• The Cross and the Curse

  • The Bernicia Chronicles, Book 2
  • By: Matthew Harffy
  • Narrated by: Barnaby Edwards
  • Length: 14 hrs and 28 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (303 ratings)

1 title per month from Audible’s entire catalog of best sellers, and new releases.
Access a growing selection of included Audible Originals, audiobooks and podcasts.
You will get an email reminder before your trial ends.
Your Premium Plus plan is $14.95 a month after 30 day trial. Cancel anytime.
Buy for $20.24

Buy for $20.24

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

634AD. Anglo-Saxon Britain. A gripping, action-packed historical thriller and second instalment in the Bernicia Chronicles. Perfect for fans of Bernard Cornwell.

Warlords battle across Britain to become the first king of the English. After a stunning victory against the native Waelisc, Beobrand returns a hero. His valour is rewarded with wealth and land by Oswald, king of Northumbria. He retires to his new estate with his bride only to find himself surrounded by enemies old and new.

With treachery and death on all sides, Beobrand fears he will lose all he holds dear. On a quest for revenge and redemption, he accepts the mantle of lord, leading his men into the darkest of nights and the bloodiest of battles.

©2016 Matthew Harffy (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

What listeners say about The Cross and the Curse

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    202
  • 4 Stars
    81
  • 3 Stars
    14
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    207
  • 4 Stars
    58
  • 3 Stars
    8
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    175
  • 4 Stars
    72
  • 3 Stars
    19
  • 2 Stars
    6
  • 1 Stars
    2

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

good little historical fiction

after reading Bernard Cornwells Sexson series thought I would give another similar series a try. This one though not as good as Cornwell, in my opinion, is still a good read. Author grabs real events and spins his fictional characters in them. heading to book 3 now!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Wonderful fulfilling story

So far the Bernicia chronicles and Barbary Edwards have not disappointed !!! Great story filled with every kind of emotion you can expect! Along with that emotion barnaby brings life and personality to each and every character as an individual. Very excited for the rest of the story!!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

not as good as the first but not bad

Book dragged on didnt really ever keep me as intrested as most book in this genre but will listen to the next one.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Captivating from beginning to end.

It was a challenge to have to stop listening when need be. I enjoyed this book just as much as book 1 and I'm looking forward to the entirety of this series. Absolutely amazing narration.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Unfortunately miserable and predictable

Unfortunately miserable and predictable. Just when you become hopeful that there may be a turn story the same simple theme continues. Love the genre but this story falls short of holding one's attention.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great novel

It is a pleasure to continue reading this story of a young man’s journey through these tough times.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A good story with weakness in dialogue

Harffy tell a good narration. He weaves a good story capturing scenery, decent character development, and a quick moving narrative. It’s a bloody unruly time. Dialogue is at times trite and the story at times is too predictable but overall, worth the listen if you enjoy historical fiction set in this time period.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Could not stop until the end! Fantastic!

If you could sum up The Cross and the Curse in three words, what would they be?

Riveting, Gripping , Engrossing!

Who was your favorite character and why?

Beobrand, such a great warrior!

Have you listened to any of Barnaby Edwards’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Yes, The Serpent and Sword, he is awesome! A phenomenal narrator!

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes! And I did listen in one sitting, it was that great!

Any additional comments?

Matthew Harffy is the next Bernard Cornwell, no doubt! Please have Barnaby Edwards perform all your novel narrations!

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Struggle

Any additional comments?

This was a struggle to read since the main character, Beobrand, becomes unlikable. That is going to be hard to change for the 3rd book. Overall not a bad story, somewhat predicable.. but I have never been fond of characters that have anger issues and fly off into a rage and hurt people without thinking or make situations worse for all those around just because they can't stop and think for 10 seconds... right now, at the end of book 2, I would have no issues if someone took Beobrand out.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

constant self pitty

very poor book. Book one was good book 2 spent way to much time focusing on self pitty and loss. I about quit listening at chapter 27 I think but I suffered through. The narrator does a great job but I wont listen to book 3 because 2 was so poorly written.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for STENSDEN
  • STENSDEN
  • 02-03-21

will not be reading the next in

3/4s of the book could have been written by Barbara Cartland or any similar bodice ripper scribbler!
Beobrand has turned into a 'Knight in shining armour' stereotype with flowery language and various damsels in distress.
The battle scenes are almost ok but lack any depth.
Disappointed!

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Storm
  • Storm
  • 02-02-17

Great listen!

Longtime friends and followers of mine might know that I endorsed Harffy’s debut novel, The Serpent Sword. That was a self-published affair which garnered enough interest and sales that Matthew was taken on by a major publisher, Aria, and this is the resultant sequel.

The tale is quite straightforward with love, action and beautifully written prose aplenty and, combined with a really good narrator, makes for a great listen. It gets especially nasty (in a good way!) about two-thirds in and things really start to come together there.

I felt a little as if this was a bridge between the first book and the next, setting things up for what’s to come for the rest of the series. That’s no bad thing and there is enough to keep your interest up throughout although I did miss a bit of humour. The events are dark and gritty and the characters know it – but it would have been nice to have a bit of childish banter between the men just to lighten things. As it is, the word I kept thinking of as I listened was “earnest”. The dialogue is earnest, the characters are earnest and the prose is too. I was wishing someone would fart or stand in a dog turd but sadly there’s no slapstick silliness here!

