From Publishers Weekly
Cornwell's fourth entry in the popular Saxon Tales (following Lords of the North
) is a rousing romp through the celebrated ninth-century reign of Alfred the Great. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a 28-year-old pagan Saxon lord of war, has pledged to serve Alfred by commanding the defensive frontier forts (burhs
). Trouble arises when the Norse Viking brothers Sigefrid and Erik Thurgilson capture and occupy London, threatening Alfred's border and his control of the Thames River port. The Christian Alfred directs Uhtred to raise a Wessex army, expel the pagan Thurgilsons and resecure London. Commanding Uhtred is his vain, abusive cousin Ethelred, who is married to Alfred's eldest daughter, Ethelflaed. Plying his swords Serpent-Breath and Wasp-Sting, Uhtred is a stirring, larger-than-life action hero conflicted by ambition, fidelity and thirst for violence. All the major characters are well drawn, and the London battle scenes unfold quickly and vividly. A deft mix of historical details and customs authenticates the saga. And Cornwell drops in a slick twist precipitating the climatic battle to wrest control of London for the Saxons, paving the way for the story to continue. (Jan.)
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Praise for 'The Lords of the North': 'Beautifully crafted story-telling, complete with splendid set-piece battles and relentless derring-do, so gripping that it rarely stops to catch a breath. It demonstrates once again Cornwell's enormous skill as a historical narrator. He would have graced Alfred's court entertaining the guests with his stories.' Daily Mail 'Cornwell takes the spectres of ninth century history and puts flesh back on their bones. Here is Alfred's world restored -- impeccably researched and illuminated with the colour and passion of a master storyteller.' Justin Pollard, author of 'Alfred the Great' Praise for Bernard Cornwell: 'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail 'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer