Oswald: Return of the King by Edoardo Albert is the second book in the Northumbrian Thrones series, sequel to Edwin, High King of Britain. With a total of 448 pages, this book delves further into early English history. The author draws from one of the earliest known British historical sources, Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, to paint a vivid picture of a little-known time period.
As the title suggests, the author originally came to this field of history through an interest in Tolkien's work; the keen reader will notice parallels between Oswald and Aragorn. Fans of world-building fantasy will enjoy this book, as will fans of medieval history novels. I would recommend reading the previous book first, just because it can be hard to keep track of who is feuding with whom otherwise. The author did provide a cast of characters at the beginning of the book, which can help boost one's memory.
What really intrigues me about this book is Oswald's personal struggle. At the beginning, he is content living on the island of Iona with the monks; he even looks forward to joining the order himself. A good portion of the book deals with Oswald's struggle between two paths, between ruling the kingdom or setting power aside.
I really look forward to the final book in this trilogy.
I was given a free copy of this book by Kregel Press in exchange for an honest review.