First comes Harald Bloodhair, a savage warrior leading a Viking horde, who is encouraged to cruelty by his woman, Skade. But Alfred still has the services of Uhtred, his unwilling warlord, who leads Harald into a trap and, at Farnham in Surrey, inflicts one of the greatest defeats the Vikings were ever to suffer.
This novel, the fifth in the magnificent series of England's history tells of the final assaults on Alfred's Wessex, that Wessex survived to become England is because men like Uhtred defeated an enemy feared throughout Christendom.
©2009 HarperCollins Publishers; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
I love this series, and this book is more of the same. I though the narrator was not quite as good as the narrator from the first books, Tom Sellwood, but never the less very good. I also thought this was going to be the final in the series, but there is still lots to come, so I will have to wait for the next one(s).
This is the second book I have enjoyed by Bernard Cornwell. The first I read , the Burning Land I listen to on my iPod. It was a great listen. Excellent narration by Stephen Perring. Very dramatic, fast, and characters easy identifiable. The brutality of that time well and truly realised. Superbly written.
I could not help but be disappointed with this audio book. The performance while OK, was no where near the quality of the first three unabridged books in this series. Also for some reason the place names have been replaced with the modern versions, so Lundene is read as London, to me this has detracted from the ambiance of the recording.
The story is every bit as good as the previous books, but the performance has let it down.
"Where is Jonathan Keeble?"
I have listen to this series of books from the start, one after the other and love the story so far. But I was shocked to find out they had changed the narrator. Which is like changing the main characters in a film half way through. Totally disappointed as love the way Jonathan Keeble portrayed the characters. I'm so disappointed I cant listen to it any more.
Got Jonathan Keeble to narrate it.
Dont change the narrator half way through a series.
This audiobook has horror, excitment, suspence and humour. Being a big fan of Bernard Cornwell's works this book has come up trumps again. I began by finding Uhtred quite loathsome, but ended up loving him. I would highly recommend this book to anyone whose not shy of some brilliant writing and story telling.
"Worth a Listen"
I quite liked the book was a little disappointed with the end I expected a better close to the story, but once I started listening couldn't stop.
I enjoyed the battle scenes only wished that some of the characters got killed of sooner as they really start to grate towards the end.
Another great book bring on the next one !
"Terrible choice of narrator"
Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles is an wonderful series of books featuring a great protagonist in the gruff and proud Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Bebbanburg! Not Bamburgh. Jonathan Keeble (whose narration had made the first four books of the series so dramatic and, at appropriate times, funny) has been replaced for this fifth book by a narrator who simply fails to recreate the wonderful world of Saxon England that I had come to love. Even the pronunciation of character and place names have been changed, and it seems a duller fictional world for it.
It's difficult to have a favourite character when the narration is so uninspiring.
Everything. I wouldn't go as far as calling this a "performance". Jonathan Keeble's in the first four books was a performance of epic proportions with characters that seemed as different and alive as if different actors were in the roles. This in comparison was a mere "reading" in which northern warlord Uthred was about as authentic as David Cameron.
Absolutely. Even better, though, is that the Chronicles is to be made into a TV series. Let's hope it's as good as Game of Thrones.
Perring was totally miscast on this one. Unfortunately I notice he's the narrator on the next in the series too. Such a disappointment as I'm totally locked into this series. Why do the producers make such terrible decision? If only they could re-record this with Jonathan Keeble I would be such a happy listener.
"Why change narrator? and why change place names???"
This needs to be done again with the original narrator... It is supposed to be an old man, telling the story of his life and such a young voice just does not cut it. In addition, he cannot read the place names correctly and it just changes the whole tone of the book. Really ruined what is another great story.So many of the hardened fighting characters just sound like teenagers, and there is barely any distinction between some characters.
As I mentioned earlier... his voice is too young and too gentle. There is little effort to depict the hardened men that the book is based around, it sounds like a teenage cast rather than a bunch of savage fighting men, overzealous religious figures and as for the king... And a real irritant is the change in the place names. You can also lose track of who is who as there is not much differenciation between many characters, no real attempt to use accents.
"Good .... but missing Jonathan Keeble"
As with every book in the Saxon Stories The Burning Land is an example of perfect historical fiction. I cannot find fault in Bernard Cornwell's writing, characterisations, plot or historical accuracy (though maybe I'm not looking hard enough). The first four books in this series were narrated by the brilliant Jonathan Keeble, whose voices for the many characters were expertly done and consistent. But for some reason, he is not the narrator of this fifth volume in the Saxon Stories, and looking ahead I see that he is not the narrator for the sixth, seventh or eighth volumes either. This is a shame, and while Stephen Perring is by no means a bad narrator, I miss Jonathan Keeble's gravelly tones and slight Yorkshire accent that made me believe he was speaking in the voice of a grizzled Northumbrian Saxon warlord. Also, I found that in this book, unlike in previous readings, towns, cities, rivers etc. are given their modern name instead of their Saxon name. Whereas in previous books we have heard about Bebbanburg, Lundene, Eoforwic and Wintancaestir, we now hear about Bamburgh, London, York and Winchester, which I felt detracted from the atmosphere of the story and ruined the illusion that I was listening to a real Saxon recounting his life story. However, the story is still brilliant, Uhtred is still as immoral as he ever was and just as likeable and I look forward to reading the next books in the series. Well worth a listen, but if you're used to Jonathan Keeble prepare for disappointment.
"Cornwell is a great writer"
This is another great book from Cornwell and you do not want to stop lissening.
The story just keeps you on the edge of your seat so keep them coming
"Excellent book, from Excellent series & well read"
Excellent book, from Excellent series & well read by Stephen Perring & it is unabridged so you get the full story.
Some of the Saxon Series are read by Michael Glover who reads them well but they are abridged! Why buy a book and throw away half the pages.
I do wish we could have a choice of the Full Book or Half a Book.
But this version is complete so buy it and enjoy.
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