Today's Grateful List/31 December 2015

  • Going to get answers no matter what

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Uhtred Rides Again

If you have picked up Bernard Cornwell's The Pagan Lord, chances are quite good that you've read the previous six books in the series. So it should come as little or no surprise to know what you've got ahead of you as a reader, and, if you are like me, you are going to be just as thrilled with this seventh installment as you were three, four, five, or six installments ago.

So what is our Uhtred up to in The Pagan Lord? Being his usual arrogant, irrepressible self, and leading a small core of men across what is now England and back again. Early on, Uhtred accidentally kills a church officer, an incident that incites much of Christendom to want his head on the proverbial platter. After having his estate burned, Uhtred decides the time has come to reclaim his right to Bebbanburg, and he attacks with little or no support. From there, he finds himself deciphering the mystery of whom is holding Cnut's family hostage, and, in the process, putting himself and his men willingly in danger in order to give Alfred's son Edward the time he needs to attack the devious Cnut. It's all business as usual for Uhtred, a man whose intelligence and bravery place him amid the major battles of the early tenth century.

Cornwell has given us a true hero in Uhtred; even when he's at his most arrogant, he still exudes the charm and wits that make him a leader in a time of outlaws and kings. I love how Uhtred gets himself into tight spots from which there seems to be no escape, and yet, somehow, he does; I love that he faces the day with a clear knowledge that it may be his last but he will still make the most of it. Cornwell's battle scenes are exceptional; he places you among the fighters, allowing you to feel every thrust and blow. I admit it; I'm totally enamored of Uhtred and his tales, and there will never be enough chapters for this reader. The Pagan Lord is yet another riveting entry that kept me enthralled right up to the last word. I cannot wait to find out where we will head together next.


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