For most of the early Middle Ages, England was divided into a series of kingdoms ruled over by different houses. Over centuries these kingdoms were absorbed, conquered, and annexed to form the England we know today, with many of the details of the men who ruled them subsequently lost to history.
Pat of the challenge for anyone seeking to study the era is sorting through this collection of names so as to understand who ruled where and when. In this respect Timothy Venning's book is a useful tool. Dividing the era into a series of chronologically arranged chapters, he offers brief biographies in chronological order of the kings who ruled during that time, as well as a few of the most notable queens. The biographies themselves vary in length, with some only a paragraph long while others cover several pages. Together they provide a summary of the basic facts about the monarch's life and reign, with little in the way of analysis or context. While a handy volume, Venning provides little that is not already more easily available online. This may raise questions of utility for some, but for those who want a useful reference guide at hand Venning's book meets the need adequately.
As I move ahead with my little English monarchy biography reviewing project one of the things I'm doing is acquiring then necessary books for it. While most I hope to get through Inter-Library Loan, there are a few that, because of their obscurity or their appeal, I will need to purchase if I want to read them.
The first of these was Timothy Venning's book. This was one of the few books available about Anglo-Saxon kings that I could find in my researches, and I decided to get it to compliment Richard Humble's book. Fortunately it was pretty affordable — the total came to less than $15, including shipping — and today I opened my mailbox to discover that it had arrived.
And it took me ten seconds to discover that it wasn't a history of the Anglo-Saxon kings, but a biographical dictionary.
Now, biographical dictionaries can be incredibly useful tools, which is probably why they remain in print even in the age of Wikipedia. But for my goals it's useless, as it provides little beyond a very basic overview of each person.
In a way, I'm relieved, as it means I can cross one title off of my ever-expanding list of titles to read for the site. But it is annoying that I had to spend nearly $15 to discover this, as it feels like a waste of good money. I want to just return the book, but it feels a little unfair to the bookseller to do so, as it is in every other respect exactly what I wanted. I guess I'll take this as a handy reminder why I don't want to spend any more money than I have to in order to make this project possible,
Quinn was looking for a brotherhood to belong to and found something more dangerous. This was a dark story with some steamy scenes, violence, and trust leading to the right kind of bond. I enjoyed the book as I liked the connection between Quinn and Kimber, and the trust between Quinn and his friends as they rescue Kimber. Kimber's strength of will and mind to survive made her a great heroine. I look forward to more in this series.
I received an ARC through Enticing Journey Book Promotions, and this is my unsolicited review.