The Last Saxon King
A Jump in Time Novel
by Andrew Varga
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Pub Date 07 Mar 2023 | Archive Date Not set
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.
A Note From the Publisher
The first in a seven book series. The second book, The Celtic Deception will be published in September 2023.
"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."--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.
"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."--Annie Whitehead, historian 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
"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, creator of educational history resources for homeschool families
This author is committed to providing as much accurate historical details in his stories as possible. He is developing a series of lesson plans for middle school students that teachers can use in their classrooms. Contact the publisher if you would like the teachers guides.
The book is being released as a hardcover, a paperback, an e-book and an e-audiobook.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 45 members
The Last Saxon King by Andrew Varga, 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. One moment he's in his living room seeing his dad being furiously attacked and seriously wounded with ancient weapons by a strange man called "Victor",. In the next moment, his dad tosses him a unique rod looking device and tells him to say the riddle he taught him! Now! Do it now his dad pleads... and upon saying the riddle while he holds the device in hand, Dan is transported to where and when he doesn't have a clue! He seems to have landed by a river in the middle of nowhere!
All he knows is, is that his phone doesn't work, his life is in danger with someone pointing a bow and arrow at him, and he has to fix SOMETHING that is wrong in order to return to his own time period, thereby, having the chance to hopefully save his dad.
He discovers It's Anglo-Saxon England, and takes on a new made up name (Leofric), from Eoforwic.. If they handed out an Oscar for Best Spontaneous Lie in Life-or- Death Situation, he would have just won it., But he must become whatever he needs to become to survive.
It's one unforgettable and enjoyable journey!
Appealing to Time-Travel lovers , fans of YA and historical fiction.
5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐
My thanks to NetGalley, Imbrifex Books, and Andrew Varga for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
Be still my beating heart, this book was phenomenal! The Last Saxon King follows the story of Dan, a teenage boy of today who finds himself in the year 1066 trying to fix history. The historical accuracy of this book as well as the characters made this impossible to put down. I've always had a deep passion for history, especially European. It's rare that I find a work of historical fiction that doesn't irk, or disappoint me, in some fashion as to it's accuracy. 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.
What a fun story! If you've ever fantastised about jumping back in history, you'll enjoy this story. I, for one, cannot wait to read the next in the series. Well done!
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.
We meet our main character, 16 year old Dan, as he's about to be kicked out of a shopping mall for loitering. He's homeschooled by his history obsessed dad and his PE curriculum consists of historical fighting techniques. Nothing weird about that, right? This character reminds me of a young Sam Winchester if his dad had been a time traveling professor not a demon hunter.
He interrupts a life and death struggle at his house and escapes with a mysterious device to England in 1066. We learn that time flows and can actually change the past. Small changes don't matter, but large changes require time jumpers to go in and set things right so that the present doesn't come undone.
The time travel devices are also universal translators and somehow don't attract much notice from the people in the past. We learn the devices are very old (ancient aliens, maybe?) and are passed down in families. Dan receives help from another time jumper whose family was murdered. He has to find a way to fix the past without becoming the next victim in a war between the time jumpers.
This book teaches history by having an alternative set of events start to unfold, causing Dan to have to remember what actually happened and then figure out how to fix things.
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.
One of my favourite prompts is the one where people get stuck in time. Either from the people from the past getting stuck in the future or people from the present getting stuck in the past.
The author took a historical figure not many people talk about and wrote his story from a different perspective.
The characters, even the secondary ones, are well written as well as the fight scenes.
What I really liked was that the action didn't take much away from the main plot.
The descriptions of the landscape and the people were okay.
A thank you to Netgalley for providing ne an ebook.
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!
(Read the book for details!)
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 2023. I can't wait! Is is September yet?
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.
Dan Renfrew is a sixteen-year-old homeschooled teenager with an unusual set of skills, thanks to his history-obsessed father. A terrible event sends him to England back to the year 1066 AD, where he learns he is a time jumper, responsible for fixing a glitch in history that jeopardizes his ability to return to his time as well as the course of history as we know it.
