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The Bone Thief (Wulfgar, #1)
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The Bone Thief

(Wulfgar #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  204 ratings  ·  41 reviews
Edward, son of Alfred the Great, has inherited the Kingdom of Wessex and achieved a precarious set of alliances through marriage and military conquest. But the alliance is uneasy and the kingdom of Mercia has more reason than most to fear the might of Wessex. Their Lord is elderly and perhaps mortally sick, and his wife fears that she does not have the power to withstand h ...more
Hardcover, 440 pages
Published February 16th 2012 by Ebury Press (first published February 1st 2012)
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Richard Abbott
Mar 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let me first say that I really enjoyed this book and have no hesitation in awarding five stars.

The Bone Thief is set in tenth century England, at a time when there was no united kingdom but rather several different regions under separate leadership. The region I know best, having lived in it for many years, is Wessex - in the south - whose capital at the time was Winchester. The main character, Wulfgar, a junior but well-trained priest, grew up there. But the story really begins in Mercia, a gre
...more
Rebecca
Jan 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is a very charming and delightful piece of historical fiction that takes a fresh new stance in the genre by having the main character not a young earl/lord wronged by some ancient family feud but a humble deacon in the church of Gloucester in the old kingdom of Mercia, who loves his Lady, Athelflead and is sent on a quest which is guaranteed to take him out of his comfort zone and prove his worth to her in ways beyond his role as secretary. Yet little does this quiet man or indeed the ...more
Carolinemawer
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
Its a page-turner, with some interesting (I'm not a historical expert, so I dont know really how good) historical detail. Cleverly written too, with a weedy hero that readers may identify with from the comfort of their armchairs, plus an effective ensemble of characters: muscles/good riding; wise man/also with muscles/and a musician too; gorgeously sexy strong woman to appeal to all those lady readers out there.
But i thought there were some distinct plot / character issues
1. the weedy guy sudde
...more
Anna
Nov 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: anglo-saxons
Very enjoyable, I love the setting of the so-called Dark Ages in England, although I didn't find it quite as satisfying as the "Uhtred" novels by Bernard Cornwell. Whitworth writes a good story but she leaves out much of the brutality of the time; at times I found myself thinking that this would be a suitable book for introducing younger readers to Anglo-Saxon England. Overall fun, but give me Bernard Cornwell's blood-soaked fiction any day...
Victoria Whitworth
Can't really comment, being the author...
Theresa Tomlinson
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I’ve just finished reading this book and enjoyed it so much that I slowed down towards the end, as I felt that I didn’t want to leave the world of Wulfgar behind. It is so rare to find a novel set in 900 A.D. The front cover says ‘an unlikely hero’ - yes , but just the sort of hero that I find I can identify with. Wulfgar is a sub-deacon who is sent by Athelfled/’Fleda’ - the Lady of the Mercians on a quest to discover and bring back, the bones of St Oswald. Wulfgar is humble, modest, frightened ...more
Beorn
A well-written, easily accessible read with a neat twist on the usual historical fiction set-up. The lead character, Wulfgar, is far from the brash, confident expert fighter you usually see stories centred around. He's a nervous, insecure, daydreamer prone to self-doubt and procrastination.

