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Book four, I have been following Beobrand’s trail of vengeance now for two years. It is a trail filled with death, destruction and devastation. I have witnessed Beobrand grow from a young “green” warrior into a leader of men.
What I really like about Harffy’s writing is the fact that he keeps it real. Many authors want to romanticize history, flower it up and create an unrealistic image. Harffy is writing about a dark time in history, his characters are not only gritty, they are dirty; they live a hard life, they have bigger concerns than getting a little dirt under their fingernails. Harffy has presented life as it was, not as we would like to think it was.
The presentation of attitudes and actions are equally as accurate. Harffy goes places that some authors are loath to go. History is filled with actions and attitudes that we deem unacceptable by today’s standards, but these things happened, sometimes the only difference between the good guy and the bad guy was simply who was able to present their side of the story. Kudos to Harffy for going to those dark places in our past.
Beobrand is a perfect character to use in the presentation of this time and place. Harffy can use him to illustrate the real life from this period. We only know the stories of kings and bishops; Beobrand was your “Joe Average”, well, perhaps a bit above average in his skills, and as my Roman authors would say, “Fortuna smiled on him” – a lot. How may Beobrands were there during this period? Good men, who made a difference, that time forgot. Harffy can tell us the story he wants and no one can say it didn’t happen like that, as long as he keeps the big picture accurate.
The fact that I am still following the story says something about Harffy’s skill as a storyteller and author. I have been captivated by the story and want to see it through to the end.