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By: J K Davidson

A Cold Wind From The North

Pages: 316 Ratings: 4.9
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In seventh century Wales, a young man must fight to prove himself. As the kingdoms of post-Roman Britain struggle for a new order, his chieftain father is called away to war and Rhun is left to care for his people. But soon he is tasked with a dangerous mission of his own. Gathering a small band of friends, he sets out into the unknown to face a deadly enemy, battle, and death. 

J K Davidson was born in rural north Essex in 1951, and brought up in London. Introduced at an early age to the likes of Rosemary Sutcliffe and Ronald Welch, he left school at the age of fifteen, blissfully unqualified, but with a lasting affection for history and historical fiction. After a life spent as an artist and designer, he has finally settled down to writing his own. He currently lives in the Welsh Marches and, when he is not writing, spends much of his time exploring their rich history and landscape. 

Customer Reviews
7 reviews
7 reviews
  • David Snell FRSA

    JK Davidson’s masterly descriptive style leads us on a gripping adventure which will appeal to all young people as he paints a vivid landscape of 7th century Wales, in which Rhun, a young Cheiftain’s son, takes on a perilous task. With his loyal band of friends Rhun goes on a quest which will ultimately determine the course of history for Wales and Mercia. Davidson combines page-turning storytelling with a compassionate insight into the characters' inner feelings. A must-read, not only for all adventure-loving 12-18 year olds, but also for all adults keen to experience life in 7th century Welsh borders as Britain’s early history is moulded by the dogged determination of an unlikely band of youths from a small village in the Welsh Borders.

  • Phil Booth

    A classic good yarn, pacy, atmospheric and packed with vivid period detail. The story has real warmth alongside all the action, and the landscapes (and weather!) of North Wales and the Marches are brought to life with a beguiling freshness. There's even a touch of the uncanny stirred into the mix. Would recommend for adventure-loving teens of all ages.

  • L. S. Crockett

    Great read! The story uncovers a forgotten corner of post-Roman British history, when borders were fluid and power rested with whoever could command the most muscle. The fast moving narrative, with its page-turning climax, leads the reader ever deeper into the complex landscapes of North Wales which in turn seem to amplify the complex issues of loyalty and identity faced by the characters.

  • Peter Lloyd

    A group of young people is caught up in a relentless series of events that will not wait for them to grow up. It is an unfamiliar world that Britons and Anglo-Saxons share in uneasy proximity, and one that JK Davidson’s storytelling makes you smell, taste, touch and feel. They do wrong, they make mistakes, they suffer disaster, but there are transformative moments of self-discovery as their understanding of friendship and leadership grows, and they begin to learn how you must handle yourself in a time of uncertainty and risk. A compelling read from a gifted storyteller

  • Charles Atkinson

    'A Cold Wind from the North' is an adventure story, certainly, but much more than that; it's an exploration of personal growth in young people, not merely through fighting but through comradeship and suffering. The main character, Rhun, has a rather spurious self-confidence in the early part of the novel, but circumstances combine to produce serious setbacks with which he has to cope before he can reach full maturity. The book moves at a good pace, with a strong narrative line, and has some punchy dialogue delivered by well-drawn characters, but simultaneously is very evocative of the Welsh landscape and culture in which it is set, and contains some haunting scenes in which the mystical power of the Druids is evoked. And it takes us to places most of us haven't visited in fiction; there are plenty of novels about the ancient world, and the medieval period, but JK Davidson contrives to bring the 7th century ( a supposed dark age) vividly to life.

  • R. Lee

    This beautifully written book transports us, in a breath, into the living presence of our seventh century forebears, into the “liminal” lives of people who were finding their way through the shifting labyrinth of post Roman Britain towards what was to become Wales. J K Davidson settles us so easily and naturally into the eternal humanity of those people, so much so that we do not baulk in the least when we encounter the wise magic of the times; we are relieved to find the world still left in its hands as the book closes, hopefully to be continued! A “ripping good yarn” that’s hard to put down, but which is also threaded through with a beautiful undercurrent of great “gentleness” that does the heart good….
    Highly recommended!

  • Judy Greaves

    ‘A Cold Wind from the North’ by J K Davidson is a gripping yarn, vividly evoking life in Wales and the Marches in the 7th century. It’s packed with history that I had no idea about, but all effortlessly woven into a very exciting story about a group of boys caught up in the action. As a 73-year-old woman, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

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