Woden's Wolf (ISBN 0-473-03939-7)
E-book versions are available from Smashwords
An Ebook version is included on the educational CD-ROM '1066 & the Norman Conquest'.
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Set in England, 'Woden's Wolf' covers the turbulent years from 1066 to 1100 and follows the story of Godfrew of Garrett in the county of Surrey as he struggles to come to grips with the English defeat at Hastings and the resultant resistance to the Norman Conquest.
History often only tells the stories of the rich and famous, this tale is that of a young man from a small holding who served King Harold Godwinson as a warrior in the English militia. After Hastings he loses both family and land and has to try and start again. Seeking refuge in the Welsh Marches where the Normans had yet to establish their hold, he joins Edric the Wild and takes part in his rebellions against William the Conqueror. After the failure of the rebellions and that of Hereward the Wake in the fens, he becomes attached to the household of Earl Ralph of East Anglia who makes use of his talents as both warrior and administrator. Whilst in Ralf's service Godfrew goes to France and takes part in the campaign fought in the province of Maine. Leaving the Earl's service just prior to the disastrous Revolt of the Earls, which lost Ralph his English possessions, the young man disappears into the Thameside mist. He reappears again as an old man in the reign of the English born Henry I. Cast out of his time he has problems adjusting to the new order that exists and in avoiding the demons from his past.
"....... conquest to the Normans meant the complete overthrow and subjugation of the defeated people, and the closest parallel exists between the outrages committed by the Mongols in Russia and the savage brutalities wrecked on the whole Anglo-Saxon race by the Normans." ... RHA Merlen 'The Motte-and-Bailey Castles of the Welsh Border'
The divisions of the book.
The Young Man
- The Fosse. Injured at the battle of Stanford Bridge against the Vikings, Godfrew arrives too late to take part in the Battle of Hastings (Senlac). With Harold, last king of the English, dead, Godfrew fights alongside Earl Waltheof in the fight at the Fosse and the retaking of Harold's camp. During the fight his shield bearer and best friend Godwine is killed. click here to read an extract
- The Home Coming. After an ineffectual campaign of harassment, the English army breaks up leaving the Normans under William the Bastard in control of the southern part of the country. Godfrew returns to his father's holding of Garrett in Surrey only to find that, as part of the 'ring of fire' William has burnt around London, Garrett has been burnt down, his parents killed and his mistress taken. Finding out who was responsible he takes revenge. click here to read an extract
- The Kentish Maid. Seeking refuge with his Uncle Edwin, at his brewery in the Battersea marshes, Godfrew visits London and makes a forced withdrawal of his father's money from Teodoric the Goldsmith. He returns, but then elopes with his uncle's serving maid Elfgifu. click here to read an extract
- The Cray. To avoid possible capture for Godfrew's activities since Senlac, he and Elfgifu go to her home in the Cray valley in Kent. After getting married they find that they have to move on again following the news that Godfrew, now known as Wulf, has been made an outlaw. click here to read an extract
- The West March. In company with Elfgifu's cousin Llewelyn and his wife, the pair travel to Herefordshire on the Welsh Marches where some of Elfgifu's family live. The journey is via Glastonbury where Godfrew receives a 'miraculous' cure for a bad back he gained at Stamford Bridge. They had not long settled in their new home at Martinsfield, when the local Norman barons decide to expand their territory and attempt to take the village. Godfrew's training as a warrior stands in him good stead and he gets an invitation from the landholder, Edric the Wild, to serve him. click here to read an extract
- The Gates of Hell. Godfrew and his family go to stay at Earl Edric's main manor of Lydbury. Godfrew helps handle and store some of the plunder that Edric's raids bring in. Amongst the takings are some Norman prisoners. Godfrew is there when the Earl and his wife interview them, and he finds out just where his new master gets his nickname. click here to read an extract
- The Wolfpack. Realising that Godfrew would not fit in as a member of his hearthtroop, Edric assigns him a 'wolfpack' to gather information and discomfort his enemies. After some small enterprises Godfrew's men are joined by another wolfpack led by Godwine. Together the combined forces secrete themselves in the town of Hereford and then, when Edric commences to besiege the place, open the gates to him and his Welsh allies. Godfrew is injured and finds the behaviour of the Abbess who looks after him somewhat strange. click here to read an extract
- The Calm. Now a father, Godfrew helps Edric's reeve, Dagobert, look after the earl's holdings. In addition he finds the earl using him as a messenger. One day he brings two visitors back to Lydbury, and they bring bad news about the planned nation-wide uprising against the Normans. click here to read an extract
- The Storm. Under the guise of a survey of Edric's holdings Godfrew and Godwine send out their wolfpacks to gather information that will help him and the Welsh princes take the city of Shrewsbury. The opportunity comes in the shape of a hanging. The city is taken but, despite all their planning, the castle is not. Aware that King William has crushed one of the other uprisings and is headed his way Edric pulls back to the hills, however the Welsh and many of their English allies smell victory and accept battle with the king. click here to read an extract
- The Eastings. Edric sends Godfrew to Hereward the Wake in the Fenlands with the news of the defeat of the Anglo-Welsh force. There Godfrew finds that Earl Waltheof and the northern English with their Danish allies have taken York. Forced to winter over at the Isle of Ely after catching fen ague the wolfpack take part in the defeat of a Norman army that tries to capture Ely. click here to read an extract
- The Return West. By now both Waltheof and Edric have made peace with King William so the wolfpack returns home. Whilst trying to retrieve their horses from Waltheof's manor of Huntingdon Godfrew gets captured by an old enemy, a Breton who he disfigured during the fight of the Fosse. Waltheof arranges for his rescue, but the now crippled Godfrew looses control of the pack and they run wild, much to Earl Edric's embarrassment. Following the birth of his third son, things change between Godfrew and his wife. click here to read an extract
- The Peace. Unable to keep Godfrew in his employ, Edric finds work for him with Earl Ralf of East Anglia. Godfrew takes his family and his wolves with him to Suffolk. Here he employs the skills he has learnt in war to help him survey Ralf's new holdings. His new employer is well pleased with the results and expands Godfrew's talents when he gets him to first build a church, and then bring supplies to the Anglo-Norman army in Scotland. click here to read an extract
- The Revenge. Having trouble with some of his French subjects King William takes an Anglo-Norman army with him to France. William wants to make just a show of force, but the English have other ideas. Officially part of the supply train Godfrew and his wolves take the task of gathering supplies to heart and scour the land. click here to read an extract
- The Parting. Returning home with plenty of plunder, including an adopted daughter, Godfrew completes the job of building the church and then finds himself making arrangements for Ralf's wedding. Realising that both his master, and his protector Waltheof are being drawn into a doomed plot, Godfrew warns the Earl of Northampton and then leaves to stay with his uncle in Battersea. There Elfgifu dies. click here to read an extract
The Old Man
- The Seeking. Now in his 50s, Godfrew has passed on the brewing trade to his son Moither and his wife, the adopted daughter Fleur. Unfortunately he still hates the French and an outburst with fatal results alienates him from his son and forces him to leave home. Trying to create a new wolfpack from inexperienced youths, Godfrew returns to Garrett for revenge on the new French owners, only to find that things and times have changed. click here to read an extract
- The Grace of God. Found blind and dying from fever, Godfrew is taken to the Archbishop of Canterbury's summer palace at Croydon where he comes face to face with his past in a vision, and is surprised to receive forgiveness. Settling in with the religious community he is befriended by Brother Job, a monk with unusual beliefs and the depressing job of building a chapel for an unsatisfiable client. click here to read an extract
- The Release. Godfrew is reunited with Fleur, but is also reunited with the Breton. Whilst God may have forgiven him, the Breton hasn't and his intent is to hang Godfrew from the nearest tree. click here to read an extract
The author Geoff Boxell, is an English born New Zealander. Born and raised near Wandsworth in South London, he and his wife came to NZ in 1969 and settled at Kihi kihi in the Waikato. Since an early age Geoff has had an abiding love of English history, especially that of the Anglo-Saxon period. At present he is employed by Work & Income New Zealand in Hamilton, whilst also providing a consultancy service to the University of Waikato in technology management and innovation. In addition he is a tutor in early English history with the University's Continuing Education Programme. Listing his interests as history, motorcycling, speedway and traditional jazz, Geoff finds much of his time taken up with the family, youth work for the church, looking after the family whippets, writing articles for various motorcycle magazines and, of course, reading.
Geoff's other published novel is, 'Just for Kicks'. This is a semi-autobiographical tale of his years as a Rocker in 60s London. In addition Geoff has produced an educational CD-ROM, '1066 & the Norman Conquest'.
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