“Uneasy is the head that wears a crown”, according to Shakespeare, but a significant burden also falls on the children of those with this responsibility. In The Cold Hearth by Garth Pettersen, Harald, the second son of a king who is both loved and hated, has learned that there are forces who wish them harm.
The threat, “The sons of Cute are dead men”, has reached across the sea. Even though he has moved far away from the concerns of the throne, these words have reached his ears. How far does the reach of his father’s enemies extend? When a throne is at stake, can anyone really be trusted?
With a troubled period in English history as the backdrop, Pettersen has woven a tale filled with surprising twists. Instead of relying only on plot elements, the writer does a good job of exploring the characters’ emotional angst. Harald, who seeks a peaceful life, finds that danger has sought him out due to forces outside his control.
The Cold Hearth avoids the heavy-handed approach that is often a feature of this type of story. In fact, there are moments of lighthearted wit that keep the story balanced. This is book 3 in the Atheling Chronicles. Even without reading the first two books, this story stands well on its own.
If you love ancient history, you will enjoy this story.
NOTE: I received a copy of the book to review. This is my true and honest opinion.