Tuesday, November 21, 2023

The Sea's Edge by Garth Pettersen (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

The Sea’s Edge


Garth Pettersen




GENRE: Historical Fiction






In 1030 C.E., Cnute, king of England, Denmark, and Norway, sends Harald, his middle son, to the Kingdom of Dublin to meet with his Norse-Irish allies. Harald’s mission is to coordinate an invasion of the northern Welsh kingdom of Gwynedd, to replace King Rhydderch who is growing too powerful on England’s borders. Harald is reluctant to be involved in affairs of state, but agrees to go, even though his beloved wife, Selia, is unwell. Harald tells Selia he will not have to take part in the fighting.


While she waits for Harald to return, Selia and her friend Gudrun befriend a young and attractive gleeman (poet-minstrel). When the gleeman is accused of a crime, Selia seeks witnesses in his defense.


Harald becomes involved in a conflict with Dublin’s neighbor, and to appease the king of Dublin, he commits to leading their combined forces in the attack on Wales. The plan is to replace King Rhydderch with Iago, the weaker King of Anglesey. The more Harald learns of these monarchs, the more his allegiance leans toward the man he has been sent to kill.


Will Harald unseat a strong and just ruler to carry out his father/king’s commands, or will he tread a more righteous road, which will destroy the life he and Selia have built in England?






The rain beat upon the thatch of Gwyn and Gudrun’s new hall, running off in rivulets that wet-tapped the ground in a thousand places on each side. The evening fire in the hall’s center warmed the occupants where they sat upon benches finishing the evening meal. The woodsmoke rose just well enough to find the smoke hole in the roof. The tang of the smoke was as natural as to them as the smell of the brook trout caught that day. This night all savoured barley-bread hearthcakes and a hearty pottage to which the fish chunks had been added. With Gudrun, Meleri, Selia, and their guest, three hirelings and their small families shared the meal. Two older children sat with Meleri. The housecarls Gunnar and Geir joined the gathering, while Sture acted as wardmann, watching through a watery curtain that dripped relentlessly from the roof of an out-building.


“Tell me, Trygve,” Selia said, scooping the pottage with her chunk of hearthcake, “why are you known as Trygve det Kostbar, ‘Trygva the Precious’?”


The ale-scop finished drinking from the horn of ale that was going round and passed it to another. “It is not always the best names that attach themselves. Whether it was originally a jest, I know not, but where I grew up in J√≥rvik, there was more than one Trygve. They say I was an attractive and well-behaved child and folk called me “Precious.”

“Not because of self-love?” Selia shot a knowing glance to Gudrun, who stifled a laugh.

“I...” Trygve began to speak but probably decided against defending himself. “No, I think not.”

“And what were the other Trygves called?” Gudrun asked with a barely hidden smile.

“Trygve Bent Nose,” Selia suggested.

“Trygve Small Balls?” said Gudrun.

“Trygve Cat Whiskers?” Selia added. By now the women laughed with abandon and even the children joined in.

“Trygve Dog Shit?” said the young boy, Cerdic.

To his credit, Trygve the Precious laughed along with everyone.

The jibing continued until everyone’s wits became stale and the names less clever.

“Well, Trygve,” said Gudrun. “It is a wise man who can laugh when the jest targets him,”

“An ale-scop would soon be unwelcome if he took offence at every fire he shared.”



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AUTHOR Bio and Links

Garth Pettersen is a Canadian writer living in the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, BC. When he's not writing, he is riding horses or working on his acreage. Garth's short stories have appeared in a number of anthologies and in journals such as Blank Spaces, The Spadina Literary Review, and The Opening Line Literary 'Zine. His story, River's Rising, was awarded an Honourable Mention for the Short Story America 2017 Prize, and his fantasy novella River Born, was one of two runners-up for the Windsor Editions (UK) Short Fiction Prize. Garth Pettersen's historical fiction series, The Atheling Chronicles is published by Tirgearr Publishing and books one, two, and three are available at most online outlets (The Swan's Road, The Dane Law, and The Cold Hearth). The fourth book, The Sea’s Edge, will be released in November, 2023.







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The tour dates can be found here



My review:


4.5 stars

“The Sea’s Edge” by Garth Pettersen is the fourth book in ‘The Atheling Chronicles’ series and provides a vivid picture of the harshness and struggles between the various kingdoms that were the precursor to modern-day England and Wales. Combining authenticity and a compelling story, the story gives insight into the character of Harald, son of King Cnute, as he faces multiple challenges while acting as his father’s emissary yet remains true to himself.

There is an extensive list of words and characters at the beginning of the story to help immerse oneself in the culture and language of this era, and the multiple threads of the tale give an in-depth picture of life during this time period.

This is not a story I would normally have read, but I am impressed at the author’s ability to make a complex and intricate history come alive. Although I have not read the other stories in this series, I had no problem becoming immersed in the story, and I love that the reader is given a chance to see the implications and difficulties in juggling the realities of survival with the idealism of beliefs. Those who are squeamish should be warned that there is a fair degree of violence and death, although nothing graphic. A story well worth reading if one has any interest in learning about the cultures and lifestyles of this time period.

A copy of this story was provided for review


  1. Thanks so much for featuring this book and reviewing today.

  2. Thank you, Reading Addict, for hosting this stop on the Blog Tour for The Sea's Edge, and thank you for fine review.

  3. This sounds like a good book and I really like the cover.