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The Pale Horseman (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 2) Paperback – 27 May 2006

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins (27 May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000714993X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007149933
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3.1 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bernard Cornwell was born in London, raised in Essex, and now lives mainly in the USA with his wife. In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series and the Alfred series.

Product Description

Amazon Review

The Pale Horseman is the second book in Bernard Cornwell's Alfred the Great sequence, and this highly experienced author will be well aware of the pitfalls awaiting the creator of any second book in a series -- particularly when its predecessor, The Last Kingdom, was so enthusiastically received. The fact that Cornwell's Sharpe books are so beloved (for their immense colour and vivid recreation of a very lively period of history) was not a guarantee that this latest venture for the author would succeed. But succeed it did, and The Last Kingdom conjured an era of Vikings and massacres, with a brilliantly drawn (and complex) King Alfred at the centre of the narrative. So -- does Cornwell bring off this second book with equal panache?

No need for suspense -- The Pale Horseman is just as exhilarating a recreation of an age of heroes as its predecessor, delivered with the brio that is the author's trademark. Uhtred was born in Northumbria but rais! ed as a Viking. Married to a Saxon, he has achieved fame as a doughty warrior. But the more reflective Alfred has problems with the aggressive, self-serving manner of his young friend. An alliance, though, is necessary: these two are the sole remnants of those who commanded Wessex, after ill-judged bargains have destroyed the union. The Vikings now reign over most of England, and Alfred and his company are obliged to hide in the swampy netherland of Athelney, trying to regain the support they once enjoyed. Uhtred cannot shake off his Viking training, but finds himself acquiring an admiration for Alfred, who he comes to sense is a great man. As the narrative progresses, the conflict between the two men must be resolved before bloody battles will change the fate of England.

One expects the heroic endeavours of Bernard Cornwell's novels to be dispatched with panache, but there is another element which his admirers rely on: the conflict between his strongly drawn characters,! exemplified here by the two proud leaders. It'll take a while! before this new sequence achieves the immense popularity of the Sharpe novels, but the auguries are good. --Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Praise for The Pale Horseman:

‘Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail

'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer

‘It is stirring stuff, and few writers are better qualified than Cornwell to do justice to the excitement of the times…Ninth-century Britain and a master of storytelling – it is a marriage made in heaven.’ Sunday Telegraph

‘Cornwell’s mastery of historical sources and his aptitude for battle scenes is well established…the language, and particularly the dialogue, is raw and unarchaic, rich in insults and Anglo-Saxon expletives.’ Times Literary Supplement

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Mr. C. Cocking on 20 Aug. 2008
Format: Paperback
Cornwell once again takes us by the hand and leads us through times when our nation was forged on the anvil of battle, and our people were willing to pay with their lives in defence of their chosen homeland.

His vivid portrayal of 'heroes' leads the reader to imagine that he/she could easily be the maverick warrior, wielding weapons as if born to the task of slaughter.

The weaving of a thread around and among a solid historical foundation teaches the uninitiated a valuable and factual history lesson, one that those who suffered the stale and tawdry efforts of a '70s comprehensive school education will find totally strange, alien, stimulating and invigorating.

To find Cornwell's writing style or subject matter 'boring' is to totally miss the point of what such authors are about, and those seeking a change of tack would perhaps be better suited to switching on their goggle box and immersing themselves in the fineries of the many soap operas that I'm sure will more than cater for their special needs.

If you know nothing else about Cornwell, know that having read one of his historical novels you can speak confidently and with a good degree of knowledge about the history of England, such is the quality of the research and the historical accuracy that Cornwell has made a cornerstone of his writing.
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55 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Andrew Moore on 4 Sept. 2005
Format: Hardcover
The Pale Horseman starts where The Last Kingdom ended. It follows the story of Alfred, King of Wessex as told by Uhtred, one of his warriors who was born a Saxon but raised throughout the last book by the Vikings. Fate being inexorable has lead Uhtred from the relative safety of the Viking Ragnar, to being a killer of Vikings who has been brought to the attention of the king of the only remaining Saxon Kingdom which itself is now under threat of Viking invasion.
Now I know at the time I write this, the book has not been published (I read the advanced readers edition) so I won't give anything away here, but suffice it to say that any of Bernard Cornwell's fans won't be disappointed, the story is as good as the first and almost as good as his Arthurian trilogy. If you loved his Arthurian trilogy and wanted more, I'm afraid Mr Cornwell has said he will not write any more, but believe me this new series will make up for that as it is the next best thing to an actual Arthur/Derfel story.
The characters are good, even the minor ones, and the plot line is from history but with a few minor adjustments to suit the narrative of the plot. The battles are vivid and you are really put into the thick of it yourself. There's something for everyone; history, romance, action, adventure, intrigue... need I say more?
There are some (I know from reading other peoples reviews of Cornwell's books) who say the plot lines to all his books are similar and the characters all the same etc. Does it matter? You know where you are with his books, they are well crafted and extremely enjoyable, in fact some history teachers are now recommending them to their students as they bring history to life and not just give the boring facts! If you haven't read a Bernard Cornwell novel before, then this series is as good a place as any to start, I don't think you will be disappointed. If you have, you know what to expect and get this one, you'll love it, I did.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Rotgut VINE VOICE on 26 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Plausible and evocative imagining of the Alfred the Great's struggle to preserve the kingdom of Wessex and ensure the survival of England.

Although the second part of a series of historical novels, this book is perfectly self contained and can easily be read alone. The short historical note that follows the story puts the dramatic events into context and makes clear just how important to England's history the clashes portrayed here really were.

Nice to see the one "fact" every schoolboy knows about Alfred The Great: his burning of the cakes, included here, and the episode is very plausibly told, as, to be fair, are all of the snapshots of life in this difficult time.

When I was a schoolboy (another historical period all together) a TV series,"the Raven and the Cross" told the story of the battles between Viking and Saxon in Dark Age Britain. Then, it could be assumed that Christianity had the upper hand morally and culturally, presumably just because it was "right." In our modern day, less religious, time this certainty is no longer present. Cornwell's hero, Uhtred, is not a committed Christian, but he does fight loyally for Alfred. This creates a more realistic potrayal of how things appeared at the time, I'm sure, but, inevitably it means that it is less easy to sympathise with and care about the heroes.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By J. Chippindale TOP 500 REVIEWER on 8 Mar. 2007
Format: Audio CD
The Pale Horseman is the sequel to the best selling Last Kingdom and continues the the tale of the great warrior Uhtred, born in Northumberland. Raised as a Viking but he is now married to a Saxon girl. He is a pagan and his alliance with the pious Alfred the Great does not sit easily on the shoulders of either man.

However after a disastrous truce with the Dane's, only Alfred's family and Uhtred and a small number of his companions are left of the leaders in Wessex and they have been driven deeper and deeper into a swamp, where they are helpless to try to gather forces to stand against the Dane's

The Vikings now hold most of England and it has been a disastrous time for the Saxons. Uhtred find himself torn between the growing respect he has for Alfred and the love he has for his Danish foster brother and the all conquering Vikings. He has to wrestle with his heart and decide whether to try and rally the Saxons and drive out the Vikings, or change sides and go to his foster brother.
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