The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell

Reviewed by Brittany Morgan

Uhtred is back with vengeance. Out of favor the Saxon monarchy, Uhtred sees no other option but to recapture his birthright territory, Bebbanburg, with a limited crew of fellow outcasts. After King Alfred’s death, his son Edward takes the throne as king of Wessex. Years of peace soon come to an end as the Danes, under Cnut Longsword’s leadership; plan to invade the Saxon territories. Uhterd learns of Cnut’s plans yet the Saxons are uneasy to trust him. Men live and die, loyalties are challenged but one thing remains constant in the Saxon Stories Series: fate is inexorable.

The Pagan Lord is the seventh installment in Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Stories Series and is easily one of the best. The detail that readers have grown accustomed to of 10th century England is top notch and expertly researched. There is the perfect combination of war, love and treachery to keep the reader’s interest. A cornerstone of Conrwell’s writing in the series is the funny insults meaning to scorn the opposition. Some of my favorite include the words: fart, stench and one or two expletives.

I really enjoyed following Uhtred throughout his life to experience the various joys and heartbreaks – and unfortunately – defeats alongside him. Even in his hold old age Uhtred is as fierce as ever and still has a few tricks up his sleeve to help persuade the Saxons to believe his tale.

Some of the favorite parts of the novel were the battle scenes, especially towards the end. I find it interesting to see how militarily the world has evolved from shied walls and swords to tanks and automatic guns. The detail that Cornwell uses to describe these scenes is unparalleled. I truly feel as if I am standing with my shield next to Uhtred preparing for battle.

With a conclusion that leaves nothing to be desired, fans are eagerly awaiting the eight novel in the series set to be released in the United States in early 2015.

RATING: 4 Stars

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