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Publisher's Summary

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, warrior by instinct, Viking by nature, has finally settled down. He has land, a wife, and two children, and a duty given to him by King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But then trouble stirs: a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have arrived to occupy the decayed Roman city of London. Their dream is to conquer Wessex, and to do it they need Uhtred's help.

Alfred has other ideas. He wants Uhtred to expel the Viking raiders from London. Uhtred must weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning tide of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles. And other storm clouds are gathering: Aetheleflaed, Alfred's daughter, is newly married, but by a cruel twist of fate, her very existence now threatens Alfred's kingdom. It is Uhtred, half Saxon, half Dane, whose uncertain loyalties must now decide England's future.

A gripping story of love, deceit, and violence, Sword Song is set in an England of tremendous turmoil and strife - yet one galvanized by the hope that Alfred may prove an enduring force. Uhtred, his lord of war and greatest warrior, has become his sword: a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain.

Ready for battle? Don't miss the rest of the Saxon Chronicles Series, including The Last Kingdom (Book 1), The Pale Horseman (Book 2), and Lords of the North (Book 3).

©2008 Bernard Cornwell; (P)2008 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
  • Kent
  • tampa, FL, USA
  • 02-15-08

Wait for the Unabridged version

I've read every bit of Cornwell that I can lay my hands on and have been waiting months for Sword Song to become available in the US. I didn't even think to look and missed the fact that this was the abridged version. What a disappointment to wizz through this in just a few hours and know that the entire time you are missing the real meat of the story. I'll be buying the unabridged version when it becomes available. I'd advise waiting until then to spend your time and money on this one.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Wait for the unabridged version

The flavor of the book was lost in the abridgement. The story is cut to the battle scenes, good stuff -- but not enough. Wait for the unabridged version.
The reading performance was excellent. The story great. I just missed the sauce that goes with the meat. Oh, and the abridged version is edited down from the unabridged version. You can hear audio glitches where the butchery was performed.

13 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Chip
  • Miami Shores, FL, United States
  • 02-12-08

Abridged too short

This was such a GREAT BOOK! In this continuation of the Saxon Chronicles, Uhtred must deal with his egomaniacal cousin, while keeping the sanguine Alfred content. In the process there are marvelous battles and intrigues. About the only complaint I could muster was that the abridged version was TOO SHORT! I would very much like to have listened to the entire novel.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Abridged Books Should be OUTLAWED

It's so unfortunate that all five books in this series are not available in unabridged format. Book 4 follows the main character UTRED through more battles including the ultimate defense of Lundin (London) in the times of Alfred the Great, whom he is betrothed to serve.

While the story is very good, as are all the stories in this Bernard Cornwell series (The Saxon Series), this one, like all abridged audiobooks, is choppy and lacks the flow and feel that his unabridged books maintain. I can't believe or understand how or why these publishing companies release abridged versions of these books - especially when the author and series are so well established.


Anyway, I give it 4-stars simply because it's part of a great series. Audible, please pass on our demand for the UNABRIDGED audiobook!!

I hope Cornwell continues this series!! This and the Nathaniel Starbuck, American Civil War, series are by far my favorites. I heard he didn't want to continue Starbuck as he is similar to his Sharp character and series. I am surprised people like the Sharp character and series more than these two. I find these two far better than the Sharp series. I guess its the English versus American taste difference at work.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Susan
  • Southlake, TX, United States
  • 02-27-08


Fantastic book! This series is amazing. Bernard Cornwell writes the 4th in th series and it is the best of his historically-based Viking saga. Jamie Glover truly makes the characters come alive.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Another Great

I could not stop listening to the first three books in this series, and went into this with high expectations. I was not disappointed. If you liked the early books, you will like this one. Sure, nothing of real consequence happens, but it is a great story.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Jean
  • Santa Cruz, CA, United States
  • 01-11-10

Sord Song

I found this story quite interesting as I know little of English history of this period. Cornwell's battle scene are super, he places you right into the battle. The description of the country side, cities and the smells bring the story to life. Look forward to more books by him. The reader was great.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Richard
  • Boston, MA, United States
  • 11-27-09

Great listen

If Jamie Glover read the unabridged...I would listen to it again...Good stuff...Glover is top notch and Cornwell is fun to listen to...with a good reader effortlessly saying the tongue twister names.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Don't abridge!

First, i want to say that i love this series and this writer...that said i ask why, with all the drivel available in historical fiction, why do you only offer abridged versions of so many books by a truly great writer? This book was barely started and it was over. I've read several of Bernard Cornwall's titles, and I know they can't be abridged without losing important pieces of the backstory. Now I'm going to have to go buy the hard copy so I can fill in what I missed.

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  • Hunter
  • Huntsville, AL, United States
  • 09-30-13

Short and full of battle!!

Out of all four books this ranks number four not the best but still good.Uhtred is back at it again!!! King Alfred ask Uhtred to take the oath again and be at his side!! Uhtred is tested by King,daughter and by his people "both sides" in the end he does what he knows best,he kills everybody!!!!! Because that is what the best Warrior does he fights and lets his sword do the talking...