The latest chapter in the epic saga of the making of England, magnificently brought to life by "the reigning king of historical fiction" (USA Today), Bernard Cornwell.
As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his lifelong goal of a unified England in peril, his kingdom on the brink of chaos. Though his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne—as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Torn between his vows to Alfred and the desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands in the north, Uhtred, Saxon-born and Viking-raised, remains the king's warrior but has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Now he must make a momentous decision that will forever transform his life and the course of history: to take up arms—and Alfred's mantle—or lay down his sword and let his liege's dream of a unified kingdom die along with him.
Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944—a "war baby," whose father was a Canadian airman and whose mother was in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to the University of London, and after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years.
He began as a researcher on the Nationwide program and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons, so Bernard went to the United States, where he was refused a green card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the U.S. government—for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars—and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, and still live in the United States—and he is still writing Sharpe.read more