Book Review: Son of Mercia by MJ Porter

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Pub date: 16 February 2022

Tamworth, Mercia AD825.

The once-mighty kingdom of Mercia is in perilous danger.

Their King, Beornwulf lies dead and years of bitter in-fighting between the nobles, and cross border wars have left Mercia exposed to her enemies.

King Ecgberht of Wessex senses now is the time for his warriors to strike and exact his long-awaited bloody revenge on Mercia.

King Wiglaf, has claimed his right to rule Mercia, but can he unite a disparate Kingdom against the might of Wessex who are braying for blood and land?

Can King Wiglaf keep the dragons at bay or is Mercia doomed to disappear beneath the wings of the Wessex wyvern?

Can anyone save Mercia from destruction?

I could not have been more excited when I realised who the main character of this book is.ย  It is one of my absolute favourites from MJ’s First Viking Age Series.

Son of Mercia tells Icel’s story from a young boy until he emerges as a warrior. Although I was aware of what kind of character Icel would become I loved how his story develops his character giving those of us that have read the First Viking Age Series more insight into this incredible warrior and how he came to be so. Dont worry tho you don’t have to have read the other books this is brilliant on its own!

There are some great characters in this book, including Icel’s uncle Cenfrith, Wynflaed and Edwin. Each of these play an important role in Icel’s life and how he matures. He spends his early life under the protection of Cenfrith whilst apprenticed to healer Wynflaed. Icel, unlike his friend Edwin has no desire to become a Mercian warrior but his fate says otherwise. When Mercia is threatened, Icel and those he loves have no choice but so escape. Along the way there are many battles Icel and Cenfrith face to stay alive.

MJ writes battle scenes perfectly, you can almost hear Cenfrith’s seax twirling through the air. The descriptives of his fighting are brilliant and definitely a little gory!

There is a little mystery running through the whole book which MJ has created a fine balance of letting me think I know what’s going on to nope not a clue.

MJ has used real events to create a narrative that had me fully immersed in the book. The authors note provides the reader with further information about the events at the time and explains how MJ has used gaps in the Chronicles to give us Icel’s story.

If you’re looking for something with excellent battle scenes, humour and a sadness then this is perfect. I cannot wait for the next instalment I really did love this book.

If you’d like to know more about MJ’s First Viking Age you can find my reviews of the series so far in my posts and you can also find MJ over on Twitter and on her own Blog


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