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The fourth in the bestselling Alfred series from number one historical novelist, Bernard Cornwell. The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and Alfred's kingdom of Wessex in the south. But trouble stirs, a dead man has risen and new Vikings have arrived to occupy London. It is a dangerous time, and it falls to Uhtred, half Saxon, half Dane, a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain, to expel the Viking raiders and take control of London for Alfred. His uncertain loyalties must now decide England's future. A gripping tale of love, rivalry and violence, Sword Song tells the story of England's making. Key title / With his staggering Grail Quest, Warlord and Sharpe series Bernard Cornwell has cemented his position as a virtuoso of historical fiction / The previous book in the Alfred series, The Lords of the North, reached number 2 on the Sunday Times hardback bestseller list, staying in the top ten for 9 weeks / The Lords of the North PB has sold over 130,000 copies to date / Backlist available for author promotions
Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex and now lives in the USA. In addition to the Sharpe series, he is the author of the Arthurian series, the Warlord Chronicles; the Starbuck Chronicles on the American Civil War; Stonehenge; Gallows Thief; the Grail Quest series; and his new series, set during the reign of King Alfred.
This is the fourth novel in the "Saxon Stories" that Cornwell originally intended as a trilogy. Perhaps he should have stuck to his first plan, as these memoirs of King Alfred's intrepid warrior Uhtred are beginning to pall. An excellent eight-hour story submerged in a 13-hour package, Sword Song builds to the usual thrilling climax but does so too slowly. Uhtred, who tells the tale from the perspective of old age, has less action to describe and tends to be drearily introspective. Happily, Gerard Doyle helps to keep things moving with his robust narration (similar to that of Tom Sellwood's readings of the first three books). Libraries that have the earlier Saxon books should certainly acquire this one, but other libraries can safely give it a pass. [Also available as downloadable audio from Audible.com.--Ed.]--R. Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
Praise for 'The Lords of the North': 'Beautifully crafted story-telling, complete with splendid set-piece battles and relentless derring-do, so gripping that it rarely stops to catch a breath. It demonstrates once again Cornwell's enormous skill as a historical narrator. He would have graced Alfred's court entertaining the guests with his stories' Daily Mail 'Cornwell takes the spectres of ninth century history and puts flesh back on their bones. Here is Alfred's world restored -- impeccably researched and illuminated with the colour and passion of a master storyteller' Justin Pollard, author of 'Alfred the Great' Praise for Bernard Cornwell: 'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail 'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched' Observer
Cornwell's fourth entry in the popular Saxon Tales (following Lords of the North) is a rousing romp through the celebrated ninth-century reign of Alfred the Great. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a 28-year-old pagan Saxon "lord of war," has pledged to serve Alfred by commanding the defensive frontier forts ("burhs"). Trouble arises when the Norse Viking brothers Sigefrid and Erik Thurgilson capture and occupy London, threatening Alfred's border and his control of the Thames River port. The Christian Alfred directs Uhtred to raise a Wessex army, expel the pagan Thurgilsons and resecure London. Commanding Uhtred is his vain, abusive cousin Ethelred, who is married to Alfred's eldest daughter, Ethelflaed. Plying his swords Serpent-Breath and Wasp-Sting, Uhtred is a stirring, larger-than-life action hero conflicted by ambition, fidelity and thirst for violence. All the major characters are well drawn, and the London battle scenes unfold quickly and vividly. A deft mix of historical details and customs authenticates the saga. And Cornwell drops in a slick twist precipitating the climatic battle to wrest control of London for the Saxons, paving the way for the story to continue. (Jan.) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.