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Paths of Exile [Paperback]

Carla Nayland
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

June 30 2011
Britain, 605 AD. When his homeland is defeated by a predatory neighbouring kingdom, Eadwine finds himself on the run for his life. Homeless, penniless and friendless, literally with a price on his head, he must evade his enemies, avenge his brother's murder and rescue his betrothed. Along the way, he will lose his heart to another woman and discover a shattering secret that challenges all the ideals he holds dear.

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Review

Editor's Choice for the August 2009 issue of the Historical Novels Review. A powerful novel. I was completely transported to the world of seventh century Britain. A strong new voice in the field of historical fiction; Carla Nayland has written a fine book. --Elizabeth Chadwick, award-winning author of The Wild Hunt, A Place Beyond Courage, The Greatest Knight and other novels Carla Nayland pulls the curtain back on the little known period of seventh century Britain to reveal the fascinating world of Eadwine. Filled with unforgettable characters and wonderful historical detail, Paths of Exile is historical fiction at its most intriguing. --Michelle Moran, best-selling author of The Heretic Queen Paths of Exile is an epic tale of battle, honour, loyalty and betrayal that is at once exquisitely entertaining and utterly convincing. Carla Nayland's prose is irresistible, luring the reader from the comforts of the 21st century into the harsh and often bloody reality of Saxon England . A triumphant debut that demands a sequel. --Russell Whitfield, critically acclaimed author of Gladiatrix. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carla Nayland has a lifelong interest in history and archaeology and considered doing a degree in the subject in her spare time, until deciding it would be much more fun to explore it in historical fiction instead. She has degrees in Natural Sciences and Pharmacology from Cambridge and has worked for many years in corporate strategy, cost-benefit analysis, health economics and scientific writing. Carla is also a keen hillwalker, which is a bit of a problem as she lives in the flatlands of East Anglia. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it ! April 24 2013
By Dominic
Format:Kindle Edition
A good story with humour and interesting personal interactions. A good mixture of intrigue, action, relationship (romantic and platonic). Looking forward to the next installment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  10 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Beautifully Crafted Story June 20 2012
By T.D. McKinnon - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
Carla Nayland's `Paths of Exile' takes place in a land of many Kingdoms, on a vast island that will one day become England, Scotland and Wales: the United Kingdom. The author very cleverly paints a crisp, clear glimpse of an opaque period of Britain's history. This is where historical fiction - the active, conjecturing mind of an author who is familiar with all the available facts of a certain period - does what no amount of history lessons can ever achieve: it brings an era to life.

This tale of loyalty, treachery, murder, revenge, escape and pursuit, in 7th century post-Roman, pre-Norman Britain (sometimes known as the early `Dark Ages') also has just a smidgen of romance thrown in for good measure. The story is woven around some authentic historical characters (filled out to full living colour), including the main protagonist, along with some vivid entities from the author's fertile imagination. With great attention to detail (the author is certainly au fait with this period); this is a beautifully crafted story.

For me personally, being just a boy at heart, the only area this superbly crafted tale fell short (and believe me it did not detract from my enjoyment) was not taking full advantage of the many battle/fighting opportunities that the author herself provided. Regardless, `Paths of Exile' is still worth five stars.

Review by T.D.McKinnon, a Goodreads author/reviewer and the author of `Terra Nullius', an historical fiction, and four other Amazon Kindle titles.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Takes a while to get rolling, but it ends strong. Nov. 30 2010
By Topolino - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First, don't be fooled by the apparent of this book...it may be just over 200 pages but it's very small print and very large pages. Consider it a 350 or so pages! I say this, because it took me a while to get into the story and since it seemed so short I was ready to give up after 20 pages. Stick with it, the names are terribly confusing at first, some different by only a couple of letters, and the places, though less confusing, still managed to throw me off.

Having said all that, this is a terrific historical novel, obviously written by some one who knows what they are talking about and not just researching a book. (The author is a historian that specializes in 7th century Britain) THe details of places, people, behaviour and way of life are fascinating and really add to the story. The author is a historian first and this may explain the slow start in terms of storytelling. You won't even notice it by the end, instead you'll be asking why this book wasn't longer!! Hope for a sequel. The battle scenes are riveting, the various escapes through moors, rivers and all manner of danger will keep you up at night. Well done.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A path well worth following Nov. 10 2010
By Alistair Forrest - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Paths of Exile follows the back-to-the-wall story of Eadwine (Edwin), a Saxon atheling on the run after his family is wiped out and his kingdom overrun. It's a beautifully crafted story by an author who clearly knows her Dark Ages history and has a deft skill at weaving a story of courage, intrigue and betrayal. The setting seems to me to be very real, with great attention to detail in customs, beliefs, topography, religion, economics and social interaction.

It's the first book by Carla Nayland that I've read and I'm delighted to see from her website [...] and various other mentions here and there that a sequel is in the offing. It can't come soon enough. Eadwine has suffered not only family loss and personal injury, but his betrothed has turned out to be a bit of an airhead and the new woman in his life, the courageous and striking Severa, seems to have been consigned to the witch's flames. And they were made for each other, dammit!

Let's hope Severa has somehow survived and follows Eadwine and his lively friends in their honourable mission against the odds.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid, well-researched, short historical novel of early England April 22 2009
By James Aach - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Not my usual reading fare, but as an American with a passing interest in dark age British history it seemed worth a try. The author knows her stuff - something that really comes out in the end notes. (Even though these notes contain a couple of minor plot spoilers, I wish I'd read them first.) It turns out many of the book's characters, even minor ones, have some historical basis, and if the reader is in England they can visit many of the sites mentioned. The book has a map of the area covered. Paths of Exile features a plot that interests the reader from Page 1 and drives the narrative onward while allowing for some digression into description of the time and place. While the focus of the book is on the son of a deposed king, and there is some royal intrigue, this is not really a book about shenanigans at court, but more of a ramble across the countryside. There are ample descriptions of what domestic farm life was like in the years between the Roman occupation and the coalescing of England into a single state. One strong impression is how empty of people England was compared to today. Language differences and various belief systems are also brought out.

The dialogue in Paths of Exile comes across as realistic. The main characters for the most part are treated as contradictory real people versus cardboard cutouts - particularly the king's son and the women in his life. (The choices women had to make in that time period are nicely brought out.) Once past the two or three main characters I did occasionally have trouble remembering the background of others who also have a key role to play in the story, though the author does make an effort to sprinkle reminders into the text. Occasionally, the interludes between action sequences seemed to run a little long, particularly the landscape descriptions - but these are well written and might mean more to a British native. (Overall, though, this is not a hefty or over-written book by any means.) Just as a preference I would also have liked more description of large town life, since that is the origin of the main character. Both the needed explanations and interesting descriptive details are generally weaved well into the text - - which I would think are two key elements in this sort of story-telling. I shy away from five star ratings and reserve four stars for the spectacular, so this one gets three stars. A solid, entertaining effort for anyone interested in the period.
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent! Dec 12 2012
By F. P. Nath - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This book is superbly written - rich in historical detail, a great main character, an exciting storyline.
It has pace and holds your attention easily as it absorbs you into Eadwine's tale.
Highly recommended as an excellent novel.
Hope more of the story follows.
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