Bernard Cornwell’s latest novel in the Saxon Chronicles, Sword Song, was released Tuesday, January 22nd. I’m eager to pick this one up, though I’m still two novels behind in the series. I’m almost done with The Pale Horseman. It’s taking me a little longer to get through this one as my wife and I are actually reading through it together. I first read The Last Kingdom over two years ago when I was working at a bookstore. We weren’t actually supposed to read while on duty, but when you’re stuck up at the register all day, you need something to keep you entertained; and there’s just so much dusting and organizing a person can do for eight hours. I instantly loved The Last Kingdom, and I was already familiar with Bernard Cornwell from reading The Archer’s Tale. Cornwell, in my opinion, is one of the best writers of historical fiction today.
Below is a description of the novel, taking from Amazon. I plan to write my review after I’ve read it.
The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord—warrior by instinct, Viking by nature—has finally settled down. He has land, a wife, and two children, and a duty given to him by King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But then trouble stirs: a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have arrived to occupy the decayed Roman city of London. Their dream is to conquer Wessex, and to do it they need Uhtred’s help.
Alfred has other ideas. He wants Uhtred to expel the Viking raiders from London. Uhtred must weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning tide of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles. And other storm clouds are gathering: Ætheleflæd—Alfred’s daughter—is newly married, but by a cruel twist of fate, her very existence now threatens Alfred’s kingdom. It is Uhtred—half Saxon, half Dane—whose uncertain loyalties must now decide England’s future.
A gripping story of love, deceit, and violence, Sword Song is set in an England of tremendous turmoil and strife—yet one galvanized by the hope that Alfred may prove an enduring force. Uhtred, his lord of war and greatest warrior, has become his sword—a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain.