The first Norman castle is being built in Engla-lond--whether the Anglo-Saxons want it or not. Set in the Dark Ages of Engla-lond, the "Last Tales of Mercia" are ten short stories featuring real historical figures and characters from the "Sons of Mercia" series. All ten stories form a prequel to the novel, "Edric the Wild." Though strongly connected to the series, they can be read independently.
Queen Emma’s own son, King Edward, has been turned against her by Goodwin of Wessex and Archbishop Robert from Normandy. Edward accuses his mother of treachery and adultery with an English bishop. To prove her innocence, Emma must walk barefoot over nine scalding ploughshares and come out unscathed.
Character appearances: Emma of Normandy, King Edward the Confessor, Archbishop Stigand, Richard FitzScrob, Earl Goodwin of Wessex
King Edward calls upon the lords of Engla-lond to protect him against the rebellious earl of Wessex, Lord Goodwin. Richard FitzScrob is a Norman lord who has only been in Engla-lond for a few years and struggles to provide military support. Eager to teach his son the pride and culture of their Norman heritage, he determines to strengthen his stance in Engla-lond, no matter what the cost to the Saxons beneath him.
Character appearances: Richard FitzScrob, Osbern FitzRichard, Geoffrey du Faucon, Audrey
Lord Athelward, an ealdorman who also wants to write history, finds his peace of mind disturbed when a strange woman named Golde and her young son Eadric show up on his doorstep with a ridiculous proposal.
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Characters featured from Eadric the Grasper:
Osgifu finds out that her sister, Elwyna, may soon be hanged for murder. Osgifu tries as hard as she can not to involve her husband Godric, whose first wife was Elwyna. But she hesitates to defy the Normans by saving Elwyna herself. She faces a hard decision of whether to leave Elwyna’s fate in the hands of God or take it into her own.
Character Appearances: Osgifu, Godric, Edric the Wild, Ralph, Osbern FitzRichard, Elywna
Young Hereward (later known as "the Wake") finds out that a Norman castle is being built in Shrewsbury and rides with a group of rowdy boys to raise hell about it.
Character Appearances: Hereward, Ralph, Richard FitzScrob
Like most Saxons, Godric resents the presence of his Norman neighbors; but out of loyalty to King Edward, he feels he must support them. When Richard FitzScrob asks Godric to hunt for the youth who desecrated his castle, Godric's loyalty will be put to the test.
Character Appearances: Godric, Edric, Richard FitzScrob, Hereward, Sigurd
Young Audrey is one of many poor Saxons who has been forced to help build Richard’s castle. She and her friends suffer various cruelties at the hands of Lord Richard’s soldiers. One night, she inspires some of her fellow slaves to form an escape plan. But the cruel knight Geoffrey keeps a close watch on her every move, and if she doesn’t succeed, she could pay with her life.
Character Appearances: Audrey, Osbern FitzRichard, Geoffrey du Faucon
Sigurd, once a minstrel and royal courtier, now struggles to pay his rent to Thegn Godric. One day he goes to the castle of Richard FitzScrob looking for extra work. There he meets another thegn named Alfric, relative of Eadric Streona. The two form an unexpected bond, and Alfric offers him a way to solve his troubles. Sigurd must choose between loyalty to his dear friend Godric and his new affection for the charming Lord Alfric.
Characters Featured: Sigurd, Godric, Alfric of Wenlock
After many hard years in Engla-lond, Lord Richard FitzScrob has finally completed the stone keep of his castle. His son Osbern tries to make friends with a young Saxon named Edric and invite him to the feast, but Edric openly defies him. Later, while Richard celebrates with his knights, Osbern’s resentment for his situation escalates to a violent confrontation with his father.
Character Appearances: Osbern FitzRichard, Edric the Wild, Richard FitzScrob, Godric the Kingslayer, Geoffrey du Faucon