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Reviewed by Divine Zape for Readers' Favorite
Pit of Vipers is the second book in the Sons of Kings series by Millie Thom, a book that leaves readers in no doubt that it is well-researched, and it is so well-crafted that the historical elements come alive lucidly. The narrative takes place as early as 864 and it relates the stories of Alfred of Wessex and Eadwulf of Mercia. Fifteen-year-old Alfred is devoted in his apprenticeship in the courts of his older brothers while Eadwulf returns home and is on a quest for revenge, one that becomes more complicated as days pass by. It’s not long before the heathen army lands on the coast of East Anglia. The Danes continue their raids, pillaging and taking kingdom after kingdom. King Aethelred and Alfred's brother wait impatiently, but are they ready for the ultimate encounter with the heathen?
This story is packed with history and readers who enjoy the culture of the Vikings will absolutely adore this book. The author places readers in a world that feels real, evoking relevant historical elements and painting a world that is exciting to explore. The wonderful prose, filled with beautiful descriptions, captures the reader’s attention right off the bat: “The raiding party crested the rise and drew rein to survey the settlement stretching seductively along the valley floor below. Weland’s smile widened as he eyed the herd of cattle, fat after months of barn-fed inactivity, grazing in the meadows flanking the glistening stream.” The writing is filled with such descriptions and images that are exciting to imagine. The characters are well-developed and readers will enjoy the developmental arc that the key characters like Alfred and Eadwulf follow. I found Pit of Vipers to be an exciting and hugely entertaining novel, thoroughly researched and executed with mastery. Millie Thom just became one of my favorite authors.