Paths of Exile is a wonderful story, one that conjures up this long-gone age in extraordinary detail and reveals a profound understanding of its politics, cultures, and religions based on extensive research. It may be true, as Nayland admits, that solid facts are rare indeed in 7th-century Britain, but these characterssome real, others pure fictionare so solid and credible that they will stay with you long after you turn the last page....
Full review on the Historical Novel Society website
geond lagu lade longe sceolde hreran
mid hondum hrim cealde sæ
wyrd bið ful aræd
(he must for a long time
travel the waterways, the ice-cold sea
tread the paths of exile.
Fate goes as it must)
--From The Wanderer, tenth-century Old English poem
Northumbria, Britain, 605 AD. The Roman Empire in the West has faded into memory, replaced by a colourful mosaic of competing kingdoms. The changing times bring great opportunities - and great dangers.
Eadwine is the youngest son of the king of Deira, guardian of a neglected frontier and the faithful ally of his eldest brother and hero Eadric. His ambition is to be a worthy lord to the frontier district, a good husband to his betrothed, and a reliable second-in-command to his brother. All these hopes are swept away when Deira is invaded by its powerful and predatory neighbour Bernicia. Eadwine reaches the capital just ahead of the invaders, having fought a fierce rearguard action, only to find that Eadric is already dead, shamefully murdered by a unknown assassin.
Eadwine survives the subsequent disastrous defeat, and now finds himself on the run for his life. The fearsome King of Bernicia, Aethelferth, has sworn an oath to the gods to kill Eadwine as thanks for the victory, and no king will dare to defy Aethelferth by offering Eadwine refuge. Eadwine must evade Aethelferth's relentless pursuit, identify and take vengeance on his brother's murderer, and rescue his betrothed. Along the way, he will lose his heart to another woman and discover a shattering secret that challenges all the ideals he holds dear.
A powerful novel. I was completely transported to the world of seventh century Britain. A strong new voice in the field of historical fiction; Carla Nayland has written a fine book.
Elizabeth Chadwick, award-winning author of The Greatest Knight and other novels.
"Carla Nayland pulls the curtain back on the little known period of seventh century Britain to reveal the fascinating world of Eadwine. Filled with unforgettable characters and wonderful historical detail, Paths of Exile is historical fiction at its most intriguing."
Michelle Moran, author of The Heretic Queen
Paths of Exile is an epic tale of battle, honour, loyalty and betrayal that is at once exquisitely entertaining and utterly convincing. Carla Nayland's prose is irresistible, luring the reader from the comforts of the 21st century into the harsh and often bloody reality of Saxon England. A triumphant debut that demands a sequel
Russell Whitfield, author of Gladiatrix
Read the first two sample chapters on this website.
Paths of Exile is published by Trifolium Books UK.
Paths of Exile is available from Wordery.com, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.ca and Amazon.com, and bookshops should also be able to order copies. It is also available from the Book Depository (free worldwide shipping). Available as an e-book from Amazon Kindle UK, Amazon Kindle US, and in several e-book formats including Kindle, Epub (Nook, Sony Reader) and Palm from Smashwords. Signed copies (limited stock) available direct from the author, contact me for details.
Historical note - how much of the story is history and how much is invention?
Map - showing where the story is set.
Reader reports and reviews - what others have said about the book.
Pronunciation guide to character names.
Irinya is Ingeld's daughter, rightful Lady of Carlundy, imprisoned by the tyrannical cousin who usurped her throne and married her by force. When she rescues the mysterious stranger Gyrdan from her husband's guards, she seizes her chance to escape.
But what is Gyrdan's business in Carlundy? Can Irinya's promise to restore justice win her enough support to overthrow the tyrant? And if it does, will she have to order the death of the man she loves?