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Publisher's Summary

In the last years of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in failing health, and his heir is an untested youth. The Danes, who have failed so many times to conquer Wessex, smell opportunity....

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Narrator change sucks

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Perring?

Jonathan Keeble

Any additional comments?

Changing the narrator for this series was a mistake. Stephen Perring changes the pronunciation of characters and locations throughout the book.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great story, poor narration

The story is on par with the earlier books in the series - compelling, gripping, in a word, excellent. The narration, however, is much worse than that of Jonathan Keeble's in the first four books. It's not just the much poorer ability to "act" the characters, it's also the amazing difference in pronouncing names.
I don't know who evaluates who should narrate what, but the difference is appalling. Stephen Perring detracts from the story, while Keeble made it much more compelling, added value to it. What a shame.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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At first irritating with different narrator, but..

At first mr. Perrings narration really bothered me, after listening to the first four books, narrated by the brilliant mr. Keeble. But after awhile you start to really appreciate mr. Perrings storytelling performance and can't stop listening.

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NO! Stephen Perring

I really do not understand why Audible will have a best seller in The Last Kingdom and narrated by Jonathan Keeble then half way through the series change narrator to Stephen Perring.

Apologies Stephen but you should never have taken on this book. Not only does the pronunciations of the names change but the whole story feels foreign. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is the "War Lord" but now with Stephen Perring he sounds like a 14 year old boy with nothing in it to make him the "Lord" Jonathan Keeble has grown him to be.

I had to backtrack a couple of times to understand when Stephen pronounced Gisela and Finan..

No No No, I will stop after struggling through the first chapter of "The Burning Land" and have the enjoyment of the first 3 books to fall back to.

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Shame about the narration

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Perring?

Jonathon Keeble

Any additional comments?

These books are terrific. The story-telling and characterization are highly entertaining. But, I have to agree with everyone else that the change of narrator is very disappointing. Jonathon Keeble brought these characters to life in a way that Stephen Perring can't. It isn't just that the readers are used to Jonathon Keeble's narration style, although that's true and should be reason enough for the sake of honoring the audience. Jonathon Keeble has clearly also put a lot of effort into the characterization, and the overall tone - another narrator might be able to copy much of that, with some effort, although that clearly was not the case. But the main issue is that Jonathon Keeble has a way of delivering his narration that probably not everyone can replicate. His delivery is roughly spoken in a way that we can believe might have been how Saxons and Danes could have sounded. Stephen Perring is probably a lovely fella - that's the thing, he sounds too 'nice' and it detracts from the storytelling.

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Good book

As usual, this book was great; a shame they changed voice actors for this book

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Stephen Perring gives a terrible narration

What did you love best about The Burning Land?

Great book that continue the fascinating story of England in the 9th century

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Perring?

Jonathan Keeble was an amazing narrator. His voicing, delivery and accents was a work of art in the previous books. Peering has terrible delivery, virtualyl no charge in voicing between characters, changes the pronunciation of place names and characters.

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Shame about the narrator change

How did the narrator detract from the book?

Stephen Perring is not a bad narrator. In a contemporary novel, or something about a high-born English nobility type, his voice would probably seem very fitting. Compared to Jonathan Keeble's performance, where each character's personality was defined by their own unique voice as much through the narrator as by the author, Perring's performance just seemed pale and lifeless. Still an interesting continuation of the series. Don't be put off reading it.

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  • Stephen
  • Newark, NJ, United States
  • 08-18-16

The narrator is fine … really.

Any additional comments?

I was turned off by the comments about the narrator and so left the series aside for about three months until I said the hell with it, I want to know what happens next and bit the bullet. And this narrator is fine. He's got a an appropriate English accent and with his telling the story just flowed (with lots and lots of blood). Don't be dissuaded. The narration and the story are fine.

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Please bring back Johnathan Keeble

What didn’t you like about Stephen Perring’s performance?

There are 4 excellently narrated books in this series - plenty of opportunity for Stephen Perring to understand the character and place names established by the original narrator Johnathan Keeble. It is extremely disruptive to change narrators in the middle of a series. If it is unavoidable - not clear in this instance - then the LEAST the narrator and publisher should do is make the transition as smooth as possible. Stephen Perring made NO effort to ensure consistency of the pronunciation of character and place names. This is extremely irritating and very disappointing. It doesn't take much to do a little homework. Please take more care. This is a great series. I was planning to listen to all of it. Now I am not so sure. I see that there is another transition ahead to yet another narrator. Can I bear to listen to 12 more hours of Stephen Perring? We'll see.

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  • AdeG
  • 10-10-14

Where is Jonathan Keeble?

Where does The Burning Land rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

How could the performance have been better?

Got Jonathan Keeble to narrate it.

Any additional comments?

Dont change the narrator half way through a series.

