The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel

by Andrew Varga

The Last Saxon King

One Jump to Save All Time

Life is progressing normally for sixteen-year-old Dan Renfrew when he accidentally transports himself to England in the year 1066. He soon realizes that he’s trapped there, and that’s not his only astonishing discovery. Dan learns that he’s descended from a long line of time jumpers—secret heroes who travel to the past and resolve glitches in the time stream that threaten to alter subsequent history. The only way Dan can return home is to set history back on its proper course in the Anglo-Saxon age. This is no easy task. A Viking horde is ravaging England in the north while a Norman army threatens to invade from the south. In between and desperately struggling to hold on to his throne is Harold Godwinson, the newly-crowned English king. Dan is fighting to ensure that events play out correctly when he finds himself plunged into an even more lethal conflict. To save history, Dan must battle a band of malevolent time jumpers whose lust for wealth and power threatens the entire future of the world.

The Last Saxon King will be available, online and wherever fine books are sold, on March 7, 2023.


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Ever since his mother told him he was descended from Vikings, Andrew Varga has had a fascination for history. He’s read hundreds of history books, watched countless historical movies, and earned a BA from the University of Toronto with a specialist in history and a major in English.

Andrew has traveled extensively across Europe, where he toured some of the most famous castles, museums, and historical sites that Europe has to offer. During his travels he accumulated a collection of swords, shields, and other medieval weapons that now adorn his personal library. He is skilled in fencing and Kendo—the Japanese art of sword fighting. He has also used both longbows and crossbows, built a miniature working trebuchet, knit his own shirt of chain mail, and earned a black belt in karate.

Andrew currently lives in the greater Toronto area with his wife Pam, their three children, and their mini-zoo of two dogs, two cats, a turtle, and some fish. It was his children’s love of reading, particularly historical and fantasy stories, that inspired Andrew to write this series. In his spare time, when he isn’t writing or editing, Andrew reads history books, jams on guitar, or plays beach volleyball.

 

 

“I’m not normally a fan of time slip/time jump novels, but the setting for this one really drew me in so I gave it a shot. I’m so glad I did! This was fantastic novel from Andrew Varga, where the time jump actually serves a purpose and seems to have some consequences. I also appreciate the MC being a male, I normally avoid time jump novels as it all devolves into “woman sucked back in time, timeless romance” and that it just not my cup of tea, so this was a welcome change. This book is well paced and engaging, I really enjoyed the way Varga set the atmosphere through out, it really evoked what I imagine 1066 England would have been like.”–Paula Cwikla, Barnes & Noble, Albuquerque, NetGalley (09/16/2022) FIVE STARS

“Where’s the next book? As soon as I finished this I had to look for the adventure but it’s not out for a year. Oh I can’t wait. The story goes that some people, usually men but an occasional girl slips through to go back in time to solve a bump in history. But these time travellers aren’t all so goody two shoes. Some want to change history to serve their own ends and our heroes need to be vigilant, brave and very clever. I loved this entanglement with the King Harold and William the Conqueror and the ultimate Battle of Hastings. Bring on the next adventure!”–Cecila Weston-Baker, NetGalley (09/17/2022) FIVE STARS

The Last Saxon King is a rollicking good read! Not every book gives you the unforgettable need to hide a book under the covers with a torch so you can read just another page, but this one kept me up well past my bedtime. It’d make a great movie, too: action, (lots!), light romance, history, great characters and even the odd laugh out loud moment – it’d be a very picky reader indeed who didn’t get a lot of enjoyment from this book! The hero, Dan, finds himself transported into the past, to the time of King Harold and the Battle of Hastings. While many readers would be familiar with some elements of Anglo Saxon times, the book is not predictable and focuses in on some unexpected and interesting areas, like trial by ordeal. Sure, the premise is exciting from the get-go, but this book has substance as well. The action scenes are well choreographed and will interest most teen readers! In terms of the main character, the author has done that rare and difficult thing: created a protagonist appealing to both boys and girls. Dan is no traditional confident macho lead. He is a new-style hero: unusually appealing in that he has some self-assurance issues, is honest about being scared and uncertain, but is also brave and does the right thing. He has some know-how, but any skills Dan has don’t seem unrealistic: they are explained and make sense in the context of the book. For an action novel, the other characters were also well drawn and appealing. Most aren’t copied from history; they’re well drawn and charismatic. Given the pace of the novel, this was a real achievement and I’d love to see some of them revisited in future books.”–Dominique De la Tubiere, Anglo-Saxon Facebook Group (09/10/2022)

“This is not just another time travel book. It’s one where Dan and Sam have to make a difference, have to right a wrong, or be stuck back in time for the rest of their lives. Andrew Varga does an excellent job of describing this harrowing time in history (CE 1066 in England) using names and towns as they would have been back in that time. The reader will get caught up in the action, worry that Dan may not make it, and celebrate when he does. The events in the book are based on actual records from that time, which the author shares at the end of the book. I dread having to wait so long for the next book, and wonder where in time Dan and Sam will find themselves.”–Julia Ebarb NetGalley (09/09/2022) FIVE STARS

“So much magic and adventure! Was great from start to finish. I loved the main character and all of his courage and bravery. Having never read a time travel book, this book has opened my eyes to a completely new genre. I was intrigued throughout the whole book and am very excited for the second installment of this story. I loved all of the historical information that was provided to it’s readers throughout the entirety of this book. Thank you for the advanced copy to this book. I will definitely reccomend this book.”–Heather Lovick, NetGalley (09/07/2022) FIVE STARS

“The Last Saxon King keeps you on the edge of your seat from beginning to end! Homeschooler Dan Renfrew is not only shocked by the lethal combat taking place in his home, he’s then unknowingly flung into the year 1066 by a time-jumping device and a bedtime rhyme. Dan has to navigate medieval England and find a fissure in time without the 21st century conveniences that he may take for granted. He does, however, possess an obsessive knowledge of history and historical fighting skills taught by his father. Dan encounters a variety of interesting and well developed characters. The plot is familiar, but unique as well. The ending leaves the reader craving more adventures. YA is not my usual genre. However, the historical accuracy and time travel were very appealing. Those aspects will interest a wide variety of readers. They will be rewarded with this amazing tale of Dan’s journey through time.”–Susan Heller, educator, NetGalley (09/06/2022) FIVE STARS

“This novel was absolutely amazing! I LOVE the concept that it is a jump in time story, but with actual historical events. All of these were so detailed that I learned quite alot about that time in history, as our focus in lessons never really touched English history. Also, I felt so immersed in it. Yes, at the beginning I did have some doubts about it, but once I started, I got pulled in and couldnt let the story go. I still cant and I am so sad that the next book will be out in nearly a year. I am so freaking excited to see where the story will go, and hopefully some questions will also be answered (I am sure they will, the series is far from over). Andrew Varga and his team did such a wonderful job with this and I can only recommend others to read this exciting jump in time novel!”–John Smith, Goodreads.com (09/06/2022) FIVE STARS

“The Last Saxon King was a surprising joy to read…The Last Saxon King blends historical facts with fictional elements. It is a novel of courage and hard choices. I found myself researching historical facts about this time period and I learned so much. The author went to great lengths to provide historical facts and blend them to make a compelling fictional read. It is part history, part adventure. While it is a YA novel, I found myself addicted to the story and I cannot wait to read the next six books in the installment. Read this book. All lovers of historical fantasy will fall in love with this wonderfully written novel.”–Ashley McKay, bookseller, Goodreads.com (09/04/2022) FIVE STARS