This series has been compared to Bernard Cornwell’s Uhtred stories (by me, actually, in that previously-mentioned endorsement!) but, although settings and time period are similar, the writing is completely different in The Cross and the Curse. Fans of one author will enjoy the other I’m sure, as both are absolutely brilliant.

Steven A. McKay, author of the Forest Lord series

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Clinical Hypnotherapist
  • Clinical Hypnotherapist
  • 03-21-22

Formulaic, stereotype dark ages troubled hero

Had the format been print you skim read the the hero's inner conflict with some arcain Norse gods. It is just so tedious so fast forwarding and having to pause to see if it back on storyline. Too many writer are now padding their storyline with lengthy copy of the hero's neurotic/psychotic thoughts.
When you consider the work in its totality the storyline can too often seem like a string vest rather than a properly tailored suit..

If I had a genuine interst in Dark ages spirits/gods demons I woul seek some tome dedicated to explaining the nuances and foible's of such entities. I listened to have the audion and rechon the I fast forwarded 30%.

I have read and listened to a number of the author's books and noticed there was an increasing inclusion of Norse gods/spirit interwoven with the storyline.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Gully Foyle
  • Gully Foyle
  • 01-04-22

One up from fan fiction

They’re not Bernard Cornwell level and the heroes dialogue would make the Mighty Thor blush but I’ve read worse.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Joe McGuchan
  • Joe McGuchan
  • 12-30-21

boring and frustrating

I really wanted to like this book, since I enjoy the setting and wish there was more fiction set around this time, but I just found it incredibly exhausting. The characters are flat, the women seem to exist only to be raped and murdered, and Beobrand lacks any shred of humour, kindness, or tenderness that would make him endearing. I'm not sure why I should care about this man who does nothing but murder and hate people. I won't be contributing this series.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Warren leath
  • Warren leath
  • 10-08-21

2nd and last Harffy book

historical link interesting but story predictable and draw out....
each of the key points painfully told.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr H.
  • Mr H.
  • 08-06-21

Getting a bit emotionally heavy for an action book

I am enjoying the series but this book was a bit difficult due to follow as the main character spends half his time with huge doubts about everything he does or spends chapters grieving over lost loves or makes ridiculous decisions and offends people who bizarrely forgive him.

Just hope book three gets better.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Simon
  • Simon
  • 12-28-17

A Series Developing Substance and Momentum

The second of Matthew Harffy’s excellent Bernicia Chronicles and may there be plenty more to come. Having proved himself as a warrior it might seem as if he’s in for a restful time but with kingdoms at stake and old enemies still lurking Beobrand is put to the test in almost every way imaginable. With his rise through the ranks comes greater riches, power and responsibility. As with the series opener this is another fast moving historical fiction with plenty of action. The Mead Halls are brimming with intrigue and there is a climactic encounter with an old enemy . . . though if Beobrand thinks that is the end of his difficulties in that regard he is sorely mistaken.

The superstitious nature of the times gets a good outing and Beobrand has to deal with some rather noisy neighbours. The church comes more to the fore with the author’s license being used to the full on some real historical characters.

In all it’s a fine continuation of the series and if like me you really liked the first one it seems it’s good news because there is plenty more to come!

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Canoerichie
  • Canoerichie
  • 04-21-22

great

really enjoyed it, worth a listen if you like Bernard Cornwall you'll like this!!!! enjoy

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Mr Andrew Lush
  • Mr Andrew Lush
  • 02-01-22

Really good listen

MH is a new author to me. But Barnaby Edwards is known from Mortal Engines. Add a good story with a great reader and you have the basis for enjoyable listening.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Thomas
  • Thomas
  • 02-27-17

Overly depressing and dull

Really tried to enjoy this book. But there was far too much focus on death and depression. Sure these were brutal times.. but bring on the adventure

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Karen
  • Karen
  • 11-23-21

Loving THIS serie

Enjoying every word the suspense and
becoming part of the story of those dark ages

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for James Alexander
  • James Alexander
  • 06-24-21

Action Packed

A most ejnoyable novel, the narration was superb and authentic.
Too many thrills and battles to keep the reader/listener enthralled.
James Alexander
Adelaide
South Australia

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 03-17-21

Story evoles

Characters are developing, story is good if a little predictable and the dialogue has improved. on to number three.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Anonymous User
  • Anonymous User
  • 02-13-20

I'm Hooked!

I am a committed Scarrow, Cornwell and Iggulden devotee and also love LeCarre and Forsyth for the spy stuff. This book is better than book one!

Firstly, the narrator is top notch. Secondly Harfly is a very well researched history buff complementing this by a very skilled ability to develop his characters. This allows us to experience their hardship and turmoil in the 7th Century in their boots. Thoroughly entertaining and I want more.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Platykat
  • Platykat
  • 06-06-18

I am still not certain about the quality!

As I said above, I am still not certain about the quality of this work. I like Beobrand and enjoy his triumphs and losses.

The narrator does a good job with all of the accents, both male and female. Sadly, this isn't often so in all audible boosk. Some narrators have destroyed all interest in the outcome of the story for me. One can't express deeply enough how much a good narrator adds to the enjoyment of the novel.

Unfortunately, I am still not totally engaged with the outcomes of the various participants in the story. The only character who caught my imagination dies during this book. On the other hand, I am about to purchase Book 3.

Curiosity regarding Beobrand's adventures leads me on, as I am sure it will you.