Customer Reviews


387 Reviews
5 star:
 (266)
4 star:
 (69)
3 star:
 (38)
2 star:
 (7)
1 star:
 (7)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


167 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding book from Cornwell
`Wyrd bid ful araed'; as is the annual instalment from Bernard Cornwell. A year has passed, `The Fort' is but a memory and the steadily increasing anticipation surrounding Uhtred's latest adventure has finally been satiated. And what a read it was!

In the `Death of Kings', there are monumental political upheavals. Alfred finally succumbs to death, leaving a...
Published on 30 Sept. 2011 by J. Cooper

versus
120 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Watched Kettle...
...So goes the old saying. I was eagerly anticipating the latest installment of Uhtred's adventures in the late Saxon era, and that made the wait seem to stretch on for ages. To satisfy my desire for the Victor Books for Grown-Up Boys which Cornwell turns out, I returned to his much older Arthurian Trilogy which have been on my shelf for years. I read all three several...
Published on 9 Oct. 2011 by Mr. D. Hamilton


‹ Previous | 1 239 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

167 of 176 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another outstanding book from Cornwell, 30 Sept. 2011
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
`Wyrd bid ful araed'; as is the annual instalment from Bernard Cornwell. A year has passed, `The Fort' is but a memory and the steadily increasing anticipation surrounding Uhtred's latest adventure has finally been satiated. And what a read it was!

In the `Death of Kings', there are monumental political upheavals. Alfred finally succumbs to death, leaving a power vacuum which several rival claimants seek to fill. The ever uneasy truce between the Danes and Saxons is strained to bursting point; treachery, deceit and subterfuge abound. These combined themes created an atmosphere which was tense from the initial page. When I began the book, Cornwell very cleverly created a sense of suspense in which the political instability and fluidity resulted in a series of events in which Uhtred (and therefore by default, the reader) was immediately suspicious. This was a great writing technique and one which had me attempting to unravel the mysteries alongside Uhtred.

It is fair to say that the main story is monopolised by the demise of Alfred and the aftermath of his death. Yet there are several subthemes and forays throughout the book which are guaranteed to delight. In addition, Uhtred will come into contact with more members of the clergy than ever before - much to his dismay! There are several scenes where Uhtred (with his wicked sense of humour) clashed with the clergy, that had me in complete stitches. Indeed I think that Cornwell's most comical scenes in his entire works to date are to be found within the `Death of Kings'. Uhtred has mastered the art of infuriating the Saxon clergy and the prospective reader will enjoy the fruits of labour on numerous occasions.

At its heart, for all its politicking, espionage and statesmanship; the `Death of Kings' is still a `blood and guts' adventure story. There are several lengthy battle scenes and scrapes at various points and the fourth part of the book is dominated by the inevitable battle between the Saxons and the Danes and the various claimants. The central theme of war which has flowed steadily throughout this series is present as is to be expected in the `Death of Kings'. Ferocious fighting is complemented with Uhtred's canny leadership style and his ability to outfox his opponents. I particularly enjoyed Uhtred's excursion to Snotengaham in which he thoroughly made a nuisance of himself. So, if you require a healthy dose of action to complement the story, this book will not disappoint.

The `Death of Kings' is a transitory book which was necessary, but which could have been rushed. In some ways it is the end of an era. Alfred has gone and Wessex is in danger of being overrun by a Danish horde. Cornwell could have dashed the book off in an attempt to hasten his depiction of the events following Alfred's death. Yet he doesn't do this, he takes his time, creates an atmosphere in which uncertainty and instability abound and lets Alfred slide gently out of the story before focusing fully on his son, Edward. Full credit is due to Cornwell for allotting sufficient time to Alfred's death and the decisions made during that time. I think it gives greater authenticity to the series and allows us to focus fully on Edward without wondering about the final demise of his father.

The `Death of Kings' is a great book and Cornwell fans will not be disappointed, I'm sure. If you love this series then this latest book will be an absolute joy. Uhtred is back, all of the old loveable characters are back and Cornwell demonstrates once again why he is one of our favourite writers. I only wish that I hadn't so long to wait for his next book! Roll on 2012.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


120 of 133 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Watched Kettle..., 9 Oct. 2011
By 
Mr. D. Hamilton "Duncan Hamilton" (Hove, East Sussex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
...So goes the old saying. I was eagerly anticipating the latest installment of Uhtred's adventures in the late Saxon era, and that made the wait seem to stretch on for ages. To satisfy my desire for the Victor Books for Grown-Up Boys which Cornwell turns out, I returned to his much older Arthurian Trilogy which have been on my shelf for years. I read all three several times, and then got the Audiobook for the car.

