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

4.6 out of 5 stars 920 customer reviews
Book 7 of 8 in the Warrior Chronicles Series

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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 (920 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,429 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By JPS TOP 500 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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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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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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If you loved Bernard Cornwell's other books in this series, you will probably like this one just fine. So why the 3 star rating you ask!

If you love his books (as I do) You are almost certainly going to down-vote my review, I just ask you to hear me out before you do.

Look, I like these books. They are fun to read. This is a fine, rip-roaring page turner. Uthred is back with the usual suspects in fine style. Several new or minor characters are introduced or fleshed out. Uthred fights new battles....against insurmountable odds. He defeats his enemies through an unbelievable amount of guile, intelligence, personality, courage, military strategy, recklessness, psychology, and luck. He is often saved by luck. Often in the nick of time, luck comes to the rescue. Did I mention, Uthread's uncanny luck?

If you want a 5 star review from me you better provide more than a page turner. I want character development. I want philosophical dilemmas. I want action. I want a good story. I want characters I care about. In short, I want closer to what Bernard Cornwell gave us in his first several books in this series.

Uthread is a smart man with an abundance of understanding of both military strategy and psychology. Given the way he out-thinks both his enemies and his allies alike, Uthred must be the smartest man alive in Saxon England around the turn of the millennium.

In the early books in this series, Uthred was a complex character torn between his early Saxon roots, his Pagan, Danish upbringing, and the Saxon entanglements he found himself ensnared in as he tried to assert his destiny as lord of Bebbanburg. But as the series has progressed - dare I say aged - it has fallen into (or should I say back on??
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