The Varanger

A saga of intrigue and treachery in the Byzantine Empire


And he finds it . . . The Scraeling and his group of ‘the last, weary, raggy-arsed end of Hardraada’s day’ take military service in a Constantinople where the ruling house is tottering on the edge of collapse under an emperor who’d rather be a scholar. The Scraeling seeks only a quiet life while he tries to advance Osmund’s career as a varanger in the city’s armies.

However, events won’t leave him alone because one or two surprises from his youthful sojourn in that city turn up to complicate things. These surprises answer one or two of the questions that perceptive readers of ‘Landwaster’ may have felt impelled to ask, and some of the surprises are definitely, unequivocally, no-kidding . . . surprising.

As the realist that The Scraeling’s life and career have taught him to be, an ageing and gentler Ranulf de Lannion – “the most dangerous little bugger alive”, remember? – looks, at last, for a contented and peaceful retirement and the ending of the book sees him about to embark upon it, having tied up all the loose ends and made everyone happy . . .

Seriously??? Well, perhaps . . .

What the reviewers said

“This is a very entertaining book with a cast of well-drawn characters and a clever plot that hustles the story along with ever-increasing tension.”