Magnificent preparation, or so I thought. What I should have done was re-read Burning Land, to remind myself how the Saxon sagas are much shorter. But then, maybe that would have made the disappointment of Death of Kings even more acute. Yes, even an avid Cornwell Arthurian/Saxon fan such as I (I've never really got on with Sharpe) may come away disappointed. Not angry, not let down, not sad, but most certainly not satisfied.

Death of Kings is not bad by any measure. Yes, it's formulaic, but then Cornwell's stories tend to repeat the same plots (as indeed do most in the genre, so it's not really a criticism), and yes it's fairly predictable for the most part. But there's one key ingredient missing; emotion.

Cornwell's usual strength - especially with the earlier books in the Uhtred series, and absolutely with the Arthurian trilogy - that of imparting great character and emotion to the main protagonists; bringing them to life, gently detailing relatively inconsequential traits, and drawing you into the character's world, their motivations, and really getting you rooting for them. It's almost entirely absent this book. Undoubtedly some of this detail can be saved, as we're now on book five, but having jumped out of the Arthurian books into this one it's very noticeable how little time is spent with the characters except to simply propel the plot forward.

Consequently, the proverbial kettle never really gets to the boil. I felt no real attachment to Uhtred, we found out little of the new characters introduced, or those formerly bit-part players thrust into the limelight, and the story just skittered along, almost as if Cornwell was willing it to finish early so he could get down the pub.

It does feel as if Uhtred has slightly outstayed his welcome in Cornwell's heart - and although we're left with yet another obvious lead to the eventual end at Bebbanburg, I rather fear that that may be dealt with in a similarly pedestrian fashion.

Nonetheless, I don't doubt it'll get rave reviews from the die hard fans, and indeed that I'll get lots of unhelpful votes for this less than complimentary review, but that's what a review is for.

Would I recommend it?

Well actually I would - not least because we've all invested some time and effort in the first four, so we owe it to ourselves to see this one through to the end. Also because it's still a good story, it's just not as well told as the previous installments.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good addition to Cornwell's Saxon Stories, 25 Jan. 2012
Death of Kings finally see's Uhtred, as the respected and feared warrior he always was.

In the previous novels you see Uhtred constantly punished and limited by the ungrateful/untrusting Alfred and his priests, while in this book you finally see the chains cast off as Uhtred receive's the respect and reward he is due. This is evident in Alfred's talks with Uhtred, where you discover an underlying respect between both of them, which has replaced the resentment of their differing religions. In previous novels when Uhtred announced who he was, often he was overruled or dismissed, now some years after the previous novel Burning Land, Uhtred has become respected, feared and everyone now listens when he speaks, this is summed up when he declares; "I am Lord Uhtred of Babbenburg," and you read of the fear etched in the recipient's face.

Interestingly in the first book; The Last Kingdom, we see Uhtred as a young boy but by Death of Kings (the 6th book) he has grown to his mid-40s, an astonishing age for those times, which is emanated when in battle a champion of the enemy calls him an `old man' and we discover he now has wisps of grey hair. We then begin to understand, with great sadness, that the once feisty, rebellious and under rated Uhtred that we've been through from his adolescence, is now growing old and his tale will soon end.

The reader can be wholly satisfied with Uhtred finally having the chains cast off and the tools to fight unhindered by Alfred or his priests, the book offers some twists and turns, with plenty of action and you won't be able to put the book down. However because of Uhtred's rise to prominence between the beginning of Burning Land and the end Death of Kings, I felt that the enemy in this book; Sigurd and Cnut, were not as strong as previous Danish leaders. It would have been good to get under their skins to give the reader an insight to their power and the threat they pose to Wessex, so we fully realise the danger Uhtred is in. And lastly I did miss Uhtred's involvement with Danish life, particularly with his interaction with his adopted brother Ragnar Ragnarson however I feel Bernard Cornwell was saving his Danish brother for perhaps the next book.

This is a great book that continues the great story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg and is a must read. I will be sad when this series ends, which I can see in the next 1-2 books.