“Andrew Varga has successfully blended a compelling historical fiction story with a sci-fi/ fantasy tale to create a novel that includes the best of both genres. A modern-day teen, well-educated in history but also sarcastic and bored with his life, serves as the time-traveling protagonist who provides a unique perspective on the historical events leading up to perhaps the most significant event in British history, the victory of William Duke of Normandy over King Harold Godwinson. As the youth seeks to figure out why and how he has ended up in the 11th century and encounters both friends and foes, he must struggle to stay alive in a vastly different, war-torn era and discover how to get back home. While the target audience of The Last Saxon King is middle school and young adult readers, it is a novel which will also hold the interest of adult readers, as well. To extrapolate from C.S. Lewis, the best children’s stories are the ones that are still enjoyable for adults. The primary drawback to the book is the wait for the sequel.”–Jeffrey Westbrook, former literature teacher and editor of the Altavista Journal and the Union Star (07/22/2022)

“I love historical fiction as a whole, and even as an adult often enjoy YA historical fiction. I’m also a homeschooling mom, and am always looking for novels that will interest my kids in history. This book grabbed me from the start, and I am so excited to use it in our LA/History curriculum. The device of dropping Dan into different historical settings is genius, an engaging way of teaching history, The entire thing was just so fun, but also engaging on an emotional level (I teared up near the end!). Highly recommended not just to teens but to adults who love alternate history.”–Molly Campbell, netgalley.com (08/06/2022) FIVE STARS

The Last Saxon King by Andrew Varga is a fun, fast-paced adventure, involving time travel back to the eve of the Battle of Hastings – one of the most pivotal battles in history. The interplay of modern and early Medieval culture is fun, and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys suspense and time travel.”–Simon Spalding, author, musician, and historian, author of Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine from Ancient to Modern Times (07/15/2022)

The Last Saxon King is a riveting story. Although aimed at the YA genre, I have a feeling many an adult will love the premise of the story and the characters. Well researched and beautifully written, you can practically sense the sights, sounds and smells of 11th century England. A unique take on the momentous events of 1066, the reader finds themselves egging the characters on. This is edge-of-the-seat time traveling historical fiction. I loved it and cannot wait for the next book in the series. Having a teenager of my own who has a deep love of history, I know he would love to be in Dan’s shoes, living the adventure of the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings. Andrew Varga brings history to life!”–Historian Sharon Bennett Connolly is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and the author of Heroines of the Medieval World, Silk and the Sword: The Women of the Norman Conquest, Ladies of Magna Carta: Women of Influence in Thirteenth Century England and Defenders of the Norman Crown: Rise and Fall of the Warenne Earls of Surrey. (07/14/2022)

“Poor Dan. One morning he’s your average American teenager living with his dad and hanging out at the mall and that evening he’s flung through time, dropped right into Middle Age England with absolutely no clue as to why and how he got there. We follow along as Dan sleeps on the cold, hard ground, eats the blandest of mutton, attempts to convince small townsfolk he’s not an enemy, becomes a warrior’s squire and, oh yeah, fighting the Norman’s; all the while attempting to return home. No big deal. The Last Saxon King is an awesome debut by Varga for YA readers. Perfectly balanced between mystery, action and conversation, I never felt bored or rushed. As an adult, I appreciated the personal growth of the main character as he finds himself in situations that require honesty and staying true to yourself, hard work, overcoming fears, responsibility and the like. For the teen and pre-teen readers there is plenty of action, sword fights, deception and a bit of G/PG rated romance. There is an occasional, logically placed swear word but nothing extreme that would stop me from letting pre-teens read it. I was a bit sad when I read the final page knowing I’m going to have to wait for the next installment. I’m not sure if I can wait a year…I need to know what happens!”–Rachel Narvaez, goodreads.com (08/04/2022) FIVE STARS.