We follow Dan’s journey as a series of alternative history events unfold and endanger his mission. He makes friends, but also faces individuals who want to make sure that he does not fulfill his purpose.
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.
Thanks to NetGalley and Imbrifex books for providing me a free copy in exchange of an honest review.
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.
adventurous funny informative lighthearted tense medium-paced
Plot- or character-driven? A mix
Strong character development? Yes
Loveable characters? N/A
Diverse cast of characters? No
Flaws of characters a main focus? No
A really fun and captivating read that takes historical fiction on a different front. I'm a fan of isekai/time travel sci fi so having it set in this particular era was intriguing. One qualm I do have is with how Sam was written, particularly how stilted her speech was in some places. Other than that, a really nice read to take a break from too much academia.
Big thanks to the publisher for providing me this ARC via NetGalley. This does not in any shape or form influence my review on this book.
Dan Renfrew has a boring life. Nothing ever happens. Until the day he gets home and is thrown back in time to Anglo-Saxon England. Dan has to 'fix' history. Someone is out to change the true course of events and he has to stop them before it is too late. He meets a fellow time-jumper and the two soon become firm friends as they race to stop history from being rewritten.
Mild spoiler alert. 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.
When Daniel’s father is attacked by an assassin, he is thrown a six-inch rod with a forgotten set of symbols. He is given a phrase to say and is thrust back into the time of the Battle of Hastings.
The rod seems to be a translation device and allows him to talk to the people in the village. At 16 years of age, Dan is expected to join the local authority and fight for the kingdom.
The class system is well described in this narrative as are the problems Daniel faces. The leaders in this part of the world are either royalty or the most-wealthy individuals. Peasants are required to fight for the royal and will be killed gruesomely if they do not comply but Daniel manages to become a companion to Edward and the future king of England.
The description of society as well as the interactions with the various characters describe a very colorful existence. Conscripted into the service of the overlord being mandatory, the conscripts must supply their own weapons. Additional weapons are prizes of battle such as swords, lances, and poleaxes.
The author has developed a very fine example of life in the middle ages and the dangers faced. Modern man is not equipped for these dangers. Can Daniel save himself long enough to return to his own time? 4 stars – CE Williams
This story follows Dan Renfrew, a young teenage boy who time travels to the year 1066 AD, The author did a great job researching the time period and staying historically accurate. I can't wait to read the rest of the series!
5+ Stars and 2 thumbs up! I absolutely LOVED this book! I normally hate books that leave the story unfinished, especially if it’s a big cliffhanger. 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. I normally read romance books and this had a tiny bit of a love story but was mostly just a time traveling, historical fiction book with historical nonfiction bits also. I could not put this book down, 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.
*I received this at no charge & I voluntarily left this review.*
For a book that pitches itself as a novel for teens and young adults from the start, it quickly turns into a deep and engaging narrative of alternate history and time travel.
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.
Really enjoyed reading! Two teens stuck in Medieval times trying to figure out how to get back to their own time period at the same time keeping themselves alive. Varga does a well job at keeping the reader engaged in this fast read novel.
The Last Saxon King follows the story of Dan, a teenage boy of today who finds himself in the year 1066 trying to change history. Time travel novels are my favorite and this one was no exception!
Mich hatte der Klappentext gefesselt. Generell finde ich Zeitreise-Romane extrem faszinierend. Immer wieder eine spannende Story, vor allem, wenn der jeweilige historische Kontext auch mein Interesse weckt. Und das hier war mal eine komplett neue Idee und Konstellation: Normalerweise sind die Zeitreisenden ja bemüht, möglichst wenig in der Vergangenheit zu ändern – wir wissen ja alle, wenn man nur ein Detail anders macht, kann das verheerende Konsequenzen auf den kompletten Lauf der Geschichte haben – aber hier ist es anders. Die „Time-Jumper“ reisen in die Vergangenheit, um eben bewusst Details zu ändern, damit eben die Geschichte so abläuft, wie wir sie kennen. Wenn Störimpulse in der Geschichte auftauchen, sind die Time Jumper gefragt: sie gehen zurück in der Zeit, beheben die Störung, und kehren dann wieder heim nach Hause. Und normalerweise ist so ein Zeitreisender auch gut vorbereitet, denn diese Jobs vererben sich seit über Tausend Jahren in der Familie.
