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The Cross and the Curse

(Bernicia Chronicles #2)

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  874 ratings  ·  71 reviews
Before The Battle of Hastings.
Before Alfred fought the Danes.
Even before England.

Warlords battled across Britain to become the first King of the English.

When Beobrand’s valour brings about a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, the King of Northumbria rewards him with riches and land. Beobrand wishes for nothing more than to settle on his new e
Paperback, 427 pages
Published January 22nd 2016 by Matthew Harffy
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Average rating 4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  874 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Greg at 2 Book Lovers Reviews
The Cross and the Curse is the second book in the Bernicia Chronicles. Matthew Harffy has taken his readers on a voyage back in time to seventh century England, but instead of focusing on the famous historical characters of the period, we follow the life of Beobrand, a “normal” man, whose life and accomplishments would have never been recorded in the history books. I really enjoy this approach in historical fiction.

Matthew Harffy has painted a vivid picture of what life would have probably been like
If you've read my review of The Serpent Sword, you already know that I went into reading the second installment of Matthew Harffy's Bernicia Chronicles as a fan. I therefore jumped at the chance to get my hands on an ARC rather than have to wait for the January 2016 release date. Many thanks to the author for providing this in return for an honest review.

Those eagerly awaiting the continuation of Beobrand's story will not be disappointed. Matching the first book's pace and gruesome realism of the 7th centu
Nov 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-dark-ages
Where the Dark Ages come to glorious light and life.

Beobrand has returned to Bernicia and Bebbanburg from the first book, The Serpent Sword. As has Oswald, from exile, though he is now calling himself King. Cadwallon King of Gwynedd and the Welsh are soon dealt with and Beobrand’s star is on the rise. As a warrior, he is awesome, as a man, he is head over heels in love. Sunniva has got through his defences in a way no enemy ever could. Beobrand is made a Lord, with land and a retinue and e
Dec 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Readers and authors alike have often speculated, exchanged witty literary parlance, even argued -- for decades, without resolution – over one thing: What makes one piece of writing bad, another great? No one has solved this question, and likely no one ever will. Because writing and the enjoyment of what another has written is very subjective.

I won’t attempt to quantify or explain what makes writing bad. I think this one is fairly obvious and self-evident. Each of us knows at a deep,
David Baird
Nov 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you’ve read my review of The Serpent Sword you will know I’m a fan of Matthews already, I was blown away by his debut novel.

This is by far the best sequel I’ve read to date, the brutal theme from The Serpent Sword continues and we see our hero Beobrand faced with even more trouble and strife.

I felt for Beobrand, my heart was in my mouth a lot while reading this book. Harffy has no trouble at all kicking a man while he’s down and it made for an excellent read but at tim
Paul Bennett
Dec 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Is book 3 ready yet? :-) full review soon.

One of the perks of having a growing reputation, a well deserved one for this humble scribbler of book reviews, is obtaining advanced copies of an author's upcoming release. Such was the case here as the author sent me a copy of The Cross and the Curse, the follow up to his excellent debut, The Serpent Sword. Beobrand is now a renowned warrior in the retinue of King Oswald, is married to a beautiful and loving woman; things are looking up...f
Dan Stinton
Jan 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Outstanding follow up to the "The Serpent Sword" this 2nd book in the author's Bernicia Chronicles continues the story of Beobrand, a warrior in the retinue of King Oswald set against the backdrop of 7th century Britain. While the book deals with some of the bloody violence prevalent in that time period some wonderful character development sees our hero dealing with some very humane themes like love and betrayal and revenge and redemption. Throw in some questionable decision making and a spot of ...more
Eric Schumacher
May 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A page turner!