“This novel is a really well-constructed, strong story, with believable characters. The author gets into the minds of teenagers and the difficulties they can face at what is a very tough age in so many ways and the relationship between the two main characters is very touching. Ramping up the jeopardy by introducing ‘others’ who have a greater, darker, agenda, was a brilliant touch, setting up the series beautifully and elevating this beyond a ‘simple’ time-travel story. It will appeal to the target readers, I have no doubt. I found myself utterly immersed in the story and, crucially, caring what happened. A thrilling adventure and a wonderful introduction to the history of pre-Conquest England.”–Annie Whitehead, historian, is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, and author of Women of Power in Anglo-Saxon England, Mercia: The Rise and Fall of a Kingdom, To Be A Queen, Tales of the Iclingas Series, and Alvar the Kingmaker (07/11/2022)

“As a historical fiction writer and as a homeschool parent, I loved every page of The Last Saxon King. Varga presents an impeccably researched historical account of the Battle of Hastings within an adventure story that brings history to life. Modern characters swept back in time give readers a vivid, vicarious experience as they interact with historical figures and gain a broad range of perspectives. I am eagerly awaiting the next book in Varga’s Jump in Time series.”–Lynn Dean, My-HomeSchool-Mentor.com (07/13/2022)

The Last Saxon King is an impressive debut and the fantastic start to an exciting new historical fantasy series! Dan Renfrew is a homeschooled teenager who has no idea that he comes from a long line of time jumpers, whose sole job it is to fix glitches in time. He has no idea why his father is hammering detailed history at him or why he is being trained using ancient weapons. Until one day his world turns upside down and he thrust into his first time jump—back to Anglo Saxon times on the eve of the Battle of Hastings. There is so much to love about this story. Dan is a great character to root for, and I love the supporting characters, especially Sam. Dan is funny with a wry sense of humour. He has to think quickly on his feet because he’s literally been launched into another world. Not only does he have to figure out the glitch, so he can return back to his time, but he has to survive being in the thick of a battle that changed the history of England. And even when he returns, there is the threat of a first rate villain to contend with. The Last Saxon King is a gripping, faced paced read, perfect for readers who love a clever blending of history and fantasy.”–Cryssa Bazos, author of Honor of Thieves, Severed Knot and Betrayal: Historical Stories (07/02/2022)

“A magic combination of sci-fi, well-researched and authentically written historical fiction, and gritty medieval battles without the damsel in distress or flowery fantasy, Varga’s debut novel, The Last Saxon King: A Jump in Time Novel, hit the spot with this middle school literature teacher and history buff. Dan, a not-so-ordinary homeschooled teen gets the shock of his life when transported to the 1066 AD Anglo-Saxon realm, right before William the Conqueror rocks their world. Sure, there is a girl–an intriguing love interest–but this damsel is more likely to save herself (and an army of swarthy warriors) than to need saving. With her cunning and Dan’s unconventional sword-wielding and classics homeschooling, the pair set off to correct anomalies in history and battle those who would alter history for their own nefarious gains. Prepare to encounter bloody battles, historically rich characters and settings, and witty teenage banter as Varga develops a riveting and fun new young adult series.”–Amy M. Schmidt, M.Ed. Educator and Curriculum Specialist, Dallas Independent School District (07/14/2022)

“This brilliantly written and well researched book is a true page turner. Andrew Varga takes you to the heart of Anglo-Saxon England where you get to experience not only the battles of Stamford Bridge and Hastings, with all the heroic and gorey details, but also the day-to-day of an English village in medieval times and everything in between. You get to know famous historical characters such as King Harold Godwinson, Tostig and Hardrada but also peasants and warriors, understanding their values, hopes and what motivates them. In other words, you are transported to Medieval England together with the main character and get to experience first hand what life was like. The main character is well written and his arc from a lonely, naive boy to a proper Anglo-Saxon warrior is thrilling and moving at the same time. You feel his fear, heartbreak and hope. Another pleasant surprise is the female character. Far from being the typical damsel in distress, she is not only strong and independent but also the rescuer instead of the rescuee. To sum up, this is a wonderful historical fiction book and I cannot wait for the sequel.”–Allana Samara Wilckens, Anglo-Saxon Facebook Coordinator (07/21/2022)

