The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation. As the ninth century wanes, England appears about to be plunged into chaos once more. For the Viking-raised but Saxon-born warrior, Uhtred, whose life seems to shadow the making of England, this presents him with difficult choices. King Alfred ...
The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation. As the ninth century wanes, England appears about to be plunged into chaos once more. For the Viking-raised but Saxon-born warrior, Uhtred, whose life seems to shadow the making of England, this presents him with difficult choices. King Alfred is dying and his passing threatens the island of Britain to renewed warfare. Alfred wants his son, Edward, to succeed him but there are other Saxon claimants to the throne as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Uhtred's loyalty -- and his vows -- were to Alfred, not to his son, and despite his long years of service to Alfred, he is still not committed to the Saxon cause. His own desire is to reclaim his long lost lands and castle to the north. But the challenge to him, as the king's warrior, is that he knows that he will either be the means of making Alfred's dream of a united and Christian England come to pass or be responsible for condemning it to oblivion. This novel is a dramatic story of the power of tribal commitment and the terrible difficulties of divided loyalties. This is the making of England magnificently brought to life by the master of historical fiction.
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Bernard Cornwell, as always, combines excellent descriptive writing with a plausible historical plot. The real and imagined characters pop off the page, and he draws a strong distinction between the good guys and the bad guys.
Oct 8, 2012
is this the end?
The book doesn't resolve with any kind of finality. Is this the last book? I think the series has gone on long enough.
Publishers Weekly, 2011-11-28 The sixth installment of Cornwell's Saxon series (after The Burning Land) returns to the days before there was an England-or an English sense of fair play-when Saxons, Danes, and Vikings, Christians and pagans alike, fought relentlessly and ruthlessly for control of Wessex. It's 898: ailing King Alfred, hoping to unify English-speaking Christians under one crown, asks loyal if stubbornly pagan Uhtred to make one last stab at peace. Armed with his trusty sword, Serpent-Breath, Uhtred bushwhacks, bedevils, and beats the living daylights out of scheming plotters, while Edward, "not quite the perfect heir," risks all for the love of a bishop's daughter. Ethelflaed, Edward's beloved sister and Uhtred's former lover, unwilling to be ruled by her husband, brother, or anyone, joins Uhtred in battle brought to bloody life by Cornwell, whose historian's understanding of military strategy blends well with a novelist's ability to envision weapons of the past and the ways in which they're wielded. Ninth-century combat lacks the grandeur of large armies, but Uhtred's cunning, courage, and a few acts of calculated cruelty make for a compelling read. Unfortunately for Edward, no skirmish proves decisive enough to unify England. Fortunately for Cornwell fans, that means more "tales of warriors and swords and shields and axes" to come. Agent: Toby Eady Associates. (Jan. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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