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.
©2011 Bernard Cornwall (P)2011 Harper Collins
Bernard Cornwell's "Saxon Stories" series if fantastic. I love it.
I found this audiobook version of Death of Kings however to be extremely irritating. The reason for this was not for the actual voicing of the narrattion itself, but rather the creative licence the narrator took with character and place names. Bebbanburg became "Bamburgh", Lundane became "London". We all know that these are the modern names for these locations, but the narrators job is to read what the author has put on the page, not to add his own interpretation of what he thinks will suit the story. I especially found myself cringing every time the Perring said the name "Yoo-tred" (Uhtred).
Had it not been for this minor issue I would have awarded Death of Kings with the usual Bernard Cornwell 5 star review, and if you can get past the narration issues the book is as entertaining as always.
"History in the making!"
Bernard Cornwall has a wonderful gift of making history come alive. I was gripped looking up maps and references to find out more about the period. This is what makes good historical fiction - the whole period from big facts to small details comes alive.
Stephen Perring is an excellent narrator, contributing to making the story leap from the page. I am now very much more interested in this historical period.
This is better than the printed version of the book in many ways, except for the pronunciation of some of the place names. In the previous books in the serious this has been spot on, but this book fails in numerous places, leaving the listener frustrated and repeating them correctly out loud. For example, Beamfleot is being pronounced Benfleet, Lundene as London and most annoyingly Bebbanburg as Bamborough! I am not quite sure why this has been done, perhaps dumbing it down for a wider audience?
Thoroughly enjoy Bernard Cornwells books and this one is no exception. It gives a real feel for the period. This kind of book, in my opinion, is one of the best ways to fire the imagination and encourage people to learn more about our rich and colourful history.
"History well told"
All of the books in this series are fantastic to listen to. Well written, well read and enthralling.
"Another Chapter in the Saxon Chronicles"
I was excited to see that Bernard Cornwell had published another book in his series of Saxon Chronicles.
I love 'em..... including this latest addition.
If you like history, action, adventure and a book you can't put down, you must read this series of books!
"Death of Kings"
Another rip roaring tale from the Alfred's Wessex. Well plotted story with lots of twists and turns. It is full of authentic detail. Once again, Cornwell lets his anti-Christian prejudice show as he casts most priests as villians. However, it is the Thor worshipping Uthred who wants to kill the twin babies of Edward.
"A fairly average installment to the series"
I'm afraid I didn't enjoy the narrator as much as Jonathan Keeble who did the first few books. The narrator has a similar tone throughout the whole story and it's difficult to differentiate the characters.
The story continues with Saxons versus Danes, seeing Uhtred in trials and glory
"As always brilliant story"
This series is completely captivating. It abounds with historical context and fact, rich well drawn characters which leap from the 'page' and a great mix of action and description of what life must have been like in 899AD.
The narration whilst fluent lacks the grit and characterisation of the narrator of the first four books so earns less of a rating. However having said that the story really wins through.
The whole series is a must of anyone into historical / military fiction with an action bent. I am completely hooked and wondering what I will do when the series runs out (gulp!).
"Strong story by the master"
A very listenable and fast moving story in typical Bernard Cornwall fashion. But make sure you read them in order. This is the second.
"Another great listen from Bernard Cornwell"
Cornwell writes of powerful, bloody men and vivid battles. You can feel the final breath and spatter of the vanquished and stand in the shield wall alongside the mighty Uthred. Who would not want to be at his side?
"fantastic book, well read."
This whole series is great, Uhtred is a fantastic character and this book is read particularly well.
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