“Bernard Cornwell-who “is at his enthralling best conveying . . . one of the defining periods of English history” (Wall Street Journal)-returns to his epic Saxon Tales saga with this dramatic story of divided loyalties, bloody battles, and the struggle to unite Britain
At the onset of the tenth century, England is in turmoil. Alfred the Great is dead and Edward his son reigns as king. Wessex survives but peace cannot hold: the Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will never rest until the emerald crown is theirs.
Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favor with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, that great Northumbrian fortress, Bebbanburg.
Loyalties will be divided and men will fall, as every Saxon kingdom is drawn into the bloodiest battle yet with the Danes; a war which will decide the fate of every king, and the entire English nation.
With The Pagan Lord, New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell-“the reigning king of historical fiction” (USA Today)-continues his magnificent epic of the making of England during the Middle Ages, vividly bringing to life the uneasy alliances, bloody battles, and deadly intrigue that gave birth to the British nation.”
-Taken from Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17853024-the-pagan-lord)
To those that know me, it’s no secret that Bernard Cornwell is my very favorite author. I have over 40 of his books on my shelves, and I absolutely love his heroes, particularly Derfel and Richard Sharpe. Whenever he releases a new book, I read it without even reading the synopsis. To those that are not familiar with his writing, he writes historical fiction.
This particular series focuses on the making of England, a tale that involves Danes and Saxons, and a narrator that is sort of stuck between both worlds. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a Saxon raised by Danes, and he is now fighting for the Saxons. He has not given up on his dream of retaking the fortress of Bebbanburg, but, as Cornwell likes to say, that’s a tale for another book.
As much as I love Cornwell’ books, this was not his best. I just wasn’t as entertained as I use to be by his other books. Maybe it’s because it is such a long series, and it feels as if it’s not going anywhere. I do have to say at this point that I’m not British, and though I have lived for a year in England, I don’t know anything about the Danish invasion of the isle. Therefore, I don’t know the actual historical facts that led to the unification of England, which, in turn, means that I have no clue about how long Uhtred still has to fight for England.
Besides, Finan’s wit was not as sharp as in the previous books, and I missed that. Furthermore, at points, I was a bit confused by all the names and places (again, I’m not British, so I have no clue about where such and such citis/towns/villages are). The book did pick up toward the end, when finally the facts made sense. And, as usual in Cornwell’s book, we were entreated to a big battle scene (no big spoiler there, right?).
I’m definitely going to read the next book in the series, as I’m loyal like that. Just kidding, I’m going to read it because I really think that The Pagan Lord was more of a ‘transition book’, and therefore, I expect something big (either England or Bebbanburg) to happen in the next book.
Rating: 4 out of 5