Der 16jährige Dan ist allerdings nicht wirklich gut vorbereitet. Zwar geniesst er Homeschooling, und sein Vater legt grossen Wert darauf, dass er sich in der Geschichte auskennt und auch mittelalterliche Kampftechniken beherrscht (Sportunterricht mal anders), aber Zeitreisen standen bei ihm nicht auf dem Stundenplan, und so ist Dan eher schockiert, als er sich eines Tages im England des Jahres 1066 wiederfindet. Die Angelsachsen werden von Wikingern und Normannen bedroht, und König Harold stehen einige entscheidende Schlachten bevor. Und Dan muss sich nicht nur in einer völlig fremden Umgebung zurecht finden, sondern auch damit klarkommen, dass sein neuer Job es ist, die Battle of Hastings zum gewünschten Resultat zu bringen – ansonsten dreht sich das Rad der Geschichte nämlich dezent anders als unsere Geschichtsbücher es schreiben, und er selbst wäre gezwungen, den Rest seines Lebens im angelsächsischem England zu verbringen….
Das fand ich jetzt mal richtig interessant, und ich bin durch den Roman geflogen 😊. Der Held und die Heldin (ja, es gibt sie, das Mädel seines Herzens) sind recht jung, ich hatte schon Bedenken, dass ich hier altersmässig nicht in der Zielgruppe liege, aber ich muss sagen, das war egal. Die Story war einfach gut, und Dan und Sam hatten meine volle Sympathie, ich hab mit den beiden voll mitgefiebert. Die Geschichte ist aus der Ich-Perspektive erzählt, teils ein bisschen schnodderig, aber das hat super gut gepasst. Dans Galgenhumor war brilliant. Ich fand es auch als Nicht-Muttersprachlerin sehr gut lesbar, sehr flüssig lesbar, und fand den Stil sehr ansprechend.
Übrigens war das auch sehr gut historisch recherchiert. Ich habe mich im Studium (lang ist es her) mit dieser Zeit auseinandergesetzt, und genau so habe ich mir das auch vorgestellt, das England zu Zeiten William des Eroberers. Ich fand es atmosphärisch super gelungen, und wie gesagt, der Plot war genial. Das Spannungslevel war jederzeit hoch, und – ich wiederhole mich – es war richtig mitreissend geschrieben.
Das Buch ist der erste Band einer 7 (!)- teiligen Serie, und der zweite Band mit dem Titel „The Celtic Deception“ steht für den Herbst 23 schon in den Startlöchern. Es geht also weiter, und ich bin jetzt schon gespannt. Ich bin Fangirl 😊 geworden.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 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. 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.
When Dan Renfrew arrives home early, he finds his father seriously wounded and and unknown man standing over him. Dan's father hands Dan a strange device and it transports him back to England in 1066. This is how he learns that he is a time jumper, a person who can travel through time. The catch is he must set right something that has gone wrong in order to return to his present. Dan must figure out how to survive and he learns that the unorthodox lessons his father taught him were preparation for his work as a time jumper. He meets some important historical personages, as well as several fellow time jumpers. Dan learns that there has been a destructive division in the time jumpers and he is going to have to decide what side he is going to fight for. I love a time-travel story and this book is the start of a new series.
NOT FOR ME
I didn't enjoy most of this book (except for the ending).
