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Release Date: February 5, 2015
This excellent follow up to Shadow on the Crown manages to be fast paced and exciting without sacrificing character development or scene descriptions.
I am hesitant to say that this series is about Emma of Normandy because while it does greatly involve her, it is much more multidimensional than that. Like it's predecessor, it's told from several points of view which include many other developed characters too. It's a novel about a queen who despises her husband but supports him nonetheless for the sake of her son's inheritance; but it's also about a ruthless and distrustful king struggling to hold his nation together as the Danish Vikings raid his lands and his dissatisfied northern lords look for a new ruler. It's about an entirely self-serving woman who would do anything to be queen, and anything to get revenge on those who wronged her. And it's also about an atheling (prince) forced to support a father he has no love or respect for in order to protect his own inheritance which is in direct conflict of the ambitions of the woman he loves. With narratives from all sides and conflicting relationships within each faction, there is nothing black and white about it. With great character development, lots of politics, and a few battle scenes thrown in, it makes this novel very difficult to put down.
Though it is a sequel, it could theoretically be read on it's own because the author does a good job summarizing or recapping what happened in the first book without it bogging down the story. And while I did enjoy the first novel, the second is a great improvement. However, I do think the first book is worth reading to get a better understanding of the characters and their relationships going into the second book.
The Price of Blood covers Emma's life from 1006 to 1012 and knowing Emma's historical life, I know there is still much more to come. I originally heard there was to be two books but Bracewell promises in the Author's Note there will be another, which I am already looking forward to.