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The Flame Bearer (Saxon Tales) Paperback – October 31, 2017
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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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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 other person who does it again is Uhtred, who demonstrates a masterful head for strategy, feints, and plots within plots. The warrior is still there, but he has seasoned and we see more of the tactician, the discoverer of ruses, the chess master. It is not overdone, but a natural evolution of Uhtred's extensive experience with Saxon and Danish schemers.
As always, not every goal is achieved... but Uhtred again keeps us up late at night turning pages. Let's hope BC lives a long, long time.
My only criticism is: how does someone write this many books and not know hen to break a paragraphs. With all due respect, how does an author write so many wonderful books. Without learning about paragraphs? I'm always afraid that I will die of old eefore I reach the paragraph. No points off, but probably should have been.
Cornwell is my favorite author bar none. This one seems to drag a little in places, although it may be because I'm getting a little burned out on Uhtred, the main character in the Saxon Tales series. That said, you will be hard pressed to find a better writer than Cornwell. He could write a book about a coconut floating in the ocean and it would be a good story and very well written.
There are many authors out there that have a story to tell but their writing is pathetically bad. Now, if you haven't read any books that are truly well written, you may think those poorly written stories are okay but once you've read something by a master like Bernard Cornwell, you will be unable to stand the junk writers ever again.
In my opinion, Cornwell is the best writer of historical fiction alive today.