I’ve read two books in this series and it just keeps getting better. Harffy has a distinctive voice and storytelling ability that pulls you along and draws you in. I’m also a sucker for characters like Beobrand who wrestle with themselves as much as with their circumstances, and Harffy does a great job of navigating that struggle. In short, superbly written.
Blair Hodgkinson
Mar 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is the third story I've read from Matthew Harffy and I think it is the best I have read so far. I loved the first novel in the Bernicia Chronicles, but the second installment felt even more polished with plenty of natural conflict to propel a fantastic story. I love Matthew's use of language. His novel is set in the early, formative days of Saxon England and he has written a very modern novel in modern language on the subject, but with prose that is highly evocative of the period. To descri ...more
Richard Eyres
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook_2017
This is the second book in the series, and continues on from the events of the previous book.

The introduction was a little strange, and i wondered why it was there. There answer did come in the book.

The story plods along, and parts of the book is 'normal' life at the time. This is a good thing, as a book constantly full of battles would be very dull and boring.

This is a series that i will be keeping my eye on, and wondering how it will continue.
Reggie Kray
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A tremendous improvement from the first volume. This one gets ya in all the feels!
George (BuriedInBooks)
Warning! - Scenes of gory violence and adult content.

I finished cross and the Curse recently after reading The first book in the series The Serpent Sword last year, I loved the previous book so I carried on with the series.

The Cross And The Curse carries on the main protagonist Beobrands story, after the events of the last book Beobrand finds himself married rich and famous. Beobrand is given missions to complete.

I really loved the book and felt like I was also part of the world that Matth
Cindie Lovelace
Phenomenal. I love Bernard Cornwell's books and I feel like a traitor but these books are keeping me on the edge of my seat and I want to read them forever.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
In my opinion, this was Harffy's big jump into epic-style historical fiction, and he pulled it off marvelously. While 'The Serpent Sword' was a fun read and set the stage for a strong case of characters, 'The Cross and the Curse' showed clear maturation in writing style and imaginative ability to place a reader effortlessly into Dark Age Britain, yet also demonstrated originality in a field where within other books there's often a strong temptation to move towards certain archetypes and one-dime ...more
Aug 09, 2019 rated it did not like it
I feel really bad giving this book only one star, but I simply couldn't read it. After struggling through 35% of this, I almost can't believe I gave the first book in this series 4 stars. It's like a completely different book, I guess. I'm not really sure what it was that made this book so terrible for me, but I think it was the focus on war. War battles, at least when reading about them, change very little for several thousand years. Maybe a few of the weapons are different and maybe there are ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you've read The Serpent Sword then you'll love this one. This book is the tale of the turning point in Beobrand's life, as we see it change radically (for better or for worse, it's for you to decide). In addition to that, it's not just a book about war, swords and death, for you can see love, magic and humour sprinkled in it.
All in all, a truly page-turner!
Apr 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great second book in this series, I enjoyed the first book but this is even better. Now Beobrand is established in book one he is really developed as a character with human failings and virtues. I liked the weaving of the plot into what is known of the history of that time as well.
Matthew Harffy is developing an enjoyable to read style of narrative and the plot was well constructed. Looking forward to the next book, which shall be getting soon.
Allyson Wake
May 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Really enjoying this series. The first took me a little while to get into but by the end of this one I'm loving the series and really looking forward to continuing Beobrand's journey.
Steven Jackson
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Fast-paced and hugely descriptive.
alexandra mcnair
brilliant read such a sad story but very entertaining. Cannot wait to start the next book.

