William, the nineteen-year-old duke of Normandy, is enjoying the full fruits of his station. Life is a succession of hunts, feasts, and revels, with little attention paid to the welfare of his vassals. Tired of the young duke’s dissolute behaviour
and ashamed of his illegitimate birth, a group of traitorous barons force their way into his castle. While William survives their assassination attempt, his days of leisure are over. He’ll need help from the king of France to secure his dukedom
from the rebels.
On the other side of the English Channel lives ten-year-old Ælfgifa, the malformed and unwanted youngest sister to the Anglo-Saxon Jarl, Harold Godwinson. Ælfgifa discovers powerful rivalries in the heart of the state when her sister Ealdgyth is given in a political marriage to King Edward, and she finds herself caught up in intrigues and political manoeuvring as powerful men vie for influence. Her path will collide with William’s, and both must fight to shape the future.
An Argument of Blood is the first of two sweeping historical novels on the life and battles of William the Conqueror.
The Historical Novel Society said: “The novel comes equipped with a lot of action and intrigue. Many of the characters are well developed, but I loved Ælfgyfa. She is clever, witty, and complex. When historical information is lacking, authors get to play and fill in gaps, and Willis and Ironside use the Saxon culture to make her a realistic and sympathetic though not always likeable character. I also enjoyed the portrayal of Edward the Confessor; the authors’ twist on his “pious” nature is very interesting. The depth of cultural detail, both for the Saxons and the Normans, adds a lot of color. I am looking forward to the next book. Strongly recommended!”