From Bernard Cornwell, the undisputed master of historical
fiction, hailed as "the direct heir to Patrick O'Brien,"* comes the
third volume in the exhilarating Saxon Chronicles: the story of the
birth of England as the Saxons struggle to repel the Danish
The year is 878, and as "Lords of the North" begins, the Saxons
of Wessex, under King Alfred, have defeated the Danes to keep their
kingdom free. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord,
helped Alfred win that victory, but now he is disgusted by Alfred's
lack of generosity. Uhtred flees Wessex, going north to search for
his stepsister, who was taken prisoner by Kjartan the Cruel, a
Danish lord who lurks in the formidable stronghold of Dunholm.
Uhtred arrives in the north to discover rebellion, chaos, and
fear. His only ally is Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling,
and his best hope is his sword, Serpent-Breath, with which he has
made a notable reputation as a warrior. He needs other partners if
he is to attack Dunholm, and chooses Guthred, a seemingly deluded
slave who believes he is a king. Together they cross the Pennines,
where fanatical Christians and beleaguered Danes have formed a
desperate alliance to confront the terrible Viking lords who rule
Instead of victory Uhtred finds betrayal. But he also discovers
love and redemption as he is forced to turn once again to his
reluctant ally, Alfred the Great. It is Alfred who sees opportunity
in Northumbria's chaos, and Alfred who looses Uhtred and his
stepbrother, Ragnar, onto Dunholm, the invincible fortress on its
great spur of rock. A breathtaking adventure, "Lords of the North"
is also the story of the creation of England, as the English and
Danes fight against each other, but also find common cause and
create a common language. In the end they will become one people,
but as Uhtred will discover, their union is forged through the
white heat of battle.
"* "The Economist""
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