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The Codex of the Sword


Set in Germany in the Early Middle Ages, this is not only a narrative of the rebellion in the Saxon territory in 767, but also a chronicle of the 8th century religious wars, a history of monastic orders, and a compendium of a certain heretical movement which promoted the union of Scandinavian and Christian religions.


Angus of Metz is the name of the author of the Chronicle of the Saxon Wars, and the name of that who wrote down the story of Widukind. A young novice of the Benedictine Order in the monastery of Metz, Angus was an orphan, sponsored by the monks of the abbey since they found him at the doors of the church. He was abandoned by his mother in the hope of securing a better future for her child. From an early age, he became very fond of reading. With his teacher, Bernard of Mortránd, he learned Greek, Latin and Arabic, aided by his prodigious skill. However, in his adolescence, his passion for books and signs awakened the fears of his teacher, who decided to send him on a spiritual quest. Entrusted to the brothers of Cologne, Angus of Metz was accepted as a clerk in an evangelical mission whose ostensible purpose was the preaching of the Word of God. Short after that, the company launched into the wild kingdom of ancient Germania.

Once on its way, Angus will realize that the purpose of the mission is very different from what he had originally thought: Alfred of Durham will warn him that they had been sent to the heart of darkness in search of a heretic who preaches the mysterious Gospel of the Sword among the pagan peoples. Following this, Angus of Metz will become the instructor of the seven-year-old son of an important Saxon lord, who opposes the Carolingian domination. That child will be none other than Widukind.


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Extension of the Chronicle

The extension of Angus’ original manuscript is divided into three codex that have almost entirely survived the test of time, except for certain pages from the last section of the so called Book of Hours. The contents of the first codex have been released as The Codex of the Sword. The entire work will be published in Spanish by Editora y Distribuidora Hispano Americana SA, EDHASA, in its prestigious collection Historical Narratives.

A journey from early Christianity to the heathen darkness

The codex includes material from the first Book of Hours by the novice Angus of Metz, who, in company with a mission to the interior of Saxony in the mid-seventh century, explains the mysteries and questions surrounding the figure of the second Remigius of Reims, also known as The Pious. Remigius had lost his mind as he was carrying out his mission, becoming what the Christian authorities at that time considered to be a dangerous heretic. Angus of Metz recounts what happened during this mission, whose objective, though secret at first, will be unveiled as their penitents and fellows forward into the heart of heathen darkness. Once there, the fate of Angus will change radically, and he will become the educator of a child of eight years of age, by the name of Widukind.

Once estranged from the Christian faith and surrounded by the heathen, Angus recounts the many events that would mark the childhood, youth and early manhood of Widukind. He will become the leader of the Saxon resistance against Charlemagne. The loves and struggles, wars and betrayals follow one another throughout the entire chronicle of Angus with the charm of ancient, yet legendary times. A narrative that will appeal not only to the contemporary reader, but also to the lovers of adventure, war and novels of that period of time known as the Early Middle Ages.

The adaptation of a medieval codex for the XXI century readers

"I am pleased to see the publication of the manuscripts that compose the Chronicle of Angus of Metz, a work that yields its first fruit in The Codex of the Sword, after many years of research. Besides my own personal sympathy towards the heroes of all times, Widukind awoke in me a true passion for the Early Middle Ages. Such passion becomes inevitable when upgrading Angus of Metz's original and at some times confusing text, while trying to adapt it for the modern reader, without giving up that smell that exudes from the words of old medieval manuscripts. The magnificent editing work of EDHASA, undisputed leader in publishing high quality historical novels, has been detailed and offers the public a record of unparalleled results. The editing of the Chronicle remains particularly challenging in the meeting of two goals which in principle are irreconcilable: making a medieval chronicle accessible to a contemporary audience, while respecting the quality of the original source. "

Artur Balder
Herstal, 2010