For as long as she can remember, Lae, Lady of Mercia has been helping her father and husband, Red, plan battles but her dream is to take up a sword in battle against the Vikings who have invaded their lands.

Secretly spying on the Danes brings Lae in contact with the Viking leader, Eiric; a man she could respect, except he is the enemy and not to be trusted.

Lae has other problems; her daughter, Wyn, is a rebellious, spoiled child, perhaps unfit to reign as queen after Laes death. Then there is her brother Edwards mistress and their son, Stan. It is Stan she hopes will marry Wyn and lead the country in the future.

But for now Lae focuses on the Vikings, and finally she rides into battle as a trained soldier, claiming first blood.

When Red becomes ill, she makes alliances with the Irish and Welsh. Lae continues to focus on becoming a warrior and a just ruler, dedicated to her country.

Haley Elizabeth Garwood takes a strong feminist stand on history, depicting events and characters through the eyes and hearts of remarkable women. In SWORDS ACROSS THE THAMES we see how different women cope with the continual threat of warthe anger, hostility and fear of losing those they love. But we also see strong women, warrior women who fight for what they believe and hold on to the bitter end to see justice and peace brought to their land. These are the women that make us proud, the ancestors we emulate and should keep in our hearts. SENSUAL (Apr., 409 pp.)

Reviewed by: 
Kathe Robin