Sunday, 13 November 2011

HISTORICAL FICTION REVIEW: The Saxon Chronicles 6: The Death of Kings - Bernard Cornwell

Release Date: 29/09/11


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.


Every year there are highlights that I look forward to from the publisher catalogues and for me, one of them is the new Bernard Cornwell which not only entertains but keeps me glued from the first page to the last. Whilst the last release, The Fort, fell a little flat for fans, the new title in the Uhtred series puts Bernard back to the top of his game as the failing health of the King of Wessex leads to opportunities for not only the Danes but also the discontent who’ve been beneath Alfred’s yoke for years.

It’s got action, it’s got great drama and above all else the aging Uhtred demonstrates that he’s still one of the kingdoms most feared warriors as he fights as his oaths demand. Finally add to the mix fast pace as well as some cracking prose and I was a very happy reader. Cracking.

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