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The year is 878. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, has helped the Saxons of Wessex defeat the invading Danes. Now, finally free of his allegiance to the victorious, ungrateful King Alfred, he is heading home to rescue his stepsister, a prisoner of Kjartan the Cruel in the formidable Danish stronghold of Dunholm. Uhtred's best hope is his sword, Serpent-Breath, for his only allies are Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling, and Guthred, a slave who believes himself king. Rebellion, chaos, fear, and betrayal await them in the north, forcing Uhtred to turn once more, reluctantly, to the liege he formerly served in battle and blood: Alfred the Great.

Published: HarperCollins on Oct 13, 2009
ISBN: 9780061801891
List price: $9.99
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The first novel I read by Bernard Cornwell was "Sharpe's Rifles" and what impressed me the most was the way he never let you have a moment's rest. The action was non-stop, you were afraid to keep reading and you were afraid to stop. It was the kind of writing that copy-writers glibly refer to as "pulse pounding action."Since then I've read 18 more Sharpe novels as well as 12 others by Cornwell, the current one included. This is the third in the series collectively known as the Saxon Tales and it bids to equal the Sharpe novels in quality and perhaps in quantity as well if Cornwell keeps at it long enough. The series, as did the Sharpe series, features a first person protagonist. The narrator is Uhtred, born a Briton but raised by Ragnar a Dane, after Ragnar kills Uhtred's father in battle and is impressed by the boy Uhtred's spunk when he tried to kill Ragnar in turn. Uhtred comes to love Ragnar and is schooled in the arts of the Warrior, eventually himself becoming one."Lords of the North" is the third in the series, and while it starts out a bit slow and a bit confusing (maybe because I waited such a long time after reading the first two to read this one), but peaks in a long and literally pulse-pounding climax. I had a roommate in graduate school who described the novels of another writer, Alistair MacLean by saying that "the lead changes hands at least three more times than you expect it to." Fits the current novel to a T, and if anything understates the case.The series in general is instructive as well as enjoyable. Herein we learn about English history pre A.D. 1000 including the Vikings, the Danes, the Britons, the Saxons, et. al. We gain insight into the Northerners' raids on the British Isles and their ambitions to conquer and enslave the entire realm. We learn about the warfare of the time including axes and swords, of course, but also the grand concept of "the Shield wall." Cornwell's depictions are visceral and graphic. We also encounter and learn about that notorious figure Alfred the Great. Uhtred's fate is inexorably bound to the latter in ways that Uhtred finds unavoidable.Five stars is more than deserved.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
More of the same really. The pace moves along quite quickly and this passes the time when one wants a less demanding read. But Uhtred is for me as unsympathetic a character as ever, going around the country slaughtering everyone who stands in his way. The broad historical backdrop and background to Alfred and the Vikings are what keep me reading and what will undoubtedly make me read Sword Song when it comes out in paperback.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first Bernard Cornwall book I have read and it was a good one, although this is the third in a series I was able to make sense of what had previously happened. It had a very readable style, which made reading it very quick. I loved the historical details about York and Durham and how he weaved in details about St Cuthbert and holy relics. Enjoyable.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read the book in German, as I am from Germany. I like the book very much. I can recommend the whole Saxon Chronicle and I am looking forward to the fifth part which will come out in Sep/Oct this year.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Entertaining and about what I was expecting.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Yet another gift from Cornwell ! Splendid, enjoyable, bloody fun!read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lords of the North is the third book in the Saxon Stories and Cornwell promises that more - perhaps many more - are in the offing. As is almost obligatory, let me acknowldge that I am a big Cornwell fan - I've read many of the Sharpe books, part of the Grail series and all three of the Saxon Stories. The Lords of the North picks up right after Alfred's historic victory at Ethandun (or Edington) in 878 CE and continues the tale of Uhtred, a man stuck between the worlds of Saxon and Dane. Uthred returns to the north as he begins what will apparently be a multi-volume quest to reclaim his title as Lord of Bettanburg. Unfortunately, the historical record for Northumbria at this time is extremely sparse and confused. Consequently, Lords of the North is more fictional and less historical than the previous two books. I frankly found the book fell somewhat short of my admittedly high expectations. The atmosphere of the tale seemingly has historical authenticity, but the ending is rushed and struck me as implausible. After a long struggle to overcome one of their major antagonists, Uthred and Ragnar dispense with another one in one brief encounter. A good tale and fans of Cornwell will enjoy it, but in parts it felt like a book that simply bridges the gap from one part of the story to the next. The good news is that Uhtred lives into his 80's, so many more tales remain - let's just hope that doesn't become the bad news, too. Recommended.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The third in Cornwell's Saxon Tales series. Uhtred is back with a vengeance and there is much blood letting. I think I have enjoyed this volume more than the first two. Cornwell seems a bit more free with Uhtred's adventures. Things get a bit weird, and it makes the story a bit spicier. I especially got a tickle out of Uhtred's little side trip to Iceland. I'm interested to see what happens in the next one. Somehow I have a hunch that Uhtred is going to screwed over by Alfred again. I really have to read up on Alfred. I can't believe he was such a pansy.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Just a modest correction to previous review. This is the third in the series. And it looks like there's more to come.