I'm a complete sucker for time travel novels, and have read a ton of them: The Time Traveller's Wife, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O. Master of the Revels, Doomsday Book, To Say Nothing of the Dog, Blackout (All Clear #1), A Wrinkle in Time, The Time Machine, The Story of the Amulet, Time and Again, etc. etc. All of these charmed me in different ways, reflecting the various eccentricities and idiosyncrasies of their authors.
This book bored me for most of the story (except for the ending). I normally would not have even finished it, except since I got it on NetGalley, I felt obliged to read it to the end in order to write a fair review. It was fairly long, so I forced myself to slog through it.
I wondered if maybe the problem was that I was too old to be reading a YA novel. But I don't think that was the issue. I've read (and reread) and enjoyed many YA and children's books over the years, even as an adult: [book: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Ender's Game, The Golden Compass, The Hunger Games, book: Flora Segunda, Coraline, etc.
I had a number of problems with this book.
First, it was so generic and plain vanilla. It seemed like the mall/TV/Hallmark card version of a time travel novel. It's no accident that an early scene of the book in fact takes place in a mall.
Second, the main character and narrator, teenager Dan Renfrew, was such a nonentity/nebbish through much of the story. While not having a clear sense of self might be normal for a modern teen who's lived a sheltered life, it doesn't make for very interesting reading. Compelling characters, even in kids' books, have a strong sense of who they are. That's what makes them interesting to read about.
Also, people flocked around Dan and were eager to support him. He appeared to be such a vacuous person, I could not for the life of me understand why. Also, I couldn't understand what the girl in the romance central to the story saw in him. He was like a vacuum to me. Nothing there.
Next,, much of the writing was just plain trite. Dan watched his love interest's hair "shimmer like copper in the sunlight" and says she had "eyes that sparkled like emeralds". The warriors were having "fun with their friends". Groan... The author used the most cliched fantasy tropes. (The girl was disguised as a boy, and blah blah).
The time travel was done with "jump sticks". The mechanism of how these worked was never explained in a satisfactory way. Why did he end up in a certain time period, for example?
Dan's dad (also a time jumper) had wisely trained him in things he might need to know in a time jump but unwisely kept the whole business secret from him. Dan gets a letter from his Dad in the last scene, but even that never really explains much about time travel and why he (the father) was involved in it. In every other time travel novel I've read, there was an elaborate discussion of the how and why of time travel (different in every series of time travel books, but always carefully explained). Not here. It's tacked on at the end and even then the explanation is not satisfactory.
We are told that the objective of time travel is to go back and fix “glitches” that would prevent modern history from unfolding the way it has. (Would that be so terrible? Are modern times so wonderful?) An “evil” group of rogue time travelers are deliberately causing these “glitches”. Why? Who knows? We aren’t really told why, except that they are a big group who have hatched a conspiracy. To be revealed in a later book, maybe. But after this book, there’s no way I’m reading any more of this series.
The story didn't even start to get interesting until about eighty pages in. Isn't a good story supposed to grab readers from the beginning? Why do so many novice authors go on and on in the beginning before the story really starts?
While the romantic and time travel/fantasy elements of the book were unsatisfactory, its strongest element was the history. But even this bored me. There were pages of unnecessary and dull descriptions of armies on the move, etc. Many of the historical scenes seemed to take place at a boring distance from reality, like a bad TV show one plays in the background but pays little attention to.
The Viking history was accurate, but not terribly compelling. My basis for comparison would be John Gwynne's incomparable Bloodsworn fantasy series, based on Norse myths and Viking history.
The main character was constantly getting into scrapes. But I never really felt like he was in real danger until the last few scenes of the book.
The best sections of the book were the last few: the Battle of Hastings (in which I finally felt as if the "hero" were in real and immediate danger) and his return to the present. His reunion with his dream girl in modern times was cute.
I didn't give this an even lower rating because I felt the author has potential. He has a sense of how to develop a story. His grounding in history is good. But he needs a lot of work on characters, authorial voice, and a more imaginative prose style.
