My copy of this book (hardback edition) is exactly 300 pages long, so lack of content can't be the reason why I finished it within a few hours. It's just that events flow so fast, and are woven together so compulsively by the master story-teller. If you've read the previous "Uhtred" books you'll recognize the basic ingredients: Saxons, Danes, Christianity, nasty conniving priests, the Norse gods, sailing in cockleshell ships, shield walls, cheating, lies, trickery, and the meeting of men who honestly admit their mutual respect and liking before earnestly setting out to disembowel each other. Oh, and Uhtred's perpetual longing for his ancestral home of Bebbanburg (Bamburgh) of which he was cheated by his wicked uncle (honest!) And, last and most important of all, the need to die with a sword clutched in one's hand so as to feast with the heroes in Valhalla in the afterlife. Whatever your particular reason for Jonesing for another fix of Uhtred, here it is - come and get it! Guaranteed pure, uncut, and heavenly bliss while it lasts. As a fringe benefit, you can enjoy a chance (so rare nowadays) to see human beings portrayed honestly, as they really are and not as some churchman or philosopher thinks they should be. If there are any fans of Lee Child's Jack Reacher who haven't yet discovered Uhtred, I think they will find him very much to their taste. (Although, come to think of it, I should put that in one of my Reacher reviews rather than here).
True, "The Pagan Lord" is the recipe as usual, but it's a cordon bleu recipe: lobster and champagne (or whatever your personal equivalent might be). Please keep them coming, Mr Cornwell! And God bless you for ministering so expertly to our spiritual needs.