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cornwell does it again. I keep thinking after reading so many of his books of the same genre I should be feeling guilty like I'm reading Star Trek or romance novels or something... but they're just so damn good.Not every one is great, and none of them have lived up to the Warlord trilogy but this series is pretty spectacular and the narrator's voice is perfect for the story. Hearing it is like visiting an old friend. I thought that this would be the last book of Utred because in the middle somewhere he started talking as if he was an old man telling you of his story and that in the end he would end up being in the present day as an old man. But then that went away (which is kinda lame if you think about it. Almost like he forgot to take that part out) and we're left with an afterword that promises more adventure with our favorite Saxon cum Dane.I'm not sure I'll ever get sick of this format of revenge, heroics, gritty, realistic battle sequences, and a slight touch of the possibly mystical all on top of a well researched historical background.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
2nd of a good Trilogy. Good action writingread more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Bernard Cornwell’s oeuvre has the panache for interpreting war with all its savageries and triumphs. His storytelling is so raw that I have found myself at times vividly remembering his tales with such precision, that I thought I saw them at the theater instead of having read them. And once again true to Mr. Cornwell’s style, the insults are utterly fantastic, “When you are dead…I shall have your skin tanned and made into a saddle so I can spend the rest of my life farting on you.” All this and packs of wild dogs, it doesn’t get any better than this people.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Third in the Saxon Tales series.In 878, Uhtred the dispossessed heir of Bebbbanberg, has been rewarded by Alfred, King of Wessex, for Uhtred’s critical role in winning the battle of Ethandun against a Danish army--with a miserable little holding that was barely able to support the three slave families that worked it. Alfred is by nature a miser and his dislike of Uhtred, who refuses to become a Christian, only adds to the insult.Uhtred has had enough of Alfred whom he deems overly pious as well as an ingrate. With Hild, the ex-nun he rescued who is now his friend and lover, he buries his hoard, keeping enough only to travel, and sets out for Northumbria, where he has major grudges to settle: with his uncle, who usurped Bebbbanberg and with Kjartan and his son Sven, who murdered Uhtred’s foster father, Ragnar.This is another great tale from Cornwell, who knows how to plot as well as how to write terrific battle scenes. He uses what is known about 9th century England and Alfred the Great to weave a totally realistic plot with believable characters. It’s a real page-turner; while I was racing through the book, eager to find out what happened next (and there are quite a few twists in this one), I also was reluctant to have it end. Cornwell is one master storyteller.Highly recommended.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

The first novel I read by Bernard Cornwell was "Sharpe's Rifles" and what impressed me the most was the way he never let you have a moment's rest. The action was non-stop, you were afraid to keep reading and you were afraid to stop. It was the kind of writing that copy-writers glibly refer to as "pulse pounding action."Since then I've read 18 more Sharpe novels as well as 12 others by Cornwell, the current one included. This is the third in the series collectively known as the Saxon Tales and it bids to equal the Sharpe novels in quality and perhaps in quantity as well if Cornwell keeps at it long enough. The series, as did the Sharpe series, features a first person protagonist. The narrator is Uhtred, born a Briton but raised by Ragnar a Dane, after Ragnar kills Uhtred's father in battle and is impressed by the boy Uhtred's spunk when he tried to kill Ragnar in turn. Uhtred comes to love Ragnar and is schooled in the arts of the Warrior, eventually himself becoming one."Lords of the North" is the third in the series, and while it starts out a bit slow and a bit confusing (maybe because I waited such a long time after reading the first two to read this one), but peaks in a long and literally pulse-pounding climax. I had a roommate in graduate school who described the novels of another writer, Alistair MacLean by saying that "the lead changes hands at least three more times than you expect it to." Fits the current novel to a T, and if anything understates the case.The series in general is instructive as well as enjoyable. Herein we learn about English history pre A.D. 1000 including the Vikings, the Danes, the Britons, the Saxons, et. al. We gain insight into the Northerners' raids on the British Isles and their ambitions to conquer and enslave the entire realm. We learn about the warfare of the time including axes and swords, of course, but also the grand concept of "the Shield wall." Cornwell's depictions are visceral and graphic. We also encounter and learn about that notorious figure Alfred the Great. Uhtred's fate is inexorably bound to the latter in ways that Uhtred finds unavoidable.Five stars is more than deserved.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
More of the same really. The pace moves along quite quickly and this passes the time when one wants a less demanding read. But Uhtred is for me as unsympathetic a character as ever, going around the country slaughtering everyone who stands in his way. The broad historical backdrop and background to Alfred and the Vikings are what keep me reading and what will undoubtedly make me read Sword Song when it comes out in paperback.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The first Bernard Cornwall book I have read and it was a good one, although this is the third in a series I was able to make sense of what had previously happened. It had a very readable style, which made reading it very quick. I loved the historical details about York and Durham and how he weaved in details about St Cuthbert and holy relics. Enjoyable.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
I read the book in German, as I am from Germany. I like the book very much. I can recommend the whole Saxon Chronicle and I am looking forward to the fifth part which will come out in Sep/Oct this year.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Entertaining and about what I was expecting.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Yet another gift from Cornwell ! Splendid, enjoyable, bloody fun!
