Bernard Cornwell continues his epic tale with Uhtred of Bebbanburg. After helping Alfred reclaim Wessex in The Pale Horesman, Uhtred is given a small land holding. Taking offense with the meager reward, Uhtred buries his wealth and heads north to reclaim his ancestral home.
Along the way, he unwittingly frees a slave that has been picked to become the king of Northumbria. Uhtred sees Guthrum as his means to recapturing his own homeland, so they set off together to reclaim Northumbria from the Danes.
What follows is a rousing tale of revenge, treachery and redemption. Uhtred comes so close to seeing his dreams realized, only to find himself in worse trouble than he could have imagined. Rescued by Alfred, whom he hates, he once again finds himself sworn to him.
The action in the book doesn’t waver from the previous tale. Great fight scenes, interesting characters, and changing allegiances kept me intrigued throughout. Cornwell treats us once again with a historical note about the characters, what they really did, and which ones were made up. He also reveals that he is descended from a family with the name Uhtred who ruled in Bebbanburg. I thought that was an interesting aside to what continues to be a great series.
3 star – see the book rating explanation here
Adjusted Rating: 3 stars