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Book review: 'The Winter Warrior' by James Wilde

Novel takes readers to the aftermath of the Battle of Hastings and the English rebellion against William the Conqueror.
By Betty Lytle, For The Oklahoman Published: December 29, 2013

“The Winter Warrior: A Novel of Medieval England” by James Wilde (Pegasus, 384 pages, in stores).

James Wilde's newest novel continues the story of Hereward, an English warrior fighting against the Norman invasion.

The year is 1067. The Battle of Hastings is finished. William the Conqueror and his men have set upon England, torching villages and killing men, women and children. England will bow to William's will, even if he destroys everything and everyone in it.

But there is one who still stands in the way. He is Hereward, a warrior and tactical master. In a fenland fortress of water and wild woods, his army is growing. The Normans call it the Devil's Army, as they emerge out of the mist and water, bringing death to those who would invade their home.

William has, under his command, Ivo Taillebois, the man they call “the butcher.” In an effort to crush the rebels, the Normans will do whatever they must, including razing England to the ground. Striking in their realism, the battle scenes are gruesome and bloody.

Hereward is based on an actual historical figure. He was exiled by Edward the Confessor at some time before 1052.

Little was known of him until 1071, when he formed a rebellion against William.

It is probable that he rebelled because he thought he had a right to his father's estate. It is speculated that he may have been the model for Robin Hood, fighting the Normans to preserve the old English way of life.

Betty Lytle, for The Oklahoman