Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Rob Reviews: Wulfsuna (Wolf Spear Saga Book One)

Wulfsuna (Book I in The Wolf Spear Saga) by E. S. Moxon
Review by Rob Bayliss

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Wulfgar thought of all that had brought him here. Life was not as he would have wished it to be. With each bend in the road, Woden tested his resolve, poking a spearhead in his back to force him along a path he did not want to tread.

By 410 B.C., riven by dynastic power struggles, internal rebellions and gathering threats outside its borders, the Western Roman Empire was in a perilous state. For many years now the empire had clung onto a semblance of unity, its martial glory now a memory, as it got increasingly reliant on using Germanic mercenaries to defend itself. It was only a matter of time until these mercenaries were drawn into the dynastic power plays and began to wield political clout. It was in this year that the famous Rescript of Honorius (Honorious being the Western Roman Emperor) was issued instructing the inhabitants of Britannia to “look to their own defense.” 

In truth the province had already been doing just that. Thirty years previously Roman troops had been withdrawn from the north and west to counter the Visigoth threat to Italy itself. The remaining garrisons were stripped further as the-would-be emperor, Constantine III, endeavoured to build a separate Romano-Celtic Empire of Britannia, Gaul and Hispania. Alas Constantine was no match for the treacherous world of Roman politics and his quest to found his own dynasty came to nothing. And all the time there were raids by Picts, Irish, Scotti, Angles and Saxons. Little wonder then, that the Romano-British did as before and employed Angles, Saxons and Jutes to bolster their defense.

In E. S. Moxon’s Wulfsuna it is now 433 A.D.; we meet a Saxon tribe of the same name which has long traversed the North Sea as mercenaries and settlers. Their leader Wulfric once served Rome as a mercenary, but has a dream of returning and carving out a new home alongside his kinsmen, who stayed and married local women. He is joined in this endeavour with his temperamental allies, the Angles, but upon landing the plan goes awry.

Betrayed by the Angles, Wulfric is killed and his son Wulfgar is thrust into the unenviable task of fulfilling his father’s dream, despite the two branches distrusting each other. Wulfgar is a complex character, mourning his father, not adequately versed in the ways of a Headman and, perplexed by troubling dreams of witchcraft, he must unite the strands of the Wulfsuna, while all the time the Angles are a constant threat.

Meanwhile across the land a young British girl, Morwyneth, has recently lost her mother. She has the gift (or curse) of foresight and is mistrusted among her people. Inadvertently she becomes involved in treacherous Roman politics at the local level and is expelled from her tribe. In the wild, her dreams become dominated by a growing threat to her village, but also a vision of a young wolf…

The author has researched this period to a very high degree to bring this world to life. Dress, custom and beliefs of the time are well described. This is the cusp of when the province of Britannia began to culturally change to modern England and Wales. As well as historical fiction this has the fantasy element of the young seer’s dreams and the manner in which she is found by the tribe. The Wulfsuna fear the supernatural power of the Nix, which Morwyneth seems to exhibit, yet she is the means by which the two branches of the Wulfsuna can be united. There is also an element of the romantic novel here, as a marriage of convenience blossoms into love. This element avoids being clich├ęd and in some ways is a microcosm of the lands of Romano-Celtic Britain becoming Anglo-Saxon England.

Wulfgar came to understand his wife's affinity with the land and its magick; how she knew every leaf, every fruit and understood each animal and their cry. He felt the ground speak to him, its pulsing life-rhythm flowing through his feet like the roots of the mighty world tree, Yggdrasil.

The characters are well fleshed out; Wulfgar, one of the main point-of-view characters seems initially unpleasant, certainly lacking the charisma of his half-British friend Siegfrith, but he grows on the reader, mirroring his slowly ascending reputation as headman of the Wulfsuna. The other main character, Morwyneth, grows in confidence throughout the novel, both in her adopted tribe and in harnessing her gift. As this is book one of The Wolf Spear Saga it will be interesting to see what the future holds in subsequent sequels.

Author E. S. Moxon has so kindly offered a FREE COPY of Wulfsuna to one lucky winner. To be part of our drawing, simply comment below OR at this review's associated Facebook thread, located here.

About the Author:
Of Anglo-Italian heritage, E. S. Moxon's life has always involved languages and travel. Growing up she spent many family holidays visiting ancient burial sites and stone circles, exploring Britain's multi-cultural past. Her Italian grandfather's tales of the roguish adventures of his youth fuelled Elaine's passion for writing from a young age. She is currently working on  book two of the Wolf Spear Saga, which is set in 460 A.D. and follows the lives of the Wolf Sons 27 years after the end of Wulfsuna. A former holistic therapist and current member of the Historical Novel Society, she lives in the Midlands with her family.

You can learn more about Elaine Moxon and her projects at TwitterFacebookGoodreads, her blog and webpage. Wulfsuna may also be purchased at AmazonAmazon UK or direct


Rob Bayliss is a reviewer at The Review and is currently writing his own fantasy series. Information on his writing projects can be found at Flint & Steel, Fire & Shadow.

Note: This post has been updated to reflect the format of the giveaway as a signed paperback. 


  1. Wonderful review! I would love to read this book as this time period in history is one I am very interested in.

  2. A great review as ever Rob. This is just my thing, count me in.

  3. Thank you Rob for the marvellous review. And thank you also Marsha and Cliff for your comments - happy reading!

  4. Great review, I've not read anything from this time period, looks like I will need to remedy that. Would love to win a copy.

  5. Many moons ago I read a similar book in this time period and was hooked. Haven't been able to find a decent one since that not only dealt with the political turmoil but also the 'magick' side of things, which I find fascinating. This fab review has found me that book I think! Would love to get my hands on a copy :-)

    1. Thank you Emma. That's so nice of you to say. I hope you read and enjoy it!

  6. Count me in for a copy thanks!!!

  7. Wonderful review - can't wait to read this!

  8. Sharon Bennett Connolly14 July 2015 at 11:32

    Fabulous review - another book to add to my long list of 'wants'.

  9. I highly recommend Wulfsuna....read it and loved it...

  10. Sounds like a great read.! Will put it on my "To Read" list.

  11. Sounds a great read, and set in a period I now little about. Thanks Rob that your review covered background as well as story :)

  12. Good review. I have not read anything in this time period.

  13. I need to learn more about early Britain! Sign me up!

  14. On my to read list already, but I'd love a signed copy. :-)