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Sword of Kings: A Novel

Saxon Tales, Book 12
Series: The Last Kingdom Series, Book 12
Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
5 out of 5 stars (198 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The 12th installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times best-selling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England - "superior entertainment that is both engaging and enlightening” (Washington Post), and the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit Netflix series.

It is a time of political turmoil once more as the fading King Edward begins to lose control over his successors and their supporters. There are two potential heirs - possibly more - and doubt over whether the once separate states of Wessex and Mercia will hold together. Despite attempts at pulling him into the political fray, Uhtred of Bebbanburg cares solely about his beloved Northumbria and its continuing independence from southern control.

But an oath is a strong, almost sacred commitment and such a promise had been exchanged between Uhtred and Aethelstan, his onetime companion in arms and now a potential king. Uhtred was tempted to ignore the demands of the oath and stay in his northern fastness, leaving the quarrelling Anglo-Saxons to sort out their own issues. But an attack on him by a leading supporter of one of the candidates and an unexpected appeal for help from another, drives Uhtred with a small band of warriors south, into the battle for kingship - and England’s fate. 

©2019 Bernard Cornwell (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

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  • Overall
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Cornwell still the Lord of his genre

Cornwell shows once again his mastery of historical fiction. Plus he demonstrates supremely capable narration skill. This is another tightly- woven adventure with Mary a full moment. His unsurpassed artistry in dialogue, character and scene description, storytelling and action flow are on full display. I read (really devour) historical fiction and have done so for the past 40 years. Cornwell still represents the gold standard. Many emulate him but none has reached the high bar he has set. I have yet to be disappointed in one of his works and I can say that about no current author writing in his genre. And when I say his genre, I mean HIS genre because he owns it, at least the choicest part of it. I had better stop now, lest my effusiveness serve to embarrass me.

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Cornwell Is At The Top Of His Game

Cornwell shines best with his series books, and Uhtred appears to be his favorite. This episode has all the elements I have previously loved with an interesting plot line that doesn’t disappoint. Our hero is getting older, but not necessarily wiser in avoiding trouble. As usual, he finds a way to overcome his own mistakes and overwhelming odds to muddle through to an acceptable conclusion which resolves the immediate crisis, while leaving more trouble on the horizon. The author’s notes at the end on facts vs fiction in the book are a nice bonus. Read and enjoy!

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The Saxon Tales - Sword of Kings...

An exceptional continuation of Uhtred's of Bebanburg's saga. I am eager for the next book!

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Outstanding!! The Saga Continues!!!

The Saga Continues!!! Bernard Cornwell has not lost a beat with "Sword of Kings"!! It was a wonderful way to continue the "Lost Kingdom" tale. I am so glad that Uthred survives his most recent adventure and lives to be heard of again. Excellent presentation by Matt Bates who in my opinion is the best of the Saxon Chronicle Narrators!! Outstanding!!

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a little slow

I've read this series twice and have enjoyed it immensely. This is the only book in it that I have not awarded 5 stars.

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Still excellent

This book does not disappoint. The story of Uthred and his times continues to be an excellent listen, thanks to the great storytelling of Bernard Cornwell and readin by Matt Bates.

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Another wonderful Saxon novel

Enjoy them all, and a delightful novel to listen to on my morning walks. Excellent narrator.

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wyrd bith ful araed

Bernard Cornwell yet again proves to be one of the most exciting novelist of his time. He skillfully weaves history, legend, myth and fiction into a breathtaking tale of Lord Uthred of Bebbenburg and gives us a colorful glimpse into the history of Saxon England. I can't wait to meet my friend Uthred in the next novel.