Highly recommended.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How about Christianity?, 13 Jan. 2012
By 
John Nichols (Surrey, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Unlike some reviewers, I found the latest of Bernard Cornwall's books the best so far. Perhaps that is because I am an agnostic non-believer with a great interest in religion. The relgious schism between Uhtred and Alfred fascinates me and in this book it reaches a sort of climax. Uhtred is constantly ruminating on the shortcomings of Christianity compared with his Norse religion that maintains that the world will eventually degenerate into chaos and the death of the gods but meanwhile life should be "fun". His main quarrel with Christianity is that it seems to be against "fun". This is not so far from today's religious debates except that today the "godless" scientists led by Ricard Dawkins and the modern Christins rail against each other on similar issues. I am fascinated by what Utred makes of Christianity and the occasional concessions he makes with sneaking admiration for individual priests for their sense of justice - perhaps? Most of all, his interactions with the religious king, Alfred The Great. He says he sometimes hates him and other times admires him but you get the impression that his loyalty and admiration goes further than he admits. In this book Uhtred only meets Alfred once but what a meeting. This is a death bed meeting with eight pages of golden dialogue in which there is a reconciliation of sorts between the two men. If the rest of the book had been mediocre, it would have been worth it just for these eight pages but Cornwall is, of course, not capable of "mediocre".

John Nichols
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of Kings magnificently brought to life by the reigning king of historical fiction!, 3 May 2015
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The perfect companion for all military history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Death of Kings is the sixth in Bernard Cornwell's excellent historical fiction series `The Saxon Tales', which tells the fascinating story of Lord Uthred, a mighty Viking warrior who fought on the side of Alfred against the Viking invasion of England. I started reading the series when it was initially launched and have followed it ever since. It is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting historical fiction series ever written.

Death of Kings is set in the period around 900 AD, close to the end of King Alfred's reign. We follow the smart Lord Uthred as Alfred's life is about to end and England moves into a period of intensified conflict. There are many in the kingdom that want the throne that Alfred is about to vacate, and England is on the brink of chaos. Uthred knows all the players, and he can see how they form alliances and move around in preparation for battle.

In Death of Kings the question is not only whether the royalists will be able to fend off the Vikings and their allies, but also whether Alfred's son Edward will be able to build a coalition strong enough to seize and hold on to the throne. In the end, it will all be decided on the battlefield, by the song of the swords and the competence of the commanders.

Death of Kings describes an extremely interesting period in English history - both exciting and historically important. Bernard Cornwell has an incredible ability to mix historical facts with fiction in ways that both entertain and educate the reader. Lord Uthred is without doubt one of the most complex and fascinating characters of modern historical fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and found it very, very hard to put down. Death of Kings - and the series as a whole - is a must for lovers of historical fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cornwell's still got it, 28 Feb. 2013
By 
N. Young (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Death of Kings (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 6) (Paperback)
For around twenty years, I have listed Bernard Cornwell as one of my favourite authors. The other month I finished reading Death of Kings, the latest instalment in his `Saxon' series which is worth a read if you like novels that you can come away from with the feeling that you've actually learned something interesting as a result of having read them.

Bernard Cornwell's novels usually centre around an honest man of action who has little time for political scheming, and in this series the hero/narrator is Uhtred, a Saxon who was brought up as a Viking but who fights (somewhat reluctantly) for Alfred the Great, King of Wessex and the one man standing between the Vikings and their goal of dominating all of Britain. This has formed the basis of the series so far, but in this sixth novel the focus changes as Alfred is dying, various would-be successors are getting ready to make their bids for power and the fragile truce between Wessex and the Vikings is about to fall apart.

Alfred the Great has somewhat fallen out of favour with whoever decides what should be part of the history curriculum in schools (in which there's a big gap between the Romans and 1066), even though his story is integral to the formation of what would come to be England. But Cornwell's Alfred is no warrior king. His take on Alfred as a sickly scholar who is very much the `brains behind the operation' is an good one, and having the narrator as a pagan - in contrast to the pious Alfred - allows the author to explore more fully the struggle between Christianity and paganism that he started on in the Warlord trilogy - a reinterpretation of the Arthurian legends which I still think is Cornwell's best work. I think there's a touch of the pagan in Cornwell, as the Christians of his stories are portrayed in a rather negative light. Although it clearly inspires some of the characters to do great things, organised religion is portrayed here as a force for intolerance, pomposity and repression (over the course of Death of Kings, Uhtred manages to infuriate and poke fun at several clergymen to good comic effect). In a sense, therefore, there's something very modern about these books even though they're set in the Dark Ages.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The continuing adventures of Lord Uhtred, 23 Jun. 2012
By 
E. A. Banks (Ipswich, Great Britain) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
Having commenced reading this series of books I find that I want to know what happens to Uhtred, even if he is frankly rather irritating. If you have read the previous 5 books then this is really just more of the same. I am getting a bit bored with this character now, even if he has mellowed a little with age, and all the battles are getting a bit tedious. However, you cannot fault Bernard Cornwell's research and I am a great deal more interested in Anglo Saxon history now than I was before I started to read this series of books. The writing really brings the era to life and I can easily picture the scenes that Bernard Conrwell paints. As the title indicates, this story deals with the aftermath of the death of King Alfred the Great and does have one or two twists and turns that I didn't see coming. Bishop Asser still turns up to rain on Uhtred's parade as usual, but once again, his friends in high places save him and of course, Uhtred then gets to save them. Again. Uhtred and Asser may be a tad one-dimensional but the cast of supporting characters are well drawn and I particularly like the portrayal of the Lady Aethelflaed, who, like most of the female characters, is surprisingly feisty. She continues to disobey both her husband Aethelred and the new king, her brother Edward, and plays her part in saving the day.
I thought this was the last book in the series, but in the epilogue it does say that England is still not safe and that Uhtred will have to fight again.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to what you expect from Cornwell, 29 Sept. 2011
By 
Parm (A bookshop near you) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I have to say that recently with Bernard Cornwell my loyalty to his skill and many years in the business have kept me coming back more that the books, dont get me wrong they were a good read, but they were not books i "HAD" to read, you know, the type that jumps to the top of your reading pile.