Really enjoy the period of time the author writes about. It is very descriptive and gives you a feel of the way of life.
Martin Murphy
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Starts quickly and then slows, then picks up to a fast paced ending, its a rip roaring story. Didn't want to put it down, you love and hate Beobrand at the same time.
Tricia Preston
Continuing excellence!
Set in the Seventh Century AD, this is the second book in the continuing adventures of Beobrand, hero of 'The Serpent Sword', a debut tale which I thought was excellent.
At the beginning we have a prologue set in 619AD, which shows how King Edwin was trying to introduce Christianity to Bernicia with the aid of the factual Paulinius, effectively highlighting the battle for hearts and minds between the 'Old Gods' and the 'New Christ God' during this period of histo
Mar 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Wow, Wow, Wow.
Having just read both The Serpent Sword and The Cross and the Curse, I think its safe to say they were one of the best books I've read in a long time. Impeccable writing, superb characterisation, bloody guts and gore, brilliant and fast paced battle scenes, romance, flux of emotions, and hints of a curse, Beobrand's story is one of a kind. He has matured since the first book, and now the conflict is more within himself- the angst at his father, and th
Ian Langham
This is the second book that continues story of Beobrand, a young warrior in the service of King Oswald of Northumbria. This volume takes a far darker tone than the first, in some of the subject matter. The writer Matthew Harffy seems to take delight in heaping misfortune and tragic circumstances on his hero Beobrand. However as the setting is in dark ages Britain it would be unrealistic for every thing to keep smelling of roses. In this tale the young Thegn in the service of his king proves his ...more
Richard Tearle
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
n the first in the series, The Serpent Sword, we first met Beobrand, a brash young man raised by outlaws and taught the ways of survival by use of a sword.

Little has changed other than Beobrand is a little older and continually questions his worth as a leader, though his fame as a warrior is spreading. He comes to the attention of Oswald, a king who desires to be king of all England. Having disposed of Cadwallon, Oswald now faces a bigger threat from the rising star that is Penda of
John Dunworth
Feb 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've enjoyed reading historical novels for many years, especially those set during the Roman Republic and Empire and the early medieval period in Northern Europe. Some of my favorite authors are Giles Kristian, Ben Kane, Simon Scarrow, Angus Donald and of course Bernard Cornwell. I'm glad to say that I now have another "must read" author.
I enjoyed Mr Harffy's first book, "The Serpent Sword" so much that I placed an advance order for "The Cross and the Curse" and I was not disappointed. Thi
Marsha Lambert
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Cross and the Curse, book 2 from Matthew Harffy is another epic tale bringing the reader to dark age Britain and the life and death struggles of the main character, Beobrand.

A gritty, realistic tale of a war torn land, The Cross and the Curse is a page turner. Beobrand is well written with depth and humanity. We feel for him as he deals with his new responsibilities, his new riches, and his new losses. Harffy makes the reader root for Beobrand to overcome his difficulties, beat h
Robin Carter
Jan 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

follow link for full review


Matthew Harffy and The Cross and the Curse, what can i say? Simply its great, Matthew has the potential to match SJA Turney in the realms of Independent Publishing. The first book in the series “The Serpent Sword” was a resounding success and deservedly so.

The hard part as always for any author is the second book, having to repeat that effort and pull together the magic that makes a great novel. Matthew managed this w
Laurie Pringle
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved all the books. Jones'n for the next one!
Richard Ward
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Having captured our attention with his first book The Serpent Sword (Bernicia Chronicles Book 1), Matthew's talent as a story-teller has become more evident in The Cross and the Curse. He is able to develop characters who are not just plausible but also demand a reaction from the reader. The lives of these characters are woven neatly into an exciting history, full of visceral scenes and historical landmarks, that seized my attention from start to finish. I can't deny that I am already impatient ...more
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Matthew Harffy lived in Northumberland as a child and the area had a great impact on him. The rugged terrain, ruined castles and rocky coastline made it easy to imagine the past. Decades later, a documentary about Northumbria's Golden Age sowed the kernel of an idea for a series of historical fiction novels. The first of them is the action-packed tale of vengeance and coming of age, THE SERPENT SW ...more

Other books in the series

Bernicia Chronicles (6 books)
  • The Serpent Sword (Bernicia Chronicles #1)
  • Blood and Blade (Bernicia Chronicles #3)
  • Killer of Kings (Bernicia Chronicles #4)
  • Warrior of Woden (The Bernicia Chronicles)
  • Storm of Steel (The Bernicia Chronicles)