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The Flame Bearer (Saxon Tales) Hardcover – Deckle Edge, November 29, 2016
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“Another rollicking Saxon tale.... No lit-fic pretensions here: historical fiction rendered, with little expansion, via battles and royal intrigue and portraits of day-to-day life circa 1000 B.C.E.” (Kirkus)
“Vivid, fast-paced.... Treachery and trickery mark the tenth volume in Cornwell’s always exciting Saxon Tales.” (Library Journal)
“Rousing...will not disappoint.” (Margaret Flanagan, Booklist)
“The final battle is one for the ages, bursting with gory detail and flush with savage death as the wolves of the shield wall smite his enemies.” (Lee Scott, Florida Times-Union)
“As with all his previous books Cornwell grabs your attention right off the bat. His masterful style pulls you right in.” (New York Journal of Books)
“Fascinating.... Blends historic fact with fiction seamlessly.” (Glen Seeber, The Oklahoman)
“The battle description might well be Cornwell’s best yet, which is saying something. Fans do not want to miss this episode.” (Bookloons.com)
“Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testosterone-enriched historical fiction…. Cornwell offers dramatic battle scenes with big swinging swords. There is also treachery, male bonding, plenty of historical nuggets and a skillful examination of the powerful role played by religion in the Dark Ages.” (USA Today)
“The most prolific and successful historical novelist in the world today.... Mr. Cornwell writes as if he has been to ninth-century Wessex and back. . . . Much has changed since the ninth century, but some things, and some feelings, are timeless.” (Wall Street Journal)
“Our hero is Uhtred, a good-hearted lout with a pleasantly sour disposition; he’s like a 9th century Han Solo.” (Time)
From the Back Cover
From the day it was stolen from me I had dreamed of recapturing Bebbanburg. It was massive, it was built on the great rock that was almost an island, it could only be approached on land by a single narrow track, and it was mine.
Britain is in a state of uneasy peace. Northumbria’s Viking ruler, Sigtryggr, and Mercia’s Saxon queen, Æthelflaed, have agreed on a truce. And so England’s greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago—and which his scheming cousin still occupies.
But fate is inexorable, and the enemies Uhtred has made and the oaths he has sworn conspire to distract him from his dream of recapturing Bebbanburg. New enemies enter into the fight for England’s kingdoms: the redoubtable Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south. Britain’s precarious peace threatens to turn into a war of annihilation.
But Uhtred is determined that nothing, neither the new enemies nor the old foes who combine against him, will keep him from his birthright. He is the Lord of Bebbanburg, but he will need all the skills he has learned over a lifetime of war to make his dream come true.
The latest chapter in Bernard Cornwell’s “violent, absorbing historical saga,” The Flame Bearer confirms his title as “perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today” (Washington Post).
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You will find yourself cheering on Uhtred in political machinations just as much as you have is his battle fury and sword skill. My test for if a book like this is well written is if when reading I am drawn into the various scenes and experience them as if I am there. Bernard Cornwells does this form me and I look forward to reading more of this series in the future.
I strongly recommend starting with the first book in the series and reading them in order, though I suppose this novel would be effective as a stand alone. You'd just miss so much if you didn't read them all, and while this book is very good, the earlier books in the series are even better.
Contains graphic violence.
The travails of Uhtred hold your attention. I've wiped away a tear at the deaths of Ragnar, Uhtred's infant son, Uhtred, Iseult and Gisela. I've laughed out loud at the crazy insults traded between various characters and exulted in each and every hard fought victory.
Read the entire saga--you'll be ever so glad you did.