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Publisher's Summary

From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times best-selling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today", comes a saga of blood, rage, fidelity, and betrayal. In the ninth and 10th centuries, King Alfred and his heirs fought to secure the survival of the last outpost of Anglo-Saxon culture by battling the ferocious Vikings, whose invading warriors had already captured and occupied three of England's four kingdoms.
In AD 866, Uhtred, a boy of 10 and the son of a nobleman, is captured in the same battle that leaves his father dead. His captor is the Earl Ragnar, a Danish chieftain, who raises the boy as his own, teaching him the Viking ways of war. As a young man expected to partake in raids and bloody massacres of the English, he grapples with divided loyalties, torn between Ragnar, the warrior he loves like a father, and Alfred, whose piety and introspection leave him cold. It takes a terrible slaughter and the unexpected joys of marriage for Uhtred to discover his true allegiance, and to rise to his greatest challenge.
Ready for battle? Don't miss the rest of the Saxon Chronicles Series, including The Pale Horseman (Book 2), Lords of the North (Book 3), and Sword Song (Book 4).
©2005 Bernard Cornwell (P)2005 2005 HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"A solid adventure by a crackling good storyteller." ( Publishers Weekly)
"Cornwell deserves praise for his mesmerizing narrative finesse and his authentic historical detailing....[An] irresistible epic adventure." ( Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Stephen on 04-04-05

Great Historical Fiction!

Cornwell writes exceedingly well. His historical novels are, usually, excellent and compelling with well-drawn heroes and dastardly villains. Cornwell's narrative style is often gripping and heavily laced with known historical nuances. Simply put, Cornwell combines imaginative storytelling with historical detail that "sells" the story in such a way that it often proves difficult to separate actual fact from fancy, which can be great fun. Never a disappointment, Cornwell deftly creates a backstory which often facilitates an intensely immersive listening experience. In addition, Cornwell's "Grail" series featuring 3 parts which includes (in order) "The Archer's Tale" "Vagabond" and "Heretic" are triumphant examples of historical narrative with superb adventure storytelling and sympathetic characters engaged in great struggles of class, character and conscience. Sometimes "dry" on-paper, Cornwell is a magnificent "listen!"

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By cjwheeler on 05-17-08

really enjoyed

I read a couple of Bernard Cornwell books many years ago, and as I remember I thought they were alright. I listened to the A.Conan Doyle "The White Company" last month and I really liked it, so I wanted to find another book like it and this is want I came up with.

I liked this book almost as much and have already downloaded the next in the series, the pale horseman. It really moves and is action packed. It is very discriptive of the battle scenes. I also like the main character Uhtred, very no-nonsence, tough, smart and a little bit lucky.

I usually only listen to unabridged versions but there is no option on the first two books in this series. That is probably why the story goes so quickly, I can't help but think that I'm really missing a lot of the story

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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