After another year of waiting, finally the next book of Bernard Cornwell’s book series “The Saxon Stories” or “The Warrior Chronicles” was published. At least Bernard Cornwell is quite reliable when it comes to continuing this book series.. one seldom has to wait longer than one year for the next book. Anyways.. here’s my review.
A fragile peace is about to be broken…
King Alfred’s son Edward and formidable daughter, Æthelflæd, rule Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia. But all around the restless Northmen, eyeing the rich lands and wealthy churches, are mounting raids.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the kingdoms’ greatest warrior, controls northern Mercia from the strongly fortified city of Chester. But forces are rising up against him. Northmen allied to the Irish, led by the fierce warrior Ragnall Ivarson, are soon joined by the Northumbrians, and their strength could prove overwhelming. Despite the gathering threat, both Edward and Æthelflæd are reluctant to move out of the safety of their fortifications. But with Uhtred’s own daughter married to Ivarson’s brother, who can be trusted?
In the struggle between family and loyalty, between personal ambition and political commitment, there will be no easy path. But a man with a warrior’s courage may be able to find it. Such a man is Uhtred, and this may be his finest hour.
This book series has been one of my favorite book series ever since I read the very first book “The Last Kingdom”. Not all books of this series have been as good as the first one but this book, which is already book #9, is definitely one of the best.
As always it contains battles, strategies and a lot of action as well as the usual slightly funny scenes when it comes to clashes between christianity and paganism. The story is partly very thrilling, especially since Uhtred is growing older and he is once more facing a very strong enemy.
Apart from the usual scenes of war the reader can also observe the other side of Uhtred when it comes to his family. In these scenes even the tough Uhtred can appear vulnerable. But Uhtred is not the only who sometimes appears in a different light here, we also get to know more of Uhtred’s loyal friend Finan. Even though Finan has been at Uhtred’s side since book #3, we never really got to know his whole story why he never returned to Ireland. Well, this mystery will be solved here 🙂 .
Another strand of the plot I liked a lot were the parts referring back to Uhtred’s childhood. There are several scenes, for example when he and his army enter Cair Ligualid but also the fact that he meets his first lover Brida again. For those who used to like Brida in the first book this reencounter might be a slight shock. Anyone who has also read Bernad Cornwell’s “Warlord Chronicles” (I can really recommend this book series!) will find some parallels of the stories here.
Before I am telling you too many details that might spoil reading the story I will better stop here. I can really recommend this book and I am impatiently waiting for the next one. 😉