Reviews for Pagan Lord


Booklist Reviews 2013 December #2
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. Copyright 2013 Booklist Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2014 January #1
The death of Alfred the Great leaves what we know as England up for grabs, and Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Death of Kings, 2012, etc.) is caught in the middle of it all. Connoisseurs of conflict can start with the hero's name, which he's done his best to pass on. When the son he's named Uhtred converts to Christianity and becomes a priest, Uhtred dubs him Father Judas and declares that his youngest son, Osbert, is Uhtred instead. Nor is Uhtred widely considered to be lord of Bebbanburg, a northern stronghold his uncle Uhtred (hmm) has seized and plans to pass on to his own Uhtred. Unable to stomach King Alfred's successor, Æthelred of Mercia, whose estranged wife he's in love with, cursed by Bishop Wulfheard after he accidentally kills old Abbot Wihtred, and burned out of his holdings outside Cirrenceastre in modern Gloucestershire by the warlord Cnut Ranulfson, Uhtred would seem to have no direction if Cnut, upon returning Sigunn, the woman of Uhtred's he'd carried off, had not asked him to find Cnut's own abducted wife and son. Instead of searching for them, Uhtred, who's never happy unless he's fighting or scheming, sails off to Bebbanburg with the remainder of his followers in a bold gamble to surprise his usurping uncle and seize his castle. When his plan doesn't go quite as he'd intended, Uhtred is left to journey west to Ceaster, where he'll find Cnut's missing wife and child and prepare to come face to face with the fearsome warlord one last time. As in a summer movie, the big set pieces are more impressive than the realistically meandering odyssey that threads them together. The most consistent motif is Uhtred's undying and principled hostility to "the nailed god" of Christianity and the threat he represents to the warrior code Uhtred so perfectly embodies. Copyright Kirkus 2013 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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Publishers Weekly Reviews 2014 January #1

In Cornwall's (1356) latest, 10th century Britain is a splintered land, populated by pagans and Christians and divided between Saxons and Danes. The pagan Uhtred, once favored by Alfred the Great, finds himself distrusted by Alfred's successor, Edward, and at odds with the Christians. Made an outlaw by an ill-considered violent act, he heads north to recapture his old home, the fortress of Bebbanburg; though his grand scheme is less bold than foolhardy. It sets Uhtred on the path to play a crucial role in the coming war between Cnut's Danes and Edward's Saxons. For Uhtred the stakes are personal glory and vengeance against those who wronged him, but the fate of Britain itself hangs on the unforeseeable consequences of his actions. Cornwall successfully brings an unjustly obscure era in British history to life, showing how grand events can be shaped by what are essentially petty motivations. Cornwall skillfully illuminates the competing cultures of the 10th Century; 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. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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Publishers Weekly Annex Reviews

In Cornwall's (1356) latest, 10th century Britain is a splintered land, populated by pagans and Christians and divided between Saxons and Danes. The pagan Uhtred, once favored by Alfred the Great, finds himself distrusted by Alfred's successor, Edward, and at odds with the Christians. Made an outlaw by an ill-considered violent act, he heads north to recapture his old home, the fortress of Bebbanburg; though his grand scheme is less bold than foolhardy. It sets Uhtred on the path to play a crucial role in the coming war between Cnut's Danes and Edward's Saxons. For Uhtred the stakes are personal glory and vengeance against those who wronged him, but the fate of Britain itself hangs on the unforeseeable consequences of his actions. Cornwall successfully brings an unjustly obscure era in British history to life, showing how grand events can be shaped by what are essentially petty motivations. Cornwall skillfully illuminates the competing cultures of the 10th Century; 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. (Jan.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2013 PWxyz LLC

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