• The Pale Horseman

  • The Saxon Chronicles, Book 2
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Jamie Glover
  • Length: 5 hrs and 33 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (593 ratings)

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The Pale Horseman  By  cover art

The Pale Horseman

By: Bernard Cornwell
Narrated by: Jamie Glover
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Publisher's summary

Uhtred is a Saxon, cheated of his inheritance and adrift in a world of fire, sword, and treachery. He has to make a choice: whether to fight for the Vikings, who raised him, or for King Alfred the Great of Wessex, who dislikes him.

In the late ninth century, Wessex is the last English kingdom. The rest have fallen to the Danish Vikings, a story told in The Last Kingdom, the New York Times best-selling novel in which Uhtred's tale began. Now the Vikings want to finish England. They assemble the Great Army, whose one ambition is to conquer Wessex. A dispossessed young nobleman married to a woman who hails from Wessex, Uhtred has little love for either, though for King Alfred he has none at all. Yet fate, as Uhtred learns, has its own imperatives, and when the Vikings attack out of a wintry darkness to shatter the last English kingdom, Uhtred finds himself at Alfred's side.

Bernard Cornwell's The Pale Horseman, like The Last Kingdom, is rooted in the real history of Anglo-Saxon England. It tells the astonishing and true story of how Alfred, forced to become a fugitive in a few square miles of swampland, fights his enemies against overwhelming odds. The king is a pious Christian while Uhtred is a pagan. Alfred is a sickly scholar while Uhtred is an arrogant warrior. Yet the two forge an uneasy alliance that will lead them out of the marshes to the stark hilltop where the last remaining Saxon army will fight for the very existence of England.

Ready for battle? Don't miss the rest of the Saxon Chronicles Series, including The Last Kingdom (Book 1), Lords of the North (Book 3), and Sword Song (Book 4).
©2006 Bernard Cornwell (P)2006 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.

Critic reviews

"Filled with bawdy humor, bloodlust, treachery, and valor, this stirring tale will leave readers eager for the next volume in this Alfred the Great series." ( Publishers Weekly)

What listeners say about The Pale Horseman

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Uhtred is the man!!!

Uhtred has made a name for himself and now he finds he has to pick a side..To fight with the warriors the Vikings? or should he fight with his people the SAXON and King Alfred?
Deep down he knows Alfred hates him but he is a Saxon, blood in and blood out he is a Saxon..Must read..

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Good Read

I enjoyed it. Just wished it was longer. Continuing woth this Series. i would recommended it.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Didn’t realize there was an abridged version

Audible could have made it clearer that there are abridged and unabridged versions. I would have chosen the other.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This a book for men.

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Cornwell has captured the essence of what it meant to be a proud Saxon under Alfred the Great! A thrilling tale of courage and honor. I love all the Saxon Chronicles.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

A thrilling tale of courage and honor.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

as good as the first

I liked this book as well as the first. Same great story, same great character and same writing. Again I am disappointed that this is an abridged book.

I like the narrator, who also narrated the first book.

Now on to book Three, "The Lords of the North", and this one is unabridged.

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7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A great series

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

I didn't realize I had gotten an abridged version until I was looking up a reference in the printed version - but I didn't miss any of the material that was not there. I think the abridgement really worked well and tightened up the story nicely. I really love this series and I'm looking forward to the rest. I feel like I've had a trip to the 9th century to meet the characters and watch the battles. I have loved almost all the books I've listened too and it is really hard to rate them but this book would definitely be near the top.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Pale Horseman?

The description of life in the swamp and the critical battle where the Saxons are outnumbered by the Danes was extremely intense.

What about Jamie Glover’s performance did you like?

He has a great voice and his enthusiasm for the material brings the story home.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I could hardly but it down. It felt like it was over too soon.

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Guilty Pleasure

As a 62-year-old woman, I suspect I am not the ideal audience for these books. However, I really enjoy them, with some caveats. They are solidly researched, with fascinating insights into a historical period that gets little popular attention -- 9th century Britain, when Britain was just starting to coalesce into the nations we know today. The cultural crosscurrents and conflicting loyalties that result are played out in the person of the hero, a guy who is a little bit Conan the Barbarian and a little bit wily Odysseus, drawn with red-blooded vigor and not a little humor. Some of the characters, and some of the plot turns, are comic book retreads, but many are quite deftly conceived, especially Alfred the Great, and Alfred's relationship to the hero. There is plenty of subtly-delivered information on daily life during this time (which I like very much) and vast oceans of blood and gore (which I don't, but I can accept that many do).

The reader of this volume is not my favorite -- every male character in the book is given a separate and distinct Scandinavian/British accent, which I'm not sure makes sense when no character, technically, is speaking any language modern listeners would recognize.

I am also puzzled why some books in this series are abridged and others are not. Especially since the abridged versions still seem to retain the vast oceans of blood and gore, rather than the details of daily life.

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12 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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