“The characters in this book are well done. Dan is a great role model that survives the challenges he faces; he has a great sense of humor and can think fast on his feet. The secondary characters add much to the plot. This tale teaches history through alternative events and Dan’s memories of how events actually happened. This is a high interest low level book written for a target audience of middle school level students, approximate ages of 10—13. The genre of this book falls under, history, fantasy, and time travel. Author Andrew Varga introduces readers to real historical figures allowing the reader to not just read history but to experience historical events. This is a new series (there will be seven books) and one that I predict will be extremely popular. I would love to see this series featured in public and school libraries.”–Debra Gaynor NetGalley (07/10/2022) Five Stars

“Firstly, the amount of research the author had done was immediately obvious, I know a fair bit about the period and was impressed with the authors knowledge. It is a good way to teach you about the that period in history in a fun way. The characters were good, a bit of a usual trope, but fun along the way. The story had some nice twists along the way, definitely a book I would recommend for a fun easy read.”–Louise Page, NetGalley (07/07/2022) Five Stars

The Last Saxon King by Andrew Varga has made me a fan of time-traveling historical fiction. This is an amazing story of Dan, an ordinary home school teenager in current times, who never understood why his dad focused so much on history and weird ancient fighting techniques. Dan quickly find his life upside-down in year 1066 AD. All the characters are so well developed and described its like you can fully picture them in your head. I’ll be honest, historical fiction and history itself has never been someone to hold me focus, but boy this this book change that. Andrew Vaga created a perfect work of art and im excited for the next installment. Great for Time-Travel, historical fiction and YA lovers..”–Ashley Casas, NetGalley (07/06/2022) Five Stars

“‘Let’s go fix history. I need to go home.’ As a history lover (who in another life would have been an historian), I’ve always been obsessed with time travels and the past. And to be completely honest, the medieval era is probably always been my favorite. For a long time my obsession with the events of the Battle of Hastings, in 1066, were imprinted in my mind and I’m so glad they were brought to life in such a innovative way. Fantasy and historical references meet through the eyes of a young boy who finds out he is a time traveler just like his father and his father before him. The terrible thing is that he finds out after watching someone trying to kill his father…He is suddenly transported to 1066 England right in the middle of the Anglo-Saxons wars and he needs to find out what happened in the past to unbalance the equilibrium of history so that he can go back home and face whoever attempted to his father’s life.With the help of an uncommon time traveler, he will manage to set the past to right but not before getting in the middle of it all! This book was really good. I loved the history part. I loved the fantasy part. And even the little romantic undertone it has. The battle scenes are very specific and truthful as well as the description throughout the entire book. I’m so glad I had the chance to read it and I already can’t wait for the second one to be available!”–Fedy Pana, NetGalley (07/01/2022) Five Stars

“I totally adored this book. I have been on my Saxon and Viking kick since finishing up watching the last kingdom and I just really got in to time traveling books from reading Stealing Infinity, and this book combines those to things, making this the perfect read for me. The historical accuracy of this book was spot-on. This book was everything I did not know I needed. I highly recommend it to people that enjoy history, adventure, and time-traveling themes. I am excited to follow Dan’s new adventures in time and cannot wait for the next book in the series.”–Laura Bowie, NetGalley (06/08/2022) Five Stars

“If you want to be catapulted through time, and experience an adventurous mix of fiction with real English history, I can assure you that you will enjoy this book from the first to the last page. As an early English History buff, I thoroughly enjoyed this lead-up to one of the most important battles in English history.”–Stella JH Mengels, Anglo-Saxon Facebook Coordinator (06/19/2022)