49 of 49 people found this review helpful

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 01-21-15

Change of narrator

After 4 books with the same narrator, you get used to the accents and pronunciation of names and you are familiar with the characters. Suddenly on Book 5 there's a new Uhtred, with new companions with different accents! Very disconcerting.

38 of 38 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • David
  • 03-20-12

Disappointing

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.

38 of 38 people found this review helpful

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  • Nick
  • 01-06-15

Lack of consistency

If you could sum up The Burning Land in three words, what would they be?

Few would believe it to be acceptable for a tv series to change the voices of all of the central characters, so why do it here. This is a great book and a good continuation to the warrior chronicles story. However, it is let down by a lack of consistency both with accents and pronunciation. Jonathan Keeble did a superb job of bringing the characters to life in the first 4 books and I would have loved to have seen him narrate the entire series. I am sure there are all kinds of reasons why Stephen Perring was asked to narrate this book which, if the change in performer was unavoidable, then it is what it is. I would have expected Stephen Perring to listen to at least one of the previous books and attempt to remain consistent in terms of pronunciation and accent delegation. Uhtred had a great northern accent which really suited the character, be prepared, he is now a well spoken southern Englishman! Also you will not find a Danish accent in this book, Ragnor the younger is now a Northerner! Unfortunately the lack of consistency in performance has really taken some of the depth from the book. Also expect unexplained place name changes, Bebbenburg is no more! I can't understand why this has happened and why it has gone unexplained. If Cornwell has written this into the story then I am surprised he chose not to explain the change in place names. All of that said, please please persevere because you do get used to the change eventually and the Warrior Chronicles remains a great series.

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Stephen Perring?

Jonathon Keeble

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicholas
  • 12-11-14

Why change narrator? and why change place names???

What would have made The Burning Land better?

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.

What didn’t you like about Stephen Perring’s performance?

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.

26 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr S M Blezard
  • 08-03-15

Change in narrator was disappointing

Great continuation of the story but the change in narrators was jarring - very different accents and pronunciations... Shifting from Saxon to modern day town names etc. With Jonathan Keeble it felt like I was listening to someone narrate their life... With Stephen Perring it felt like I was hearing someone read a book to me. Shame.

20 of 20 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr C J Rutter
  • 12-09-15

Narrator makes this difficult

Any additional comments?

Not usally one for caring about the narrator but I found it more difficult to track which character was speaking with this narrator, as he seemed to read most character's with very similar voices. He also uses english accents for Danish characters, which I found distracting.

17 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • bill swift
  • 10-26-15

Disappointing narration.

While I've nothing against the narrator of this story particularly.
The changes in accents and pronunciations from the previous four seriously ruined my enjoyment.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Rory
  • 11-20-15

Narrator

Much prefer the guy who narrated the previous books in the series. This fella is too soft spoken for me many times I nearly turn it off coz it just doesn't fit . Need a gritty voice for this I think, but that being said still love the books and keep em coming!

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • karen bewick
  • 03-30-15

Series ruined by change in narrator

Would you try another book written by Bernard Cornwell or narrated by Stephen Perring?

I have been following this series from the beginning and raced through the titles narrated by the excellent Jonathan Keeble. I have to say he is the best narrator of all titles I have listened to - really great accent range and gives the characters a strong identity. So what the hell happened to put a new, totally accent inappropriate narrator on this book? Does Audible not care about continuity and user experience? I am hugely dissapointed and wont continue with the series. Given this also happened on other series I have listened to I am considering quitting Audible altogether. When you read a book you form the characters in your mind and someone cannot then come along and destroy this half way through. I suggest you find audio publishers that can offer committed narrators before accepting customer money. I am very cross and very dissapointed.

What didn’t you like about Stephen Perring’s performance?

See above. Why did he narrate a Northumbrian/Danish character with a soft RP accent? Where is the quality control at Audible?

You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

The book is great but I will stick to reading from now on.

Any additional comments?

Recomission the original narrator to finish the series unless he is physically unable.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Thomas
  • 06-05-17

Bring back Jonathan Keeble

Is there anything you would change about this book?

The narration of this great story is what lets it down. The earlier books had the amazing performances of Jonathan Keeble, who breathed life into the stories and was an absolute pleasure to listen too. Unfortunately, Stephen Perring's rendition doesn't measure up at all. Of particular annoyance is the inconsistency in pronunciation of names and places; most notably Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Stephen's voice is soft and the accent haughty. It lacks the passion found in the earlier books.

Would you be willing to try another one of Stephen Perring’s performances?

I believe I have to in order to finish the Last Kindom/Saxon Stories series.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-26-16

Gods save us from inconsistent narrators

Great story, woeful narration. If I wasn't so interested in the story would have quit.

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  • Michael Parakh
  • 09-28-16

Bring back Jonathan Keeble.

It's a great story but the narrator doesn't do it justice. Bring back Jonathan Keeble.