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The Pagan Lord: A Novel (Saxon Tales) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, January 7, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Uhtred of Bebbanburg rides into battle once again in the seventh installment of Cornwell’s stellar Saxon Tales series. This time it is a decidedly older but no less ferocious Uhtred who, after the death of King Alfred, is determined to reclaim his birthright—the Northumbrian fortress of Bebbanburg—once and for all. Of course, this being the tangled tale of the bloody birth of England, nothing is as straightforward as that. The Danes (who incidentally raised the Saxon-born Uhtred) are poised and ready to expand their territory in the north, threatening the sanctity and safety of all the Saxon kingdoms. Although on the outs with the Saxon kings and Christian priests currently wielding the real power, a warrior as cunning and as skillful as Uhtred is always in demand when the Vikings come to call. Cornwell excels at depicting gloriously gory battle scenes as well as the inherent religious, political, and martial conflicts upon which a great nation was born. --Margaret Flanagan

Review

“A violent, absorbing historical saga, deeply researched and thoroughly imagined.” (Washington Post)

“Cornwell successfully brings an unjustly obscure era in British history to life….The conflict between Dane and Saxon is examined with sympathy and insight-without projecting 21st century values onto cultures now alien to us. In the course of this, he shows how historical novels should be written.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Cornwell, a master of historical fiction, has written another energetic and involving mix of history and storytelling that will please his many fans….A sweeping story.” (Library Journal)

“Cornwell does a masterful job of showing not only how Uhtred fights, but also in how he uses his wits to backstab, threaten, bluff, and maneuver his way into a position where he’s able to fight with the best possible odds.” (Bookreporter.com)

“Plunges the reader into the world of the past, with all of its cruelties, nonexistent plumbing and deplorable personal grooming....Cornwell is a master at writing these historical novels, and The Pagan Lord as usual, is no exception.” (The Oklahoman)

“Uhtred of Bebbanburg rides into battle once again in the seventh installment of Cornwell’s stellar Saxon Tales series….Cornwell excels at depicting gloriously gory battle scenes as well as the inherent religious, political, and martial conflicts upon which a great nation was born.” (Booklist)

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Product Details

  • Series: Saxon Tales (Book 7)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061969702
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061969706
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (811 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #78,880 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

131 of 136 people found the following review helpful By JPS TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 6, 2013
Format: Audible Audio Edition
This is instalment seven of the Warrior Chronicles set in the time of King Alfred and his successors, with Uthred, the pagan warlord brought up by the Danes, still fighting on the side of the Saxons, although getting a bit long in the tooth. Unsurprisingly, a number of reviewers who (just like myself) have read through the whole series over the years might have a sense a "déjà vu", to the extent that some might be getting a bit tired with having similar scenes played over and over again. These include the hero getting himself into trouble by murdering and terrorising overbearing churchmen, throwing his weight around, rushing around the country waving his sword and saving the Saxons almost on his own. If the book was limited to this, then indeed I would share their feelings. But there is, at least for me, far more to it than that...

As mentioned in the title of this review, the book is a thundering good yarn, regardless of whether you have read the previous ones in the series (although it is preferable to do so). It was, at least for me, hugely entertaining. It is one of these books that you can't drop until you have reached the last page and I admit to spending most of Saturday reading it from cover to cover non-stop. Hence you get comments from some other reviewers about the book being shorter than others, perhaps, and shorter than they would have wished, quite certainly. This, in itself, makes the book well worth reading. It is a first class swashbuckler adventure story, fast-paced and with lots of "blood and thunder". In this respect, Bernard Cornwell is true to form.

Then there is the historical context, and the painting of what was shortly to become "England". Here also, the author has been true to form, meaning excellent.
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41 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Susan Johnson VINE VOICE on November 1, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Uhtred is one of my favorite characters and I have liked all the book in the series. My favorite is the first one as it was the most exciting. England, as we know it, was down to a piece of swapland in the 900's and Uhtred, almost single-handledly, wins the kingdom back for Alfred. Even so I have enjoyed the progression of Uhtred and continue to do so in this one even though it's very short (296 pages and some of them blanks).

Uhtred is a man of contrasts. Although he was born Saxon, he was raised by the invading Danes. A follower of Thor who fights for the Christian King, Alfred, who is now dead. His loyalty and lust has been given to Alred's daughter, Aethelflaed. Christianity is spreading rapidly throughout the kingdom and Uhtred, as a grouchy 50 year old, doesn't understand it. Personally, I don't either as Thor, as Uhtred envisions him, seems like a fun god. In Valhalla there is plenty of feasting and partying and good times.

Uhtred is still trying to get his birthright, Bebbanburg, returned to him. The Danes are trying to take over more territory and the Christian priests again try to exile Uhtred so there is plenty of fighting going on. I love the descriptions of the shield wall and the battle scenes are very realistic. I can almost imagine being there.

So even if Uhtred is getting long in tooth and has very few battles ahead of him, I still enjoy spending time with him. He is a man who knows who he is and is comfortable in his own skin. He lives and fights under his own rules and keeps a honorable standard of conduct. He doesn't believe in killing women and children. He dislikes most priests and wants to die with a sword in his hand. It's not often you meet a man who knows exactly what he wants. Uhtred is one and, I think, that's why I enjoy him so much.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful By RCF_NZ on October 5, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I understand a comment comparing this work to earlier work in Cornwell's career, however I would say he may have adjusted his style slightly for this series, and not dropped his standards at all.

This book is exactly what I would assume the author intended it to be, a continuation of the series, written in the same style, featuring the same uncompromising Uhtred, facing the same issues. Exactly what I wanted it to be.

For me the story grips as much as it always has. Excellent story, brilliantly paced. 5 stars.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Archie Mercer VINE VOICE on December 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I've only read a couple of Bernard Cornwell's books having only been introduced to his efforts relatively recently with his American Revolutionary tale The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War, I so enjoyed that book that I then read 1356: A Novel, which I also enjoyed but maybe not quite as much. So when I saw his latest effort of "THE PAGAN LORD" I grabbed it without realizing it was the seventh in a series. As always Cornwell has written a story that is historically accurate to it's period with characters so wonderfully developed that it now presents me a problem. I have to go back and start at the beginning of the series, The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles Series #1).

Although I can definitely see how reading the first six books will help this is a book that also stands on it's own even if you are unfamiliar with the series. The main character Uthred is a brutish man which one would expect in 9th/10th century. Unhappy that his heir has become a priest Uthred kills an Abbott causing him and his loyal followers to be banished. He attempts to regain his fortress in the north only to be rebuffed but then discovers a more dangerous situation about to unfold. The book does get a wee bit gory especially at the end but again, what would you expect from a tale based in the 9th/10th century?

Cornwell has this ability to really capture his subject in vivid descriptions. Although so far my favorite of his is still The Fort, once I go back and start the series from the beginning that could change. Highly recommended.
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