Feature book review: Ulf’s Tale, by historical novelist John Broughton
Ulf’s Tale, by historical novelist, John Broughton is an impressive piece of historical fiction about the age of the Vikings and Scandinavia around the year 1002 A.D. In fact, it doesn’t read like a fiction whatsoever. Being quite familiar with Sweden, and to a degree Denmark and Norway, where the story takes place, the attention to detail, places, culture and folk is in itself so well done that the story could be taking place in the present, were not for the wars, the ravaging, the killing and of course, the Vikings. The story pivots around Ulf, the son of a Swedish high-placed family, who learns certain principles from his father, and goes on to live by those principles to the very end. Torn between allegiances to his family and kings of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, to whom he is either related or committed, Ulf deftly navigates his way through the constant power-plays, the back-stabbing, the conspiracies and plots, and in the end he finds himself at a crossroads where he must either live up to his principles and integrity and choose the hard road, one with the greatest of sacrificies, or the easy one and compromise everything he stood for. Which road he takes and what we learn from the character of this unique man, one who is almost displaced for his time, is best discovered by reading this well-written, highly descriptive book. It will make you feel as if you are back in time, a thousand years ago, sailing the high seas, flourishing a sword in bloody battle, and drinking ale in victory – only to start it all over again in the life of a Viking.
About John Broughton
John Broughton was born in the town of Cleethorpes on the North Sea coast of Lincolnshire, UK, not far from where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail in the Mayflower. In this town he studied at Clee Grammar School, whose founder died in 1709 in Queen Anne’s reign. In 1967 he had the best result in the Cambridge University Advanced Level examinations in History at county level and subsequently received a prize. He went on to take an honors degree in Medieval and Modern History at the University of Nottingham where he also studied Archaeology, with the ‘distinction’ of uncovering the first Roman villa window lintel found in the UK on a dig at Ancaster. Wow!
He has translated several books from Italian into English and also one from French. Work as the translator of various web sites kept him far too busy in the ’90s.
John retired in January 2014 and found that at last he had the time to take up writing once more – an activity he had to set aside since his children’s books in the ’80s. Obviously he chose the period that fascinates him most – the Anglo-Saxon period, hence the name of the website. The result being his first historical novel with the title ‘The Purple Thread’, followed by Wyrd of the Wolf, Saints and Sinners and Mixed Blessings all published by Endeavour Media. another, Sward and Sword is scheduled for autumn 2019. With new publishers Creativia, he has four novels: Perfecta Saxonia, Ulf’s Tale, Angenga and In the Name of the Mother.