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Lords of the North (Saxon Chronicles #03)by Bernard Cornwell
Synopses & Reviews
From Bernard Cornwell, the undisputed master of historical fiction, hailed as "the direct heir to Patrick O'Brien" (The Economist), comes the third volume in the exhilarating Saxon Chronicles: the story of the birth of England as the Saxons struggle to repel the Danish invaders.
The year is 878, and as Lords of the North begins, the Saxons of Wessex, under King Alfred, have defeated the Danes to keep their kingdom free. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, helped Alfred win that victory, but now he is disgusted by Alfred's lack of generosity. Uhtred flees Wessex, going north to search for his stepsister, who was taken prisoner by Kjartan the Cruel, a Danish lord who lurks in the formidable stronghold of Dunholm.
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, Serpent-Breath, with which he has made a notable reputation as a warrior. He needs other partners if he is to attack Dunholm, and chooses Guthred, a seemingly deluded slave who believes he is a king. Together they cross the Pennines, where fanatical Christians and beleaguered Danes have formed a desperate alliance 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. It is Alfred who sees opportunity in Northumbria's chaos, and Alfred who looses Uhtred and his stepbrother, Ragnar, onto Dunholm, the invincible fortress on its great spur of rock.
A breathtaking adventure, Lords of the North is also the story of the creation of England, as the English and Danes fight against each other, but also find common cause and create a common language. In the end they will become one people, but as Uhtred will discover, their union is forged through the white heat of battle.
"Set in A.D. 878, Cornwell's splendid third Saxon novel (after The Pale Horseman and The Last Kingdom) chronicles the adventures of 21-year-old Saxon warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who believes 'my swords could win me the whole world.' Uhtred, who despite his Danish upbringing supported King Alfred of Wessex in the fight against the Danes in The Pale Horseman, helps free Guthred, an enslaved Dane, who proclaims himself king of Northumbria. 'Fate is inexorable,' Uhtred constantly bemoans as he attempts to destroy such enemies as Kjartan the Cruel, Sven the One-Eyed and lfric (Uhtred's thief of an uncle) and woos his beloved Gisela, Guthred's Valkyrie-like sister. Uhtred must overcome many challenges, notably King Guthred's shocking betrayal that leads to Uhtred's spending two years as a shipboard slave. Cornwell, best known for his Sharpe series (Sharpe's Battle, etc.), breathes life into ancient history with disarming ease, peppering it with humor and even innocence." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Once again, Cornwell proves himself a master of historical fiction, weaving a tale of bloodthirsty warfare, honor, and occasional unexpected moments of laugh-out-loud humor. With the cliffhanger ending, fans can expect yet another title in this wonderful series." Library Journal
"Blood, guts, history and horses from the expert. Excellent sport." Kirkus Reviews
"Of course, all plotlines lead to combat, and Cornwell does not disappoint....Shield walls are built, swords clash, and the stage is set for the next volume." Booklist
"[W]ildly exciting....In his usual non-pedantic manner, Cornwell also slips in historical tidbits on everything from trade routes to religious relics to the role of women in medieval Europe....But Cornwell keeps the pace crackling as Uhtred battles to find his place in a really tough world." USA Today
Lords of the North is Cornwell's third and most dramatic volume in the Saxon Chronicles. A breathtaking adventure, this is the story of the creation of modern England, as the English and the Danes become one people by sharing language and fighting side-by-side.
About the Author
Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed and bestselling Saxon Chronicles, which began with The Last Kingdom and continued with The Pale Horseman; the Richard Sharpe novels; the Grail Quest series; the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles; the Warlord Trilogy; and many other works of fiction, including Stonehenge and Gallows Thief. Raised in Britain, Cornwell now lives with his wife on Cape Cod.
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