Well Death of Kings puts that to bed, Bernard is really back to his best, for me at least. I always loved the sarcasm and explosive violence of Uthred, his utter disregard for the church in a time where everyone wanted to prove how pious they were. This went a bit stale in the last couple of books, but in Death of Kings its like he has a new lease on life and a new lease on his unique view of how the world should be.

As usual the wirting skills are self evident from a man classed as " Mr Historical Fiction" by his peers, this time this is back coupled with the pace power and plot we the readers knew in the early uthred and the Early sharpe books. This really is a man back to his best.

I highly reccomend this book...especially for those with a sarcastic personality and those who like their history to be a little more real.

(Parm)

Product Description (From Back of Book)
The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation.

As the ninth century wanes, England appears about to be plunged into chaos once more. For the Viking-raised but Saxon-born warrior, Uhtred, whose life seems to shadow the making of England, this presents him with difficult choices.

King Alfred is dying and his passing threatens the island of Britain to renewed warfare. Alfred wants his son, Edward, to succeed him but there are other Saxon claimants to the throne as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north.

Uhtred`s loyalty - and his vows - were to Alfred, not to his son, and despite his long years of service to Alfred, he is still not committed to the Saxon cause. His own desire is to reclaim his long lost lands and castle to the north. But the challenge to him, as the king's warrior, is that he knows that he will either be the means of making Alfred's dream of a united and Christian England come to pass or be responsible for condemning it to oblivion.

This novel is a dramatic story of the power of tribal commitment and the terrible difficulties of divided loyalties.

This is the making of England magnificently brought to life by the master of historical fiction.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ....waiting for Uhtred, 11 Jan. 2012
Like other reviewers of 'The Death of Kings' and the series previous books I was eagerly anticipating Uhtred's journey north from Wessex to Bebbanburg (not far from where I live, although I am closer to Dunholm) in this latest book of the series. Now however I will have to wait until the next book (or the next....). Also like others I was slightly disappointed that the tale seemed to be drawn out, but then at the end a heroine appeared, Æthelflæd. After finishing the book I looked up King Alfred's family history and discovered that Æthelflæd, after the death of her husband Æthelred, was elevated to 'Lady of the Mercians' and was indeed regarded as "a formidable military leader and tactician". So, Bernard Cornwell got it right when he gave her an important role in the final battle, distracting the Dane's with the fire's in the north. Nevertheless, although 'The Death of Kings' wasn't quite as gripping as it's predecessors and I anticipate 2 more books in the series (first Eoferwic and then Bebbanburg), I am eagerly waiting for the next part of the journey.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps my favourite Cornwell series., 25 April 2013
By 
BlackBrigand (Norfolk UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
DEATH OF KINGS - Bernard Cornwell 25/04/13

I have long been a fan of Mr Cornwell's work since and have faithfully collected each of his new books as published after receiving Sharpe's Gold as a gift in 1981. I really enjoyed this book even though there does bring the series of Saxon novels closer to a close.

A précis of the tale has been the subject of many other reviews and so I will not repeat it here, except to say that as usual Cornwell's novel is full of action and as usual the authors research gives the story a believable grounding in historical fact. I think that the King Alfred books are possibly my personal favourites from Cornwell's historical novel stable.

Another top rate novel from Bernard Cornwell, packed with action, believable characters and historic personalities and a good story line woven around historical events.

I already owned the hardback but purchased Kindle edition of this book to read on the move. The Kindle version is excellent, I could find no real faults 5/5.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 239 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Death of Kings (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 6)
Death of Kings (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 6) by Bernard Cornwell (Paperback - 24 May 2012)
£5.59
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews