Mixed Blessings by John Broughton
Mierce, the English Midlands, 8th Century A.D.
Æthelbald, King of Mierce, is a man of ambition. Having created much-needed stability within his domain, he now aspires to the taking of surrounding kingdoms to expand and fortify his own. With stealth and cunning, Æthelbald manipulates other men of power, like chess pieces, to achieve his goals.
The quest for power is not King Æthelbald’s only passion in life. Despite not wishing to marry, he possesses an unabating lust for women and takes advantage of his position to ‘raid’ nunneries to satisfy his desires. But Æthelbald also wishes to be seen as a fair and merciful king, and many poor, common folk benefit from his generous deeds and favourable resolutions.
As Æthelbald’s reign grows and strengthens, so too does the authority of the church, whose leverage over monarchical matters becomes increasingly overbearing. The church does not approve of King Æthelbald’s exploits with innocent women and seeks to bring him into line with the threat of eternal damnation.
This, the sequel to Saints and Sinners, chronicles the life of an English king in the days where the boundaries of kingdoms and social propriety were undergoing rapid change.
John Broughton was born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, and studied Medieval and Modern History at the University of Nottingham. He also studied Archaeology, distinguishing himself with a Roman find on a dig at Ancaster. He taught History and English for a decade, becoming Head of Department of History in a Manchester grammar school. A restless period saw him experiment with writing children’s stories while working in a variety of jobs before moving in Italy to teach EFL at a southern university. Teaching and work as a translator of books kept him busy until he retired in January 2014. Since then he has taken up fiction writing once more – returning to his great love, the Anglo-Saxon period. His debut historical novel was The Purple Threadfollowed by Wyrd of the Wolf.