The main thing that lets this book down is the abject lack of any palpable menace or sense of atmosphere. The characters are particularly one-dimensional utterly replaceable drones who could easily meet a stic
...more
The Idle Woman
Set in 900 AD, The Bone Thief follows Wulfgar, subdeacon at Worcester Cathedral and a devoted adherent of Athelfled, Lady of Mercia and daughter of the late Alfred of Wessex. When the Lady's husband falls seriously ill, and Mercia comes under the predatory gaze of Athelfled's brother, Edward of Wessex, it's decided that the vulnerable kingdom needs some divine help. Mercia has no powerful saints of its own, so the Bishop decrees that one should be imported. And who better than St Oswald, whose r ...more
Lynn S.
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it
I liked this book, I liked the characters and the story was good. I wasn't sure I liked Wulfgar at first but he changes for the better as the story unfolds.
Iset
Jul 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
A studious monk is our protagonist, thoughtfully solving puzzles and problems, but a novice in the dangerous world of politics, and utterly inexperienced in physical fights, rather a handicap in the world of dark age Britain where might is often right. A motley crew accompany him on his mission, a complex and difficult assignment to retrieve the bones of St Oswald, and the plot twists and turns with the impact of the actions of outside characters with their own motives as well as the main charac ...more
Natalie
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it
The Bone Thief is set in the Anglo-Saxon period, just after the death of Alfred the Great, and tells the story of Wulfgar's efforts to recover the bones of St Oswald from Danish-held territory. It aims to be a quest/adventure story, but the level of narrative tension is low: every time Wulfgar gets into a spot of bother, someone rescues him within a few pages. While there is some violence, this seems mild and detached, and does not really bring to life the brutal reality of the times. It suffers ...more
Patricia Bracewell
3.5 Stars
To begin with, I love the cover of this book. If I had a print of it, I’d frame it and hang it on my wall. Now, about the story. Although the title might lead one to think this is a mystery, it is instead a quest novel in the tradition of Tolkien’s THE HOBBIT. It’s not fantasy, but it is set in the Anglo-Saxon world that was the inspiration for Tolkien’s tale. The world of THE BONE THIEF is real -- permeated with Christian rites, laws, traditions and beliefs because that’s the way it w
...more
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016, book-group
Given to me to read by my book group, this wasn't completely awful (perchance a 2.5 star, as opposed to a blunt two) but basically wasn't 'my kind of thing'.

Set in 10th Century England, the tale follows a young trainee priest sent from Gloucester cross country into the wild Danish-controlled lands to the North East, seeking some saintly relics. On the way he meets plenty of interesting people with unusual names, and has plenty of adventures appropriate to the time in which the book was set.

This
...more
Diane
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The year is 900 A.D. and England is ruled, in part, by the Danes and the rest of the country is divided with the Kingdoms of Wessex and Mercia with Wessex being the stronger of the two. The Lord of Mercia is ill and his wife does not think she can withstand a takeover from the King of Wessex who also happens to be her brother. She thinks it would be helpful to give the Mercians a rallying point and with that end in mind, priest Wulfgar who is her friend and secretary is tasked with retrieving th ...more
Ruth
Apr 13, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: history
C2012: I found a recommendation for this one from one of the book blogging sites that I cyber-stalk from time to time. It was a good read and, although it starts a little hesitantly, it developed into a really exciting ending. As it says two thirds of the way through “It was all supposed to have been so easy. Go to Bardney. Get the relics. Go home.” I am looking forward to some more of Wulfgar’s adventures. The characters were developed gradually and there is some very gentle humour and some toi ...more
Katharine
Apr 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. Wulfgar was an engaging and endearing hero and I became completely immersed in his trials and tribulations. The other characters were also fascinating particularly Father Ronan and Gunnvor Cat's Eyes and I'm very glad there's another book in the series as I hope to meet them again. The author drew a compelling picture of England in 900AD complete with political machinations between Wessex and Mercia and between the Viking leaders. It all felt very believable, particul ...more
Jo
Aug 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wulfgar is a trainee priest in Anglo-Saxon times. He is given the task by the lady of the district of travelling north to retrieve the bones of St Oswald. And, shenanigans ensue. He has to deal with the Danes and various rogues and some interesting allies. Okay, so the characters have all been done before and the storyline is like a lot of books I've read previously yet the author seemed to make all feel shiny and new. I enjoyed this more than I expected and look forward to reading more by this ...more
Sue
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I would recommend this ot anyone looking for a good read. I like the way the hero of the story is not some strong, perfect man who is good at everything. He's a bit soft and feels guilty when he gets things wrong. He's not of noble birth he's an ordinary person. The world is really well drawn without the research being at all clunky. Took a while to get going but it gets more and more gripping as it goes on.
Liz Chapman
Apr 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed reading this book of historical fiction I couldn't put it down! Wolfgar is an endearing character , sent on a quest to find the lost bones Of St Oswald in the Badlands of the north . Between the kingdoms of Wessex and Mersia and the Northern territories ruled by the Viking invaders, Wulfgar has the adventure of a lifetime . I would Definately try to find the next book ' The Traitors Pit' so that I can find out what happens next.
Edoardo Albert
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
An exhilirating jaunt through the badlands of early 10th century Britain (ie. Leicester and Lincoln - at the time under Danish control). The unwilling hero, a distinctly unwarlike cleric with his eye on a bishopric, is a lovely creation, and the supporting characters cut a wide swathe through contemporary society, from thralls to kings. Underpinned by a great deal of unobtrusive scholarship, this makes an excellent introduction to (now slightly less) Dark Ages.
Rachel Evers
Jul 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Well-written, unpretentious in tone, a little slow to get going but once it did I found myself getting through it incredibly quickly. The writer introduces us to a very colourful cast of characters, some real historical figures, some imagined. My favourite was no doubt the main character; Wulfgar, whom I found very endearing and a welcome change from the usual hero of a historical fiction novel. (I'm keeping my fingers crossed for Gunnvor and him... Just kiss already! Haha)
Evan May
Sep 22, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is not only a meticulously researched and authentic historical novel from the pen of a scholar, it also brings the world of Anglo-Saxon England vibrantly to life. It is also awash in deeply realized, genuine characters, and it is also an engaging, exciting, thoroughly fun story. The Bone Thief is a wonderful read on many levels.
Bram Cleaver
May 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is quite a fun read, filled with wonderful and accurate historical detail (as well as some very plausible speculation).

I recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction, especially those with an interest in Anglo-Saxon and Viking matters.

I can't wait to start the second book in the series.
Geoff
Aug 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anglo-saxon
As this series of novels (two at least - hope there are more) is set in post-Alfred England it will more than likely be compared to Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series. Which is unfortunate.
The unworldly sub-deacon Wuffa makes for a likeable if unlikely hero. I liked the Mercian pov - a refreshing change from the dominant West Saxon triumphalism.


Robert Dunn
Sep 11, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is not bad. The plot is a little thin but the author provides her view of life in Saxon England. Quite brutal and a very dangerous place to live. Local warlords jealous of their territory and always looking for a way to subjugate his neighbour. The bones are those of the local hero now a saint. Everyone wants them and will do anything to get them. I will read the next instalment.
Jo Barton
Apr 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
This one started off well, but I found myself losing interest half way through. The book is written well enough and the research appears to be impeccable, I just didn't warm to the characters or the story.
Rachel Gallehawk
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Really enjoying this historical novel. Very easy to read and the main character - a priest in training- easily liked. Fascinating to read about the clash of tribes in England and the power struggles.
Pete
Apr 27, 2012 rated it it was ok


Uuuummmmmm, I'm afraid I didn't overly enjoy this book, there seemed to be a lot of repeating the story as the book progressed and I found myself skimming through it to get to the end.All I wanted to was get it finished so going off other reviews I was quite disappointed .
Chris Cook
Jul 31, 2013 rated it it was ok
A bit disappointing. Whilst I learnt some of the historical background, which was new to me, the story itself was a bit predictable.
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Goodreads Librari...: Title needs truncating 2 23 Aug 17, 2014 09:00AM  
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Aka Victoria Thompson and
Victoria Whitworth

V.M. works as an academic writer and lecturer, specialising in the Middle Ages. After reading English at Oxford, V.M gained an M.A. and D.Phil from the Centre for Medieval Studies in York.

Having worked as a lecturer, tour guide, artist's model and EFL teacher, V.M. now lives on a smallholding in Orkney with family, cats, ducks and occasional sheep, plan
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Other books in the series

Wulfgar (2 books)
  • The Traitors' Pit (Wulfgar, #2)