“I find time travel novels extremely fascinating. Always an exciting story, especially when the respective historical context also arouses my interest. And this was a completely new idea and constellation: namely subtly different from what our history books write, and he himself would be forced to spend the rest of his life in Anglo-Saxon England…I found that really interesting, and I flew through the novel. The hero and heroine (yes, they exist, the girl of his heart) are quite young, I was concerned that I wasn’t in the target group in terms of age, but I have to say it didn’t matter. The story was just good, and Dan and Sam had my full sympathy, I was really rooting for them both. The story is told from the first person perspective, a bit brash at times, but it worked really well. Dan’s gallows humor was brilliant. Even as a non-native speaker, I found it very easy to read, very fluid to read, and found the style very appealing. I found the atmosphere super successful, and as I said, the plot was brilliant. The level of suspense was high at all times and – I repeat myself – it was written in a really gripping way. The book is the first volume in a 7 (!) part series, and the second volume entitled “The Celtic Deception” is already in the starting blocks for autumn 23. So it goes on, and I’m already excited. I’ve become a fan girl.”–Monika Caparelli-Hippert, NetGalley (06/08/2022) Five Stars (translated from German.)

“5+ Stars and 2 thumbs up! I absolutely LOVED this book! This book wrapped up most of the book but does have a smidge of an unfinished story which will continue and get wrapped up through the entire upcoming new series. This was a winning read for me, especially because this is a first time author! If this is how great his first book is, I can’t wait to read the rest of his books! I loved the characters in this book and actually cried in the end! This book had it all – mystery, time travel, historical facts, murders, fighting, a bit of love, friendship, entertainment, plotting, evil doers, and hero’s. it was a phenomenal read. I love historical books that entertain and teach at the same time so now I feel smarter too! I absolutely loved this book, I can’t say it enough. I highly recommend this one and I don’t give out 5 stars easily, so when I do, you know it’s gotta be fantastic! I really can’t wait to read this authors future books, this first one was that awesome.”–Carey Hoy, NetGalley (06/06/2022) Five Stars

“For fans of alternative history/ historical fiction and time travel. As an adult who enjoys YA, this was a fun read. As a mom with a houseful of boys, this was a terrific find. It’s a more grown up version of Haddix’s time travel series and all around better than Harry Turtledove’s Cross Time Traffic series…This book features professional level writing, good editing, strong plots, and well developed characters. It is suitable for ages 13+. I stayed up to finish this book. I can’t wait to read the whole series. I will be buying these for my boys.”–Kathryn Lichtenfels, NetGalley (05/13/2022) Five Stars

“Its vision of the Middle Ages is much more focused on real aspects than the vast majority of titles in the genre, managing to arouse curiosity and admiration for the world-building work done here. It is one of those novels that I wish I could see in the cinema. Highly recommended.”–David Sanchez, NetGalley (06/05/2022) Five Stars

“A rollicking action/adventure of time travel with both male and female heroes! A modern day tale of love and sacrifice to save the world. I couldn’t put it down.”–Tom Taylor, author of Brock’s Assassin, Brock’s Traitor, Brock’s Railroad and Brock’s Agent (05/31/2022)

“I loved this action packed story. The historical events and time-period were researched really well. The characters and their friendships were also well written. Dan and Sam stole my heart. The author did a wonderful job of making Dan’s first trip back in time real (well as real as time travel can get). The emotions he feels, his reactions to facing battle, his confusion and the way he befriends the king’s housecarls all make for a very authentic experience. I enjoyed his growth as well.: the way he learns to think about people, about death and life and his role in all of it and his relationship with his father, complicated but full of love and finally also understanding. The last battle was done so beautifully, in that moment he realizes the cost of ‘fixing’ history, I almost cried. As far as historical YA fiction goes, this is a brilliant book. I am looking forward to the rest of the series.”–Delene Oosthuizen, NetGalley (05/28/2022) Five Stars

