I have been following the 'Worrier Chronicles' from the fist, having read other of Cornwell's series. I find it important not to read them too close together, as the formula becomes too apparent. This book is a good example of what Cornwall does so well. He uses uncertain history to write a strong, masculine novel. In this one he perhaps allows the savagery full rein at times. His descriptions of battle, however, are credible and engaging. Some have suggested they are repetitive. That takes me back to the idea of not reading the books one after the other without a good break. In the end I guess there is only so much one can say about what was a very brutal and crude form of warfare. In this book the details of the lie of the land are important and add credibility. Conwell is always very honest about the degree to which he changes known facts. He is writing a novel after all, not academic history. I enjoy the books, I find his style easy and entertaining. I look forward to the next (the last?) in the series.
The very prolific Bernard Cornwell continues his Saxon Chronicles series with "The Pagan Lord," the seventh entry. Now, main character Uhtred of Bebbanburg, warrior chief for the Saxon cause against the Danish invasions, is showing some age. He's past 50, which for a warrior in the year 910, is pretty remarkable. In this entry he's on the outs with the church and his devout son, and he fails in his attempt to recapture the castle that is rightfully his. He spends most of the book a leader without followers, a man-at-arms without a cause.
But never fear, causes seem to find Uhtred whether he's searching for them or not. While he and his ragtag troop are laying low in coastal Frisia, a captured woman helps Uhtred understand the designs and desires of kings and warlords across the British Isles. He finally decides what he must do, and promptly leads his forces, such as they are, on a harried chase of destruction and kidnapping across the Mercian Midlands to the Welsh border. And at the end, Uhtred faces likely death at the hands of a ruthless Danish force which outnumbers him at least 20-to-1.
Mr. Cornwell delights us and enthralls us with several features in this series. First is the perfect verisimilitude to tenth-century Saxon England. Second, he has chosen this epoch because it is a crucial juncture in the history of the British Isles. Uhtred's fictional exploits help to steer it toward English (or at that time, Anglo-Saxon) and away from Norse. Specifically also, I have seen his battle scenes praised, and deservedly so. They are shown in all their frightful and action-packed ferocity, and are the result of scrupulous research. I anticipate the next installment impatiently, because I know it will not disappoint. They never do.
After his last success to save the kingdom of Edward, Uhtred has been given a few land.But 10 years of peace came and his glorious past left memories. Churchmen are watching any wrong pace from his side to condemn the pagan. It will be easy for them to provoke the fierce man and change him in a paria in the christian kingdoms. His loyalty to Edward's sister will make him come back when the Danes will attack. And he will fight for her lover, for his reputation and obviously for the challenge of being one against twenty! The description of the battle is epic. Uhtred is without compromise as usual. It will simply not be possible to wait 2 years for the next episode!
Good continuation to the chronicles of Uthred of Babbenburg. Enjoyable read with excellent descriptions. The imagined situations sew the story together well from what real information we have from this period.
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