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The Burning Land Hardcover – Jan 19 2010

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harpercollins (Jan. 19 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060888741
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060888749
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 3 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 567 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #302,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


“Cornwell, a master of martial fiction, makes history come alive with his rousing battlefield scenes.” (Margaret Flanagan, Booklist)

“Cornwell (Agincourt) has been described as a master of historical fiction, but that may be an understatement. Cornwell makes his subject material come alive. Better, his major protagonist is totally believable and human.” (Robert Conroy, Library Journal)

“Slathered in blood and gore, Saxon warlord Uhtred of Bebbanburg hacks his way through the ninth century in the exciting fifth installment to bestseller Cornwell’s Saxon Tales series. . . . Vivid descriptions of merciless battlefield slaughter, rape, and destruction are artfully related by a masterful storyteller.” (Publishers Weekly)

From the Back Cover

In a clash of heroes, the kingdom is born.

At the end of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in ill health; his heir, an untested youth. His enemy, the Danes, having failed to conquer Wessex, now see their chance for victory. Led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair, the Viking hordes attack. But Uhtred, Alfred's reluctant warlord, proves his worth, outwitting Harald and handing the Vikings one of their greatest defeats.

For Uhtred, the sweetness of victory is soon overshadowed by tragedy. Breaking with Alfred, he joins the Vikings, swearing never again to serve the Saxon king. Instead, he will reclaim his ancestral fortress on the Northumbrian coast. Allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—he aims to invade and conquer Wessex itself.

Yet fate has different plans. The Danes of East Anglia and the Vikings of Northumbria are plotting the conquest of all Britain. When Alfred's daughter pleads with Uhtred for help, he cannot refuse her request. In a desperate gamble, he takes command of a demoralized Mercian army, leading them in an unforgettable battle on a blood-soaked field beside the Thames.

In The Burning Land, Bernard Cornwell, "the reigning king of historical fiction" (USA Today), delivers a rousing saga of Anglo-Saxon England—an irresistible new chapter in his thrilling Saxon Tales, the epic story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith on March 25 2010
Format: Paperback
Alfred of Wessex has won many victories but now, in the last years of the 9th century, he is in failing health. These are dangerous times: Alfred's likely successor is an untested youth, and the Vikings who have failed so many times to conquer Wessex seize the opportunity to attack.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg, Alfred's unwilling warlord, leads the enemy into a trap at Farnham, and inflicts one of the greatest defeats the Vikings have ever suffered. Uhtred is caught in the conflict caused by his oath to the Christian King Alfred, which he feels obliged to honour, and his own pagan beliefs. However, after the victory at Farnham, Uhtred is tested both through personal tragedy and an attack by some of Alfred's henchmen who are jealous of his standing and offended by his foreignness. This causes Uhtred to break with Alfred and to travel north where he hopes to recover his ancestral home, Bebbanburg, from his uncle.

The fates intervene, as they so often do, and Alfred's daughter Aethelflaed is able to induce Uhtred to return south to take control of the Mercian army for another desperate battle with the Vikings.

This is the fifth book in the Saxon Tales. While Uhtred is the central character, Mr Cornwell has peopled this novel with characters that bring the conflicts of the times to life. The series depicts both the conflicts between the Saxons and the Vikings and the conflicts between Christians and pagans. The tale may be Uhtred's, but the story is of England in the making. I am looking forward to the sixth novel: I'm hoping that at some stage Uhtred will recover Bebbanburg.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on Feb. 22 2010
Format: Paperback
I love historical novels, so I enjoy very much this little known period described in Bernard Cornwells' Series called "the Saxon Stories". Very well researched and so well written, you can almost feel yourself there and visualize the landscape and the people living more than 1000 years ago.It brings me to the eager read of the books of Alexander Dumas, the same energy eventhough Cornwell is much more gory and less romantic.I like the description of battles and the roughness of the people and the way he describes the religion(s) of the time.
Hope the next book or books in the series will not lose the same quality; provide the same amount of historical knowledge, being fun to read without being boring.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I like the voice of the writing and the point of view of a man of intelligent action. When this tale of politics and war in tenth century Britain unfolds, we see the kind of real world detail and worry over supply lines and money for the campaign.

We see dynastic considerations and the fragile nature of alliances based on a life that is all too often frail and unreliable.

Our heroes are not stupid men and women, they each have intelligence behind their decisions and actions.

It gives a good view into an ancient time where the difficulties of campaigning are the same as now.
Where do we get the supplies? The cash? The trained men to do what needs doing before the other guys are ready? Whose strategic vision is going to prevail?

Good stuff but not as compelling as some of the earlier ones in this mini series. But worth the read.
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Format: Paperback
The story starts in now predictable fashion. Uhtred helps the English to another astonishing victory over the Vikings, then gets into trouble and has to run. He abandons Alfred, who is nearly dead but not yet. Then he gets sucked back in, inevitably. Uhtred's significance in the scheme of things is starting to seem a little stretched. He plays a major role in every significant victory, blah, blah. And now he's in a romantic relationship with the king's daughter. Ha ha. It's all leading towards the finale where he finally gets to capture his fortress from his wicked uncle in some future book. It will probably be anticlimactic but I will probably read it. Because it's still entertaining, just not as much as it used to be.
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