“The author has done a fantastical job of teaching us the historical events leading to the end of the Anglo-Saxon reign in England, while providing a highly entertaining account of a young man (from his own POV) whose life has been suddenly turned upside down. The characters are likable, and relatable. Dan is particularly honest in his impression of things and the dilemmas he encounters while trying to survive in extraordinary circumstances. The story is well paced, and there is never a dull moment, right up to the end…This is a YA book that, as an adult, I found very refreshing. I highly recommend it to people that enjoy history, adventure, and time-traveling themes. I am excited to follow Dan’s new adventures in time and cannot wait for the next book in the series.”–Maria Ortiz Marquez, NetGalley (05/27/2022) Five Stars

“This was an interesting story in the sense that the protagonist essentially had to adapt to an alien environment that at the same time is so familiar to us. In addition, while the author allowed some amount of modern politics into the book, the book was refreshingly apolitical compared to most major young adult novels being released now. Also as a history enthusiast and one who sees the misrepresentation of the period daily, it was pleasant to read a novel with a primarily accurate representation of the times (discounting time travel aspects and “time glitches” plot devices). I would recommend this book to fans of adventure, time travel, coming of age, historical fiction, and high fantasy.”–Yvue Field, NetGalley (05/24/2022) Five Stars

“My favorite way to study history is via alternative histories. The author has done an amazing job in researching the era into which he “drops” his character. Our homeschooled protagonist shows how his dad/teacher has prepared him as he works through numerous precarious and interesting adventures.”–Doug Yonce, NetGalley (05/23/2022) Five Stars

“Be still my beating heart, this book was phenomenal!…This may be the first YA novel I’ve read that is accurate down to the language, lifestyle, buildings, food, and hierarchies. I cannot wait to read the rest of the series and find out what happens! Young adult readers will learn so much about this period and in a way that allows them to understand and identify with the characters.”–Cassandra Smith, NetGalley (05/09/2022) Five Stars

“I’m hooked! Want to binge-read the entire series of 7 books in total. But only this one has been released yet…must find a time jump device! The author doesn’t keep you waiting long for action, twists and turns to start happening. After the introduction of the main character the story takes you on an adventure! Second book in the series will be released in September. I can’t wait! Is it September yet?”–Petra Bulthouse, NetGalley (05/21/2022) Five Stars

“If you’ve ever fantastized about jumping back in history, you’ll enjoy this story.”–Sheila Lynn, NetGalley (05/12/2022) Five Stars

The Last Saxon King is a marvelous time-jumping novel that follows the story of Dan, a teenage boy of current times, who finds himself in the year 1066 AD…It’s one unforgettable and enjoyable journey! “–Laur VanPatter, NetGalley (05/11/2022) Five Stars

Ða com Wyllelm eorl of Normandige into Pefnesea on Sancte Michæles mæsseæfen,
sona þæs hi fere wæron, worhton castel æt Hæstingaport.
Þis wearð þa Harolde cynge gecydd, he gaderade þa mycelne here, com him togenes æt þære haran apuldran,
Wyllelm him com ongean on unwær, ær þis folc gefylced wære.
Ac se kyng þeah him swiðe heardlice wið feaht mid þam mannum þe him gelæstan woldon,
þær wearð micel wæl geslægen on ægðre healfe

Then came William earl of Normandy into Pevensey,
on the eve of St. Michael’s mass.
Soon after they were on their way, they constructed
a castle at Hasting’s-port.
This was then made known to king Harold, and
he then gathered a great force, and came to meet him at the estuary of Appledore.
William came against him unawares, before his people
were set in order.
But the king nevertheless strenuously fought against him with those men who would follow him.
There was great slaughter made on either hand.

Anglo-Saxon Chronicle Manuscript D, Worcester Chronicle,
entry for year 1066
Anonymous Monk, eleventh century

 

CHAPTER 1

As I stood staring at the display of new video games in the store’s front window, a security guard appeared behind me in the reflection. He hovered just a few steps back, rhythmically slapping a large black flashlight into the palm of his hand. “Whatcha doing out of school, kid?” he asked in the accusing tone that all mall cops use with teenagers—the tone that implied he already knew I was up to something, even though I was just standing there minding my own business.

