The fate of a new nation rests in the hands of a reluctant warrior in this thrilling sixth volume in the acclaimed New York Times best-selling Saxon Tales series.
As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his dream of a unified England in danger and his kingdom on the brink of chaos. While his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne - as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north.
Uhtred, the Saxon-born, Viking-raised warrior, whose life seems to shadow the making of England itself, is torn between his vows to Alfred and his desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands and castle in the north. As the king’s warrior, he is duty-bound, but Alfred’s reign is nearing its end, and Uhtred has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Despite his long years of service, Uhtred is still loath to commit to the old king’s Saxon cause of a united and Christian England. Now he must make a momentous decision, one that will forever transform his life... and the course of history: take up arms - and Alfred’s mantle - or lay down his sword and allow the dream of a unified kingdom to fall into oblivion.
©2011 Bernard Cornwell (P)2011 HarperCollinsPublishers
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This story takes place in 899 A.D. with the death of King Alfred. King Alfred is credited with uniting the Kingdoms of England to throw out the Danes. Cornwell is so good at verbally painting a picture of the countryside and the people one feels as if one's been transported there. Looking at the role of the church in today's society and what control the church had over peoples lives for good and bad in 899AD could be a good thesis for a student. The last half of the book builds into the battle between the Danes and Edward 1(Alfred's son) to control England. Cornwell is the master of writing battle scenes. He puts one right into the action, I can smell and hear the battle. I can feel the emotions and see the swords and axes flying. (I don't need a movie, it is in my head). I think Cornwell is one of the best historical novelist today. He makes history so exciting the learn about.
If you haven't listened to earlier books in this series you may not be disappointed withis one however I hated the narration. Almost no distinction in voice for each character, seemed very dull in comparison to earlier books in the series naration and I hated the way the old English town names had been changed to modern. I found it hard to listen to since I love the author and all I could do was think about how I hated the naration and unnecessary changes. And to top it off the historical notes at the end of the book were missed.
The best parts of these books are Bernard Cornwell's fabulous one liner wit and also the description of the battle scenes are very vivid.
Horrible horrible horrible - nuff said !
Mainly disappointment due to the naration differences from the earlier series books. Difficult to follow the story with such monotone reading and I wanted to scream every time Uhtred came from Bamburgh and not Bebbanburg
Why the changes. I was so excited to see the book in Audible, I can't say I regret buying it since I love the series so much but was left feeling cheated, what a shame.
Love the story, but the pacing of this reader is off. I prefer earlier performers who growled out the story with a rhythm and tenor of a man believable as the main character, Uthred.
More volumes please.
Uthred. To listen to stories.
Overall I enjoyed this book although it was not up to the high standards of Cornwell's other offerings in this series. Uhtred is still blood thirsty, violent and still loves the shield wall. I would recommend this series to anyone interested in good historical action.
The narration by Stephen Perring wasn’t horrible, it was just okay (at best). After some time I even grew used to it, but the way in which he pronounced certain places and names was more than a little off-putting. I much preferred the previous renditions in the series by Jamie Glover.
Uhtread is back! Always a great story!
Clearly he did not listen to the previous books, or study up on pronunciation. IIt was SO distracting to hear him pronounce it You-tread, of Bambray, not Utread of Bebenbergh. The pronunciation was so distracting that I got lost several times in the story, because I was trying to figure out which character or location he was describing. Perring has a great voice, but after listening to the deep, sonorous voices of previous narrators, I didn't connect this narrator to my image of the main character.
Bernard Cornwell didn't fail. As always, this one takes you where nobody else could. My beef though is with the narration. Not with the narrator himself, who did quite a good job except for the fact that he says "Yuhtred" instead of the John Lee popularized "Ootred." My gripe is with the changing of place names. Cornwell uses the ancient names of English places/cities, but the narration chose to use the modern ones. I do not see any logical reasoning behind the change except that perhaps it affords easy pronunciation or that readers would have an immediate knowledge where the action is taking place. However, it is almost sacrilege to the author's research and effort. It also takes a huge chunk of the historical experience, what with ancient Saxons and Danes saying "London" instead of "Lundene." Hence the two-star performance.
Love listening to books.
The details by Cornwell are always phenomenal. However, the story just feels like more of the same. Uthred is once again manipulated (weakly) into doing the kings bidding while all his advisers say he is not trustworthy. Same basic plot complications.
Not at all.
I thought the characters were well done.
Sadly no. I really wish I could say otherwise, but I had to push my way to the end, just to discover all my predictions from very early on were on target. I don't like stories that I know the majority of the story - including the ending - in the first third of the book.
Absolutely, this series is amazing. I can't wait to read the next book as well as his other series.
The culmination before the ending.
I think Stephen Perring did excellent if I had listened to this book individually and not listened to all of the other books. The same reader read the first few books and they have had different readers for the last couple. Stephen's probably fell in the middle of the readers. I understand that it must be difficult to keep the reader consistent; however, I think the new reader should at least listen to one or two of the other books so that the pronunciations stay the same. In this book the characters names (including the city the main character is from) and several of the city names had different pronunciations.
I'm Robert's wife, a retired physician and homeschool mom whose grown kids now love history, literature, sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction
Eagerly awaited and not disappointing. The narrator was great, and the story picked up and carried our favorite characters as well as the history forward. A definite five-star all around.
I would reccommend this to any thinking person with a mind for literary excellence and adventure as I have with the other stories in the series.
I would actually compare it to nothing. In it's genre (if it can be fit into a genre) it has no peer.
I was most fascinated with the battle scene at the ditch. It was graphic and riveting. My heart was beating rapidly. I wanted to stand with Uhtred and fight the Danes myself.
I would take Uhtred to dinner, as long as he doesn;t toss a leg of mutton at a foppish waiter.
No livimg person entertwines fact, fiction, history and character development better than Bernard Cornwell. John Grisham writes in the present and Patrick O'Brian was his peer,In today's world Cornwell stands alone.
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