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Lords of the North is the third book in the Saxon Stories and Cornwell promises that more - perhaps many more - are in the offing. As is almost obligatory, let me acknowldge that I am a big Cornwell fan - I've read many of the Sharpe books, part of the Grail series and all three of the Saxon Stories. The Lords of the North picks up right after Alfred's historic victory at Ethandun (or Edington) in 878 CE and continues the tale of Uhtred, a man stuck between the worlds of Saxon and Dane. Uthred returns to the north as he begins what will apparently be a multi-volume quest to reclaim his title as Lord of Bettanburg. Unfortunately, the historical record for Northumbria at this time is extremely sparse and confused. Consequently, Lords of the North is more fictional and less historical than the previous two books. I frankly found the book fell somewhat short of my admittedly high expectations. The atmosphere of the tale seemingly has historical authenticity, but the ending is rushed and struck me as implausible. After a long struggle to overcome one of their major antagonists, Uthred and Ragnar dispense with another one in one brief encounter. A good tale and fans of Cornwell will enjoy it, but in parts it felt like a book that simply bridges the gap from one part of the story to the next. The good news is that Uhtred lives into his 80's, so many more tales remain - let's just hope that doesn't become the bad news, too. Recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
The third in Cornwell's Saxon Tales series. Uhtred is back with a vengeance and there is much blood letting. I think I have enjoyed this volume more than the first two. Cornwell seems a bit more free with Uhtred's adventures. Things get a bit weird, and it makes the story a bit spicier. I especially got a tickle out of Uhtred's little side trip to Iceland. I'm interested to see what happens in the next one. Somehow I have a hunch that Uhtred is going to screwed over by Alfred again. I really have to read up on Alfred. I can't believe he was such a pansy.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Just a modest correction to previous review. This is the third in the series. And it looks like there's more to come.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Cornwell does it again. I keep thinking after reading so many of his books of the same genre I should be feeling guilty like I'm reading Star Trek or romance novels or something... but they're just so damn good.Not every one is great, and none of them have lived up to the Warlord trilogy but this series is pretty spectacular and the narrator's voice is perfect for the story. Hearing it is like visiting an old friend. I thought that this would be the last book of Utred because in the middle somewhere he started talking as if he was an old man telling you of his story and that in the end he would end up being in the present day as an old man. But then that went away (which is kinda lame if you think about it. Almost like he forgot to take that part out) and we're left with an afterword that promises more adventure with our favorite Saxon cum Dane.I'm not sure I'll ever get sick of this format of revenge, heroics, gritty, realistic battle sequences, and a slight touch of the possibly mystical all on top of a well researched historical background.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
2nd of a good Trilogy. Good action writing
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Bernard Cornwell’s oeuvre has the panache for interpreting war with all its savageries and triumphs. His storytelling is so raw that I have found myself at times vividly remembering his tales with such precision, that I thought I saw them at the theater instead of having read them. And once again true to Mr. Cornwell’s style, the insults are utterly fantastic, “When you are dead…I shall have your skin tanned and made into a saddle so I can spend the rest of my life farting on you.” All this and packs of wild dogs, it doesn’t get any better than this people.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Third in the Saxon Tales series.In 878, Uhtred the dispossessed heir of Bebbbanberg, has been rewarded by Alfred, King of Wessex, for Uhtred’s critical role in winning the battle of Ethandun against a Danish army--with a miserable little holding that was barely able to support the three slave families that worked it. Alfred is by nature a miser and his dislike of Uhtred, who refuses to become a Christian, only adds to the insult.Uhtred has had enough of Alfred whom he deems overly pious as well as an ingrate. With Hild, the ex-nun he rescued who is now his friend and lover, he buries his hoard, keeping enough only to travel, and sets out for Northumbria, where he has major grudges to settle: with his uncle, who usurped Bebbbanberg and with Kjartan and his son Sven, who murdered Uhtred’s foster father, Ragnar.This is another great tale from Cornwell, who knows how to plot as well as how to write terrific battle scenes. He uses what is known about 9th century England and Alfred the Great to weave a totally realistic plot with believable characters. It’s a real page-turner; while I was racing through the book, eager to find out what happened next (and there are quite a few twists in this one), I also was reluctant to have it end. Cornwell is one master storyteller.Highly recommended.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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