Two thrones, one heir, a thousand enemies.

1067 AD. The Norman conquerors have reached the Saxon village.

The aged priest is wracked with pain, the relics of wounds sustained in too many battles fought.

He has come to the Saxon village for no other purpose than to tend his wife's grave and to die close to her, but even here there can be no escape from his turbulent past.

Born an Irish prince, and once a warrior himself, he guards a secret that, if revealed, spells death.

He has distinguished himself in battle against the fearsome Norsemen in Erin and in Wessex. Now, his last great battle has been fought and won, but the High King he serves is dead, murdered by a Viking mercenary. In the process of avenging his king's death, he learns the astonishing secret of his true ancestry.

In a verbal joust with an arrogant Norman knight, he experiences a reawakening of his long forgotten warrior spirit and must decide whether to reveal his deadly secret, even though it will lead to his death.

This week, Sharon Valley was kind enough to review John Doyle’s latest release.



An Tanaiste - The Heir, written by John Michael Doyle, is set in Ireland and in Wessex in the years between the beginning of the eleventh century and the Norman conquest of England. It paints a vivid picture of a Dalcassian prince's loyalty to his High King, his bravery in battle against the fearsome Norsemen, and his struggle to marry a chieftain's daughter. During the same period he also fought against the Norsemen who plundered Saxon villages across the sea in England.


The author has painted a vivid portrait of the era including the Battle of Clontarf which took place near Dublin in 1014 and killed 7,000 - 10,000 men in the one day battle. Doyle has managed to combine historical facts within a great work of fiction resulting in the reader learning the significant history of the era encompassed in an adventurous tale. The detail to the Gaelic vocabulary and terms as well as the weapons and battle strategies is most impressive. The intrinsic enlightenment of the book is the Dalcassian prince’s story simultaneously as a young prince and as Saxon village priest many years later. The story in between the chapters is both captivating and compelling making this a page turner until the end when you don’t want the book to end.  Another excellent book by Doyle.


Thank you, Sharon, for the honest review.