Thank you NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for providing an Advanced Review Copy (ARC) of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Daniel Renfrew has a relatively normal life until the day he finds himself stuck in Medieval England. With no way home and no idea how he got there, we join Dan on his quest to find the answers to these questions and deal with the problems he encounters along the way. When Dan discovers he actually descends from a long line of time travelers whose goal was and remains to fix “glitches” in time, things only get more complicated.
The Last Saxon is for a great read for anyone fond of history, fantasy novels, and/or time travel stories. Taking real historical figures and events, this tale threads us through the tapestry of time in the year of the Norman invasion of England in 1066. With Dan as our guide, we wander the countryside and cities of Medieval England, encounter allies, and discover rivals and enemies in the mix.
Dan serves well in his role as the main character. Through him we are granted access to the difficulties of navigating the foreign terrain of the past and the shifting morals that coincide with such a drastic temporal shift. His struggles with reconciling his situation and what he has to do with his sense of morality and ties to modern times makes him relatable. However, his inability to focus on his mission when a girl is involved takes away from the reality set forth in the story. The possibility of being stranded a thousand years in the past, the responsibility to set things right in order to survive, and the looming possibility of his own death among the many he witnesses, shouldn’t lend itself for time to contemplate the color of hair or the nearness of a female figure. While I understand he is apparently a heterosexual teenage boy and these things usually would concern him, his overwhelming terror in certain situations makes his distraction implausible or at least unlikely in a lot of scenarios.
That said, overall the romantic subplot is sweet. Our heroine is a fierce, capable figure who forces Dan to be a better person as well as a more capable one. She is vital to Dan and the story. Her skills and cleverness is needed in many situations which serve to highlight just how lost Dan finds himself at times which is understandable given the circumstances. Their dynamic is an important piece of the story and it’s enjoyable to see them work together for a common goal.
The story itself was exciting. We find ourselves in the thick of it before we start to unravel the various threads that weave together to make it all possible. I like stories that kick off with a lot of action like this one did. It pulled me in and held me there for most of the book. Since the year Dan is brought to is rife with such important history and broad, lasting consequences, there’s always action, adventure, and history to be had.
The research that went into this book is absolutely breathtaking and the details provided about the battles really brings them to life. It would have been great if the places they encountered along the way were also described with such detail. That being said though the use of historical figures and events to pull this tale together makes up for the lack of these descriptions. They just would’ve added that extra element.
As the start of a series, we are left with some questions at the end of the story which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I’m interested to see where this will go and what the bad guy meant when he told Dan what his cohort had planned. I was a bit disappointed in the reveal of this because it felt very generic, but like I said I also understand that it will be fleshed out and hopefully made more unique in future installments.
Overall, I would definitely recommend this book. It’s a fun, quick read and as a history buff it satisfied a lot of needs for me. I can’t wait for book two!
What a great first-time read for this author!
I just love his writing style, from his fast-paced suspenseful scene writing to his dynamic character development! In this first of a seven-part series, we meet young Dan at a pivotal turning point in his young life. Growing up in a house with a single history professor for a dad, Dan has been surrounded by tales of the past his entire life. Little did he know that those stories would become necessary for his future survival. I loved meeting this band of characters and watching them develop during scenes that had me fervently flipping the pages. I’m so excited this tale will continue. Yes, please! As an educator, I will be recommending this story for students as it is a clean, well-written adventure story.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley.
**Thanks to NetGalley & the publisher for an advance copy of this title in exchange for a fair and honest review**
This was a fun read. Time travelling into the past, trying to right what once went wrong... definite Quantum Leap vibes and that's a good thing. I liked the characters, especially Sam, and enjoyed the historical side of the story even though I would definitely last less than 5 minutes myself.
I'll look out for future titles in the series.
I absolutely ADORED Andrew Varga’s The Last Saxon King!
It gave off the same energy as the Percy Jackson series with narrations coming from a young (largely confused) boy that has been taken from everything he knows and thrown into the thick of it with a smart, badass female main character on his side.
