Uhtred arrives in the north to discover rebellion, chaos, and fear. His only ally is Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling, and his best hope is his sword. Needing other allies, he chooses Guthred, a seemingly deluded slave who believes he is a king. Together they cross the Pennines to where a desperate alliance of fanatical Christians and beleaguered Danes form a new army to confront the terrible Viking lords who rule Northumbria. Instead of victory, Uhtred finds betrayal. But he also discovers love and redemption as he is forced to turn once again to his reluctant ally, Alfred the Great.
A breathtaking adventure, Lords of the North is also the story of the creation of modern England, as the English and Danes gradually become one people, adopting each other's languages and fighting side by side.
©2007 by Bernard Cornwell; (P)2007 HarperCollins Publishers
"Cornwell...breathes life into ancient history with disarming ease, peppering it with humor and even innocence." (Publishers Weekly)
This is one of the best adventure/historical fiction novels I have come across. A reputation shared by many of Mr. Cornwell's stories.
In addition, the reading is second to none. I can not emphasize this enough. The reader is 100% spot on for the characters, and particularly the main character. There are always those who will criticize accents, but for the average listener, they reflect the characters and a pleasure to listen to.
I see the reader (his name escapes me now) has very few credits to his name. I can only hope that the rest of this series goes to audiobook (Unabridged, do you hear me! Unabridged) with him at the microphone. I will buy every one.
I listen to audio books to be entertained or to get through books I have a hard time reading but still want to know about them.
This series is all about entertainment. I enjoyed the first two books although they only came as abridged. The difference between the two is a couple (8hrs) more hours of entertainment.
Same good story, Same great charactor and all the same action and adventure as the first two. Also I have enjoyed the same reader through all the books and he does a very good job.
I am not an avid 'reviewer of books' on audible.com. I do listen to about 4-6 books / month though and this is the first that i have found worthy of giving praise. the author is fantastic, describing in great detail of the time period and culture while still delivering a spectacular plot line.
Furthermore, the narrator is perfectly cut out for the part giving the book unexpected zeal.
By far my favorite on audible.
The reader does an exceptional job delineating characters through vocal inflection. There is also a coarseness to his voice and accent that adds a great deal to the story-telling.
If you haven't ever read Bernard Cornwell, this series is an excellent way to get introduced to a fabulous writer, historian, and story-teller.
In the past I've avoided books with battle scenes because I get lost in the minutia. Cornwell has a way of drawing you an in and imparting important story information while describing the battle. The nearest I can come to comparing his writing style is by comparing him to Louis L'Amour. They both incorporate historical fact and details into their fictional characters and stories.
The story is exciting and engaging, but it is the narrator's ability to use accents and intonations to distinguish the characters, and to call up an illusion of time and place that makes this stand out from other genre historical novels.
I wish the rest of the saga was available unabridged and done this well.
My son and I have enjoyed listening to all of the Saxon Chronicle Adventures the unabridged are the best. I found this is a great way to explore history and spend great fun quality time with my twelve year old son , we listen to the story ,get absorbed into the characters and research the real life exploits of that period on the internet .This whole series series is great !
From Austen to zombies!
This is the first book of Lords of the North that I've listened to because the first two are available only in the abridged format (Are you listening, Audible? Abridged is yuck!).
I enjoyed the detail of Cornwell's Agincourt, so I was expecting more of the same for this book, set in my favorite period of British history. I wasn't expecting Lords of the North to be at all humorous, but I was pleasantly surprised. Uhtred is disappointed in Alfred the Great's lack of generosity--Uhtred helped Alfred drive back the invading Danes, but because he was pagan, Uhtred was rewarded only by being made the lord of Five Hides, an estate of questionable value and little prestige.
He leaves Five Hides to take back Bebbanburgh castle, rightfully his, from his uncle. "And that was when the stupidity began," he says early on. He gets into one crazy mess after another, throwing his lot in with the deluded slave/king Guthred and a band of religious fanatics--that doesn't turn out well, and the craziness keeps on coming.
Uhtred is looking back on his life through this volume, and as he laughs at the stupidity of his younger self, we laugh with him. This isn't a strictly comic novel, however--we get plenty of political plotting and a great deal of fighting (some of which is quite violent and might be a turn-off for some readers). I also got all the historic detail I was hoping for.
I see that some other reviewers aren't happy with the narrator. If I'd started with book one and a different narrator, I might feel the same way, but as it is I think Tom Sellwood was a great choice. His Northumbrian accent is spot on (enough so that it might be an issue for readers not used to northern British accents). But the best part is that he's actually acting--I really got a sense of Uhtred being an older man looking back on the follies of his youth.
Overall, highly recommended for readers who like battles, adventure, and even a few laughs.
I admit to being a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell. I have thorougly enjoyed every one of his books and they translate extremely well to the audible format. While it would be difficult for any series to displace his Authur trilogy as my all time favorite, this one comes close. Sadly that series is not available her but I purchased the unabridged cds some time ago and I return to it regualarly. This series is indeed a close second. If you are looking for well reseached, exciting historical fiction with sypathetic characters in interesting situations, look no further. My only regret is that the first two books of this series are only available in abridged form. Cornwell is meant to be enjoyed in full unabridged splender, which makes this last book a treat.
I also found the reading excellent. The abridged reader is a tough act to follow but once I recovered from the initial shock of the change, I was completely satisfied. I look forward to his addition to the other abridged versions (a not so small hit). Listen to this one and enjoy.
Cornwell does it again. The Saxon Stories are a great addition to his long list of masterpieces. As usual, he pulls no punches. This is gritty, bloody reality in 9th century England. You will not be disappointed.
This is the first Cornwell book I've listened to. I loved books 1 and 2 in print. Tom Sellwood's narration is incredibly well done. The accents he uses really bring life to the characters. My only disappointments were to learn that book 4 is not on Audible and that Tom Sellwood is not narrating any other books in the series.
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