OSWALD: RETURN OF THE KING, by Edoardo Albert.

OSWALD: RETURN OF THE KING, by Edoardo Albert. Published by Lion Fiction (01865-302757). £7.99. Softback.

THE second book in the series ‘The Northumbrian Thrones’ follows the young Prince Oswald’s return from exile on the island of Iona to regain the throne once held by his father King Ethelfrith of Northumbria.

This ‘imaginative history’ based on the brief facts recorded in the Venerable Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People is, says the author, “as near a true story as I could write”.

When news reaches Iona that Oswald’s half brother, Eanfrith, has been killed by Cadwallon, King of Gwynedd, who is seeking to expand his rule into Northumbria, Oswald sails to the Northumberland coast. At the head of a small army, he seeks out Cadwallon and defeats him at the Battle of Heavenfield.

This fast-paced story then follows the eight turbulent years of Oswald’s reign and his friendship with Aidan, to whom he gave the island of Lindisfarne as a base. But Penda of Mercia, the last great pagan king in England, is raising troops against him…


FROM FLANDERS TO FLORENCE, by John Kershaw. Published by the author. (Tel:01669-621774. Email: wjsk@btinternet.com) £7.99. Softback.

A brief account of Dr Kershaw’s research into the Lindisfarne Castle Silkworm prints was featured in issue 114 of The Northumbrian, ‘Age Old Secrets of the Silkmaker’s Art’ and this book now reveals the full story behind these historical engravings which show the various stages in the life cycle of the silkmoth and the secrets of silk production developed by Flemish artisans in the 16th century and reveals the identity of the two master craftsmen who engraved these rare silkworm plates.


MACLAUCHLAN’S DERE STREET, by Henry MacLauchlan. Reprint published by Wanney Books (www.wildsofwanney.co.uk). £4.50. Softback.

IN 1849 the author, an expert surveyor and antiquarian, was commissioned by the Duke of Northumberland to survey the Roman remains in Northumberland, including the subject of this book, Dere Street (Watling Street) from the Tees to the Scottish border.

His survey was carried out at a time when Roman remains were far more visible in the landscape than they are today and MacLauchlan’s 1851 memoir provides a fascinating insight into our Roman past.