Toni Pilcher's Reviews > The Edge on the Sword

The Edge on the Sword by Rebecca Tingle
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's review
Jul 01, 2008

Rebecca Tingle and I should be friends. This novel, which tells the fictionalized story of a real Mercian queen (from the ninth century, no less), is full of adventure, trepidation, and hope. In the story, Flaed (this keyboard has no aesc symbol...) prepares for her arranged marriage to the aldorman of Mercia and the consequent alliance between their two countries. Outside forces are trying to prevent the alliance, so Flaed is preparing to defend herself. In addition, however, she is being instructed in reading and writing so that she can restore the art of learning to the Mercian people.

This book has a good balance of action and gentleness. Flaed learns to be a leader but, more importantly, she learns to be a female leader. Her character is thus inherently complex. She must make up for physical strength with quickness and battle strategy.

Edge also provides interesting information on the history of West Saxon and Mercia, including King Alfred's push for literacy (I heart Alfred!). My favorite thing about this book is the inclusion of the epic poem, Beowulf. Beowulf is the poem that Flaed and her brother read, and aspects of it become important to Flaed as challenges arise. The allusion to Beowulf adds to the richness of the narrative.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Old English history and princesses who can hold their own with a sword.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
July 1, 2008 – Shelved

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