of what life was like during the eleventh century. 

Ulf of Borresta was a fascinating character and, thanks to this talented author, I am pleased to know a little more about him and the dangerous time in which he lived. For the Want of Silver brings a forgotten period of history to life with well drawn characters and the author's genuine love for this long forgotten period in world history.

Michael Wills was born in Newport on the Isle of Wight and attended the Priory Boys School and Carisbrooke Grammar. He trained as a teacher at St Peter’s College, Birmingham, before working at a secondary school in Kent.

Twitter @MWillsofSarum


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