In the Year 900, England (or what would later become the kingdom of England) was a place very different from what an uninformed reader, particularly here on the Continent, would expect. Large parts of the land were ruled by 'Vikings', and after the death of Alfred the Great the situation in the other parts was far from rosy. Into this distant past, the author of The Bone Thief takes her readers, to accompany the 'unlikely hero' Wulfgar on his adventurous journey across the country to find a lost saint.
I am far from an expert on this period, but I have heard from those who are more knowledgeable about it, that the book is extremely well researched. Additionally, while many historical novels get the facts right, who did what when, often authors unfortunately transport their own mentalities and attitudes to the past, giving their characters too modern a perspective, possibly in the belief that otherwise they would alienate their readers. The Bone Thief is a welcome exception in this point. Though it is impossible to really know what men and women were thinking or feeling in the past, an approximation can be achieved. The characters in The Bone Thief are solidly based in their time and place. That does not, however, mean that their behaviour or way of thinking is beyond comprehension. People are people no matter what century they live in.
A well-researched book, however, does not necessarily make a good novel. 'The Bone Thief', however, is both: An accurate book as well as an unusually good read. The story of Wulfgar's quest is well-plotted and gripping to read. There are encounters with interesting people, adventure, risks taken and dangers encountered. Altogether 'The Bone Thief' is thoroughly a good and very entertaining read: Highly recommendable.