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Death of Kings, Bernard Cornwell

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Posts: 1462
Joined: August 2008
Interest in HF: I love history, but it's boring in school. Historical fiction brings it alive for me.
Preferred HF: Iron-Age Britain, Roman Britain, Medieval Britain
Location: New Orleans

Death of Kings, Bernard Cornwell

Post by Rowan » Tue October 23rd, 2012, 3:17 pm

As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his lifelong goal of a unified England in peril, his kingdom on the brink of chaos. Though his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne—as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Torn between his vows to Alfred and the desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands in the north, Uhtred, Saxon-born and Viking-raised, remains the king's warrior but has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Now he must make a momentous decision that will forever transform his life and the course of history: to take up arms—and Alfred's mantle—or lay down his sword and let his liege's dream of a unified kingdom die along with him.
I have to admit that this latest addition to the beloved Saxon series doesn't live up to the usual excitement of the previous books. There's no huge battle. Only the "battle" at the end comes even close to what I'm used to from this series. Alfred, of course, dies and Edward is just as wishy-washy about the Danes as his father. I'm sorry but if I were Uhtred I'd have bailed, commitment or no. lol As I said, there are no major battles (see previous statement about Edward's wishy-washiness) so for me the whole story was a bit lacklustre. And now Cornwell seems to be stretching things out. I'd definitely like to read about Uhtred reclaiming his home, but getting there seems to be a dragging affair. 3/5 stars

Janet K L Seal
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Joined: December 2012

Post by Janet K L Seal » Fri October 4th, 2013, 3:11 pm

As you say, this book did not seem to move Uhtred's quest any closer to fruition. He apparently still longs to reclaim his family lands but the rewards he has so far received from the King do not give him the wherewithal to fund an army.
The first year of Edward's reign was taken up with chasing his uncle to Wimborne in Dorset and then doing battle with the Danes to whom Prince Aethelwold had fled. I am not sure I would describe the young King's actions as wishywashy but certainly Uhtred does not seem to be involved in the usual exciting missions portrayed in the previous books.
Hopefully the final? book will set out how the hero is restored to his inheritance and the punishment meted out to the uncle who stole his birthright.

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