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.
©2010 Bernard Cornwell (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers
I have enjoyed this series so much that I have even bought the books directly from England and had them shipped to me so I wouldn't have to wait for the next installment! Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a wonderful, rough and rowdy character to view these tales through. These books have also drawn me to research the history that they are based on. I must say, I'm impressed with the quality of the historical accuracy and the overall texture of the stories.
Trust me, if you like history in the slightest you will be engrossed in the writings of Bernard Cornwell. This books is yet another spectacular example of his fine skills as a storyteller.
I have waited a long time to get this book and it was excellent. This series is quite addictive as I now have my wife reading them. This book kept me on the edge the entire time! However there was a narrator change between the last two and some of the names are pronounced differently but the story itself is wonderful and I cant wait to read/listen to the next one!
I am addicted to audio books, and have listened to hundreds of them. Cornwell is one of the very best writers of historical fiction. This book is full of action, with vivid descriptions of battles, a solid story line, and well-developed characters. I was entertained throughout the entire book. Narration was excellent. Cornwell has the ability to make me feel like i'm back in time. He has a unique way of helping the reader understand everyday life, in the 800's, in the context of action and intrigue. It never drags. This book, like AGINCOURT, is an excellent book, and the narration is so good that I would recommend the audible version over print. I highly recommend this book.
I am an avid eclectic reader.
Historical novels stand of fall on detail. Cornwell writes as if he has been to the 9th century Wessex. Each of his battles poses different tactical questions and different answers. His accounts of the fire and slaughter, and of Viking methods of extorting money, would seem gruesomely exaggerated if they weren’t so often based on old legends or confirmed by archaeology. “Saxon Tale’s series is about the battle for supremacy between the Saxon and the Danes in 9th century Britain. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a fictional character is the star of the series and battles for Alfred the Great of Wessex to unify Britain. The book is written in Uhtred’s voice as he looks back on an exciting life. Historically Cornwell’s, major contribution is to tell the story of Ethelflaed, an actual heroine forgotten by most scholars. She is the daughter of Alfred married to the leader of Mercia. She became known as “Lady of the Mercian’s.” Cornwell is adept at enveloping his fictional character into British history. His use of geography, instruments of battle, strategy and ancient vocabulary is faultless. Cornwell is the master of battle scenes. Bernard Cornwell is probably the best historical novelist writing today. This series is about the battle to unify Britain by the Saxons. This is a great way to learn some British history. I greatly enjoyed the great baritone voice of John Lee, who did an excellent job narrating the story.
The Burning Land is another episode in the life of Uhtred from the Saxon Chronicles, in my personal opinion I much prefer the narration by John Lee than that of Jamie Glover who narrated the 4 books of the Saxon Chronicle. His accents are very good and he manages to convey the right sense of occasion in his delivery. As always Bernard Cornwell's descriptive writing style makes it so easy to imagine the scene as it is described, all in all a compelling read with good pace and a reasonable plot.
While "The Archer's Tale" Grailquest series remains my favorite Cornwell series with "The Warlord Chronicles" a close second, this series is terrific; be ready for great writing, historical detail and lots of way-too-real battle scenes.
The only problem with listening to Cornwell rather than reading him, is that I lack the maps I rely on to situate myself...had to stop here and there and google some medieval maps.
I had gotten used to Tom Sellwood as Uhtred's voice in the first 4 but soon got comfortable with and then liked John Lee very much as narrator. I am anxiously waiting for book 6 which Cornwell made clear is on it's way.
You really must read them all in order. I can't imagine jumping into this series at book 5....
I love all of these books! This is a great continuation of the story of Uthred. I do miss the previous narrator. It was hard to get used to the different style of reading. Once I got used to the new narrator I was able to enjoy the story. Overall I loved it!
This is a fun book and well read. It isn't great literature, but its entertaining and gives some history of the times of King Alfred.
I have been thoroughly enjoying the Saxon Chronicles, but as the books progress, Cornwell's anti-christian bias is getting a bit tiresome (even for historical fiction). I'm sure this comes from his adoptive parents belonging to some strange sect of Puritanism. His version of the early christian church in England would have one believe that 99.9% of the clergy were nothing but greedy, cowardly, power hungry fools. As a student of history he certainly knows better than that.
In any case, I still love the story but can't give it more than 3 stars.
This is a good story well narrated by the same person, John Lee, that narrated Pillars of the Earth. This book is not as good as Pillars but no book is. I still gave it five stars because I listened to it all night and did not sleep at all. I usually drift off after an hour or so but this story interested me. A lot like Agincourt with much fighting, blood and gore. Of course religion is causing war and misery in the tenth century, just like today. Women aren't treated kindly either, but I don't believe this book is targeting women. All in all I believe it is worth a credit to the gladiator crowd.
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