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Publisher's Summary

Mierce, the English Midlands, 8th Century A.D.

Æthelbald, King of Mierce, is a man of ambition. Having created much-needed stability within his domain, he now aspires to take the surrounding kingdoms to expand and fortify his own. Stealthy and cunning, Æthelbald manipulates other men of power to achieve his goals.

The quest for power is not King Æthelbald’s only passion in life. Despite not wishing to marry, he has an unabating lust for women and takes advantage of his position to "raid" nunneries to satisfy his desires. But Æthelbald also wishes to be seen as a fair and merciful king, and many poor, common folk benefit from his generous deeds and favourable resolutions.

As Æthelbald’s reign grows and strengthens, so too does the authority of the church, whose leverage over monarchical matters becomes increasingly overbearing. The church does not approve of King Æthelbald’s exploits with innocent women and seeks to bring him into line with the threat of eternal damnation.

The sequel to Saints and Sinners, Mixed Blessings chronicles the life of an English king in the days where the boundaries of kingdoms and social propriety were undergoing rapid change.

©2020 John Broughton (P)2020 John Broughton

What listeners say about Mixed Blessings: Aethelbald - Bretwalda of Mercia

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Interesting, great narration

This is the first book I have read/listened to by this author and I am curious what book one is about. It took me a few tries to really get into the story. Admittedly, I got distracted through parts in the middle so I’ll have to go back and re-listen. I ended up looking up Æthelbald to try and determine what is believed history and what was fiction. I did learn some from this book. I enjoy stories that peak my interest to learn more. I did not find this book really gave me an understanding of how it was to live in these times, it was more just a narrative of the actions of Ætgelbald.

This is the second book I have listened to by this narrator ( Graham Mack ) and I would definitely listen to another. He does fabulously performing (not just reading) this book. He adds realism to the personalities of the characters, the action and the narrative parts that I easily fell into the story instead of first being aware of his reading, then the content of the story.
I marked the rating down a point because there is a constant background white noise that is quite loud and was disruptive on many devices. Thankfully it was not as obvious when I used my Bluetooth speaker.

There are no explicit sex scenes, excessive violence or swearing.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review.
Please feel free to comment on whether you found my review helpful.

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  • sm
  • 08-02-20

Good story about an interesting character

It was a shame that the 1st book was not released 1st so that I could have read that and maybe understood the character of Aethelbald better, as he was obviously an interesting character, a womaniser with a power for glory, but also kind hearted. I felt the narration was just OK for me, and I did sometimes drift as he wasn't keeping me engaged.

This book was given to me for free at my request and I provided this voluntary review.