I didn’t make the slightest movement to acknowledge his presence. “I’m homeschooled.”

“Well, shouldn’t you be at home, then?” He smacked his flashlight into his palm with a meaty thump.

“My dad gave me the day off.”

The tip of the flashlight poked me in the shoulder. “Look at me when I’m talking to you!”

Sighing, I turned to face him. His name tag read Jenkins. He was slightly taller than me and a few years older—probably at his first real job. He wore the standard mall cop uniform: shiny black shoes, dark pants with a crisp white shirt, thick belt with all sorts of useless gadgets, and a huge chip on his shoulder. Instantly his eyes dropped to the tattoo on the inside of my right forearm. He took a step back and pointed his flashlight at the four-pointed star within a circle. “That gang ink?” he asked suspiciously.

Was this guy for real? We were in the world’s most boring mall in the world’s most boring neighborhood. The only gangs here were the hordes of senior citizens who walked the halls every morning for exercise.

I decided to be nice to Jenkins and not tell him how stupid he was. I mean, with all the useless stuff my dad was teaching me at home, I was probably gonna end up stuck as a mall cop myself one day, and Jenkins might be my boss. “No. It’s a family tattoo,” I explained. “I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. My dad has the same one.”

“You’re lying, kid.”

I rolled my eyes and shook my head. All this hassle because I was staring at some stuff in a store window that I couldn’t afford anyway. I wouldn’t even be at the mall except Dad had given me twenty bucks and told me to get out of the house for a few hours because someone was coming over for a meeting. And since it was pouring outside, my options had been kind of limited. I’d already spent most of my cash on lunch and a movie, and I probably had at least another hour to kill before I could go back home. No matter how much it pained me, I needed to suck up to Jenkins before he tossed me out into the rain.

“Look,” I said, “I’m not a thief or in a gang. I’m just hanging out.”

Jenkins opened his mouth to say something, but I cut him off. “I know you don’t believe me, but I can prove it. I’m on file here. Come on, I’ll show you.”

Without waiting for his response, I began heading for the mall administration office. After a moment’s hesitation, I heard his shoes squeaking across the tiled floor behind me.

The office was in the darkest corner of the building, right next to the bathrooms. I strode confidently through a door marked Security Personnel Only and into a cramped, stuffy room with a ratty armchair, a coffee machine, and two filing cabinets. I pointed to the bulletin board near the door, pamphlets and memos splattered across it with no sense of order. “You’ll find me under ‘Special Notices.’ Look for Daniel Renfrew.”

Jenkins grunted and pushed aside some papers on handwashing. He found my sheet and removed it from its thumbtack. “Daniel Renfrew,” he read. “Sixteen. Homeschooled. Occasionally wanders the mall and rarely buys anything. Harmless but sometimes lippy. Father is Professor James Renfrew of SUNY …” He skimmed over the rest of the details and looked at the photo paper-clipped to the sheet. It was from about eight months ago, when I’d had my first run-in with a mall cop. After a long explanation and a call to Dad, management had agreed to keep me on file to avoid further hassles. I hadn’t changed much since that picture had been taken. It showed a teenager with dirty-blond hair, an unsmiling face, and bored blue eyes. Not one of my better looks.

Jenkins held it up in line with my face, his eyes narrowing as he scrutinized the two like some border control officer on the lookout for terrorists.

Hardback: $18.99 US      ISBN: 9781945501821 — First Edition: March 2023
Paperback:  $14.99 US    ISBN: 9781945501852– First Edition: March 2023
ePUB: $12.99 US              ISBN: 9781945501838
Audiobook: $28.00          ISBN: 9781945501845
Unabridged, (8 hours, 49 minutes, 40 seconds, BeeAudio Ltd. & Imbrifex Books Audio, Narrated by Mark Sanderlin)
FICTION/HISTORIC FICTION/SCIENCE FICTION/YOUNG ADULT

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