I thought that this book was such a fun read and even as someone who is only mildly interested in history, I found the general historical concepts to be easy enough to grasp and engaging for a large variety of people who might chose this as their next read.
I loved seeing Dan really engage with the characters that he met along his travels and found myself rooting for him through every one of his battles. I also appreciated, what I felt to be, the appropriate awkwardness of a sixteen year old boy around a girl he likes. I thought his inner monologue was both witty and age appropriate and it just made me like him even more!
I also felt that he was quite a realistic character via his feelings toward war as someone who’s never set foot in a battle before. His reactions were correct for his character and it didn’t feel like he was so incredibly knowledgeable about everything in his situation that it would be unbelievable.
"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 favourite. 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!!
"Only a week ago I thought time travel was impossible. Now impossible has pretty much ceased to Eva meaning"
If I am completely honest, this book was closer to 3 starts than 4. But the strong final part (which is very important for me) made me want to immediately read the sequel !
The Last Saxon King follows Dan, a homeschooled teenager living with his eccentric father, as he is thrown headfirst into 1066 England, right after he witnesses the attempted murder of his father by a mysterious man with a sword. There, with the assistance of fellow time-traveller Sam, he has to undo the damage a rival faction of time-travellers is attempting to do, while surviving in medieval England.
A stand-out trait of this book is historical accuracy. The atmosphere of the era, the characters, the different social classes, the battles, all of them follow the real historical events and facts we know about the era. The highlight is undoubtedly the Battle of Hastings, which is the climax of the book.
I had a few issues with the characters: they're quite bland and lack flair, they could be anyone, just vassals for the reader to see the world of medieval England. The dialogue is quite flat sometimes as well - and the fact that one of Dan's few definitive traits is that he is thirsty for a girl (Sam) is not something I really enjoyed. I hope there is more character development in the sequels. The background of the time-travellers ongoing war is also a bit...generic. General platitudes about wealth and greed, it could use a bit more depth.
All in all, The Last Saxon King is a promising debut which sets the tone for an exciting book series!
Thank you NetGalley and Imbrifex Books for the ARC!
Great book, loved the twists and turns in the storyline and the interaction between the characters but got tired of the “bloody” descriptions of the battle scenes-weren’t needed in the story. The time travel element in the story leads the reader through history, which is well depicted and keeps the reader interested. Eagerly awaiting the next book.
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.
The Last Saxon King (A Jump In Time Novel #1) by Andrew Varga is a fun time travel novel that takes its reader and MC, Dan, back to the year 1066 where he learns he's descended from people who time travel to protect the present from glitches and breaks in time. In order to get home, he'll have to fix the glitches with history. I particularly liked seeing all of the historical details come to life. It's not too often that I have the chance to read a story featuring Anglo-Saxons, Normans, and Vikings, especially in a time travel novel. My favorite aspect of this was that it features just how different English was back then compared to now with Dan's translator. The novel takes a little while to get going, but it's definitely worth sticking around for to see what it's all about. Overall, if you liked Accidental Warrior (The Unlikely Tale of Bloody Hal #1) by Colin Alexander and Doomsday Book (Oxford Time Travel #1) by Connie Willis, you may want to try Andrew Varga's The Last Saxon King.
While I may not have picked this book up off the shelf, I am glad to have given it a go and read it.
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.
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.
"When Dan Renfrew is accidentally transported to England in the year 1066, he also learns a startling fact. He’s a time jumper, descended from a long line of secret heroes who protect the present by traveling to the past to fix breaks and glitches in the time stream. To get home alive, Dan must try to restore history, but he soon discovers even bigger challenges than suspicious Anglo-Saxons, marauding Vikings, and invading Normans. A band of malicious time jumpers is threatening the very future of the universe."
