Extract from The Last Princess by Shelley Wilson
Shelley is an English multi-genre author. She has written nine young adult/middle-grade
supernatural, fantasy, and historical novels, a children’s meditation book, and six
motivational self-help titles for adults.
She is a proud single mum of three and lives in the West Midlands, UK. Shelley loves
travelling in her VW camper, searching for stories. She also enjoys paddle boarding, Tudor
and Viking history, supporting Leeds United, and obsessing over to-do lists!
Her latest book, The Last Princess, is out on 24th May 2022, published by BHC Press Books.
Extract from The Last Princess:
Our procession made good time as we followed the coast road heading toward the
Northumbria-Mercia border. There were several suitors making ready for our arrival in
Mercia, but I secretly wished we could travel further, on to Wessex, and meet the sons of
King Aethelwulf. I’d heard great things about Alfred and would delight in talking politics
with such a bright young prince.
If I were being brutally honest, I’d prefer to fall in love the natural way than have it
forced upon me because of a royal alliance. I understood it was my duty to the kingdom, and
I was fully aware that girls were used as pawns to claim lands and win wars, but it didn’t stop
me longing for a bit of excitement.
Edmund always told me that my thirst for adventure would get me into trouble, but he
never stopped me from sneaking out of our home to go on hunting trips, or from dressing up
as a churl so I could go to the village festivals without anyone knowing who I was. If
anything, Edmund had taught me a valuable lesson about survival.
We had travelled a fair distance from Bamburgh when a shrill screech filled the late-
afternoon air, breaking into my thoughts. The guards at the front of the party swung around to
investigate, but as the noise had come from the carriage, we could only begin to imagine what my sisters were doing to cause such a fuss. They may have been princesses in name, but they certainly didn’t act like it most of the time.
I held my hand up to signal I had it under control, trotting my horse over to where the
wagon had stopped. Edmund encouraged his horse forward so he could talk to the soldiers
leading the way. I knew he wanted us to set up camp soon, and I was thankful for that as my
‘What’s going on?’ I demanded, leaning down and pulling back the cloth curtain to
Cynethryth’s face had drained of all colour as she cowered in a tight ball on the floor
of the carriage. It took me far too long to register the blood splatter across her cheek and
along the wall. I often had to pull them apart when they started wrenching each other’s hair,
but this didn’t feel like one of those moments.
I twisted my angle and examined the near side of the wagon, expecting to see our
youngest sister in floods of tears; instead, she was deathly silent with an arrow protruding
from her throat where it pinned her to the side of the carriage. Blood trickled from her small,
perfectly formed mouth, and her lifeless eyes stared out of the window and across the tall
grasses edging the road.
‘Edmund!’ I spun away from the scene, choking down my tears and the bile that rose
up the back of my throat. ‘We’re under attack.’
The Last Princess Blurb
Northumbria, 866 AD
Edith still has much to learn about the art of ruling a kingdom, but when her family is
murdered, she’s faced with the challenge of staying alive.
As a young woman in Anglo-Saxon England, Edith finds it hard to be heard above the
Eldermen who are ripping the kingdom to pieces, but nothing can prepare her for the arrival
of the pirates and the Vikings. Torn from her homeland and sold into slavery, she’s
determined to survive at any cost.
Finding allies in the unexpected and enemies closer to home, Edith clings to her dream of
returning home one day to reclaim her throne and to exact revenge on those who harmed her family.
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Early Praise for The Last Princess:
“This fast-paced historical novel builds on an obscure Anglo-Saxon king’s life to tell an
empowering tale of a girl’s journey to fully embrace a new world, a new culture…as she
grows into her own as a warrior. Edith’s fierce and often violent quest for revenge is
juxtaposed with lovely, life-affirming moments of friendship and love in an engaging first-
person narrative.” - Kirkus Reviews
“I LOVED this quick fantasy read. I can’t wait to share with my students once I get a copy.” -
Dawn, Teacher & Goodreads Reviewer
“WOW! I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but this wasn't it! This story is absolutely
amazing.” - Rebecca, Goodreads Reviewer