Let's get a few things out of the way up front. The mechanism of time travel is never explained beyond something that passes for magic. The motivation of the "bad" time jumpers is never explained. And the tattoo, with which all time jumpers are supposed to be marked? Well, let me just quote Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: "Oh, that reminds me! Let's make sure nobody here has the clearly visible tattoo in the standard, easily checkable location which would mark them as a secret enemy spy." (Chapter 86)
But despite those flaws, Varga has crafted a fun story here. It's a quick read, as many YA novels are, but the historical aspect quickly drew me in, and kept me engaged right up to the end. I'll be eagerly awaiting the next book in this series.
At sixteen, Daniel Renfrew’s life just got interesting. Being homeschooled by his dad has its perks (like being able to wander around the mall for an entire afternoon), but those perks are offset by boring history classes, medieval combat training, and lessons in conversational Latin. When Dan comes home to find his dad in a sword fight with a strange man in their living room one afternoon, those lessons come in handy as he’s catapulted back through time to an English forest in 1066 CE. Dan will have to use his knowledge of English history, his physical training, and his wits to not only keep history on its set course but to survive in a difficult world with the *teeny tiny* problem of outrunning a hostile group of time jumpers who want him dead at the same time. Dan may be a fairly normal teen, but the fate of all he holds dear depends on his ability to safeguard the timeline.
This book would be perfect for 10-14 year olds. It gives off Percy Jackson vibes with a slightly awkward but relatable protagonist, a single parent hiding a family secret, light snark sprinkled throughout, and a quest to save the world. The chapters are quick and snappy with ample recap of information learned along the way through conversations between characters and Dan’s internal monologues. The character dynamics are straightforward and easy to follow. Some of the battle scenes might be too detailed for sensitive readers, but they’re not egregiously gory. They’re a realistic portrayal of the horrors of medieval warfare.
This book is a fun debut novel with more books on the docket. The author paints a vivid world that’s easy to get lost in. Dan’s interactions with Anglo-Saxon peasants at work and his experiences helping clean up a battlefield once the fighting is finished shine a light on the mundane aspects of medieval life that are rarely used for literary fodder. You can practically smell the roasting rabbit as the men carouse the night before the battle. The area where this book could use a little bolstering would be the interplay between the “present” and “past” storylines. They seem disconnected from each other even though the present hangs on what happens in the past. A major emotional plot point that takes place in the present seems to have little lasting emotional effect once Dan is transported back in time apart from a few passing remarks. The disconnect does not take away from the action and adventure in 1066 CE, but his quest and subsequent character development might be enhanced by more connection between his experiences at different points in the historical timeline. Overall, this book is a great read for upper elementary to junior high readers. This is a book I wish I had been able to read as a lonely history nerd during my tween years. I’ll be waiting in anticipation for book 2.
With the derth of primary sources on life in the middle ages, Varga's The Last Saxon King provides a good feel for life during this era. Enough detail to allow the reader to feel she/he is there. Beyond that, it is a rollicking tale that is a fun and fast read, keeping the reader engaged from start to finish. I wish there had been a little more resolution of the conflicts at the end rather than feeling set up for the obviously coming sequel. But glad I got to read this.
The Last Saxon King
A Jump In Time Novel, Book 1
Our main character is sixteen-year-old Dan. He walks in on his dad in the midst of a struggle with a strange man with ancient weapons. His father throws him a rod and begs him to repeat the riddle. Suddenly Dan finds himself by a river somewhere. Someone is pointing a weapon at him, a bow and arrow. He knows something isn’t right. He discovers he is in Anglo-Saxon England in the year 1066 AD. He must fix something that has gone wrong in the past before he can return to the present.
Dan was homeschooled by his father with an emphasis on history and on fighting skills, all of which come in handy in his current situation. Dan’s family are time travelers; their mission is to protect the present from glitches and broken timelines. Through Dan, reader’s roam the landscape and cities of Medieval England, meet supporters, and locate opponents and foes.
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.
the last saxon king. I love this idea, the name of the book caught my attention and peaked my interest. Throw the time travel part in and I was hooked.
"Dan travels to the year 1066 on accident. He then discovers hes from a long line of time travelers who fix time glitches. Caused by rogue jumpers who are determined to change the world."
I enjoyed the history, how the characters of angelo saxon interacted with dan. The battles were enthralling and even made me cry. I wasnt a fan of the time jumpers but thats only because well obviously they were the villians.
All around it was good book i havent read a book that hooks me like that in years. Im excited for the next book in the series.
4.5 rounded down. YAs might rate this a 5 star book.
I really liked this YA historical fantasy novel. You do not need to be a YA to enjoy this book. However, for those who are used to grittier historical fantasy with modern curse words, sex scenes, and graphic violence; this book may fall short.
The characters were well-developed, and both were teens. The book is obviously aimed at teens, because the plot involves teens saving the time line. It's a little corny, but also fun to read. The shades of teen romance brought back memories of awkwardness, thus realistically presented.
The author inserted plenty of real, well-researched history. He successfully created atmosphere that drew me right into Anglo-Saxon England. Battle scenes were exciting without being drawn out or overly graphic. The story was interesting and intriguing from the first page. I wanted to continue reading and flew through this one quickly, all the while hoping it is the first in a series.
The ending was a bit of a disappointment; a silly romantic meeting between the 2 main characters. YAs might like it more than I did. The ending was far from conclusive, thus leaving room for a second installment. Lo and behold, a sampler from book 2 was included at the end of the ARC I received. I will definitely read the next in this series.
This book would make a great movie; or, better yet, a streaming series.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this novel in exchange for an unbiased review.
Review copy (eARC) provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
It is (I believe) the debut YA novel from the author's "A Jump in Time" series...in fact, there's a preview for book #2 in the back.
The main character, Dan, is a home-schooled teenager who encounters his father struggling with a stranger at his home, and is thrust into a time-travelling adventure. Dan is in the year 1066 in England, and must "fix" history in order to get back home and figure out what happened and why.
I enjoyed this novel, and it flows well/is a quick read. The main reasons I did not give it a higher rating:
1) The ending was somewhat disappointing. It's not bad, but rather not satisfying. It made the whole first book feel more like a set-up for book #2 and not stand as well on its own.
2) Some of the descriptions, in particular with respect to Dan and his main love interest, were stylistically written in a somewhat juvenile fashion, even for a YA novel.
In summary, I enjoyed the novel, and would like to read book #2. I'm particularly impressed by the amount of effort put into the historical setting. I look forward to seeing what happens next.
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 travelling 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!
This book was so fun. It was fast paced and the lead characters were definitely characters. I was sad at how the beginning took place but realized it was needed to get you to the point where the story took place, I enjoyed the fact they Sam's position as a female was correct in history and how it would effect their job. The side stories of friends were amazing the the teamwork was awesome. I really hate Victor he is an %$^&*#@. I am so looking forward to the next book. It feels like it is going to be a long wait.
Reading Time Travel is a great way to learn History. This novel begins with a father battling a sword. The slow, thorough way his shirt turns from white to blood red is emotional.It makes a teen wonder what life would seem like without parents or siblings. It's a well developed story about handling new experiences. Andrew Varga writes about the year 1066. In the end, I wanted to read more about the Medieval Period.
After a tragic event, 16-year-old Dan finds himself transported to England, in the year 1066. The year of a big battle, Vikings, Anglo-Saxons, and English kings. Obviously, he is totally perplexed and unequipped for this era. Luckily, he has some education in history. Can he survive? And can he survive alone?
He soon finds out that he comes from a family of time jumpers, throughout history, his family has had a great part to play in the shaping of the world, and he was trained to inherit that role.
The book is an enjoyable journey to different times, and yet human nature is the same as today. Dan, as a teenager with his doubts, fear, and a whole pleiad of emotions. And the others with their bravery, cunning plots, and politics. Vivid descriptions and atmosphere, action and adventure. And of course love.
A great read for all young history enthusiasts.
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!
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.
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