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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a thundering good yarn
This is instalment seven of the Warrior Chronicles set in the time of King Alfred and his successors, with Uthred, the pagan warlord brought up by the Danes, still fighting on the side of the Saxons, although getting a bit long on the tooth. Unsurprisingly, a number of reviewers who (just like myself) have read through the whole series over the years may have a sense a...
Published 20 months ago by JPS

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The pagan Lord dark comedy.
If you have read the previous books , you must read this, it's a slight return to form . There needs to be some conclusion . Otherwise it's just money for old rope . Bernard should kill off uhtred and bring on son of uhtred and send him on great adventures,win back his dad's castle maybe. Don't get me wrong I still enjoy the books ,but there starting to sound all alike...
Published 19 months ago by V hunt


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96 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Still a thundering good yarn, 6 Oct. 2013
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JPS - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
This is instalment seven of the Warrior Chronicles set in the time of King Alfred and his successors, with Uthred, the pagan warlord brought up by the Danes, still fighting on the side of the Saxons, although getting a bit long on the tooth. Unsurprisingly, a number of reviewers who (just like myself) have read through the whole series over the years may have a sense a "déjà vu", to the extent that some mayt be getting a bit tired with having similar scenes played over and over again. These include the hero getting himself into trouble by murdering and terrorising overbearing churchmen, throwing his weight around, rushing around the country waving his sword and saving the Saxons almost on his own. If the book was limited to this, then indeed I would share their feelings. But there is, at least for me, far more to it than that...

As mentioned in the title of this review, the book is a thundering good yarn, regardless of whether you have read the previous ones in the series. It was, at least for me, hugely entertaining. It is one of these books that you can't drop until you have reached the last page and I admit to spending most of Saturday reading it from cover to cover non-stop. Hence you get comments from some other reviewers about the book being shorter than others, perhaps, and shorter than they would have wished, quite certainly. This, in itself, makes the book well worth reading. It is a first class swashbuckler adventure story, fast-paced and with lots of "blood and thunder". In this respect, Bernard Cornwell is true to form.

Then there is the historical context, and the painting of what was shortly to become "England". Here also, the author has been true to form, meaning excellent. One of the strongpoints of this book is to show that while King Alfred is commonly credited for having "saved" England from the Danes, more accurately, he saved Wessex, and there was still a chance that the largest part of the island would one day be called "Daneland", rather than England.

Among other features, the author shows to what extent the Scandinavians (they were not all Danes, even if these were probably a majority) had taken control of Northumbria, East Anglia and the northern part of Mercia, where they had settled in whet seems to be large numbers. The book contains several glimpses of these Danish settlers and the author contends through his characters (and directly in his historical note) that the survival of "Anglo-Saxon England" was not at all a given after the death of King Alfred.

Having mentioned this, the author does seem to have taken a few liberties with the history records. For instance, Chester (Ceaster), the old Roman legionary fortress of Deva, seems to have been reconquered by the Saxons a few years before the battle of Tettenhall, and, as Cornwell mentions, the Danish warlords that he includes in his story are mostly fictional. This, however, does not detract from the story in any way and, because of the paucity of the sources, the novelist has quite a lot of room to weave his story in between the few known facts that they mention.

The characterisation is perhaps where some readers may have this sense of "déjà vu" that I was mentioning earlier. Uthred, in particular, seems to be his usual swashbuckling but cunning self, and most of the other characters also seem to be true to form. None of this should come as a surprise, to the extent that the characters are still the same as ever, even if a little bit older, and not necessarily any wiser or milder than in previous episodes. Even there, however, there are a couple of interesting and somewhat original features.

One is the indulgent and somewhat amused attitude that Uthred's companions start to have when he is at his most threatening and blustering, although they are careful not to show their amusement until the warlord's gambles have either paid off or failed. This points to a key feature of the society at the time or at least of the war-like nobility in the British Isles, and in Northern Europe more generally. A warrior's reputation was everything, however terrified he might actually be, for instance when in the shield wall. Indeed, Bernard Cornwell yet again shows rather vividly how horrible and traumatising such an experience might have been.

Another feature, related to the first, is the rather dare-do, mischievous and sympathetic character of the very young Athelstan (the future king) who was indeed brought up at the court of Mercia alongside his aunt (the sister of Edward the Elder, and daughter of King Alfred). He could accordingly very well be part of this book. He shares at least some of Uthredd's adventures alongside "the Lady of Mercia."

I could go on, and on, but there is no need. Given all this, I simply cannot find any reason for rating the book less than five stars. For me at least, it was a superb read. I just hope it will work at least as well for you...
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Triumph!, 13 Dec. 2013
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
The perfect gift for all history enthusiasts is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

Once again Bernard Cornwell turns out a splendid page turner, he really is a consummate writer /story teller. In this sequel The Pagan Lord we find Uhtred on the wrong side of the new King and up against the heaviest opposition so far. The narrative is fast paced so much so that I found I was up until 2 in the morning as I had to find out what happened next. A thoroughly excellent read. For those who would like further information on this epoch, I highly recommend the OSPREY Campaign, Warrior, and men at arms booklets, with great overviews, excellent illustrations, and highly detailed maps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Uhtred rides (and sails and fights) again!, 13 Oct. 2013
By 
T. D. Welsh (Basingstoke, Hampshire UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 29 Mar. 2014
This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
Read in one day while I was ill, couldn't put it down. Love this series but this is the best yet, can't wait till next one comes out in October!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars more! Mr Cornwell please continue with this series!, 16 May 2014
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This series has gone from strength to strength, I have never felt so close to understanding what the Saxon warrior world must have been like.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How subtle must a warlord be?, 11 Oct. 2013
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
I am admittedly a Cornwell fan, so much so that I ordered this book in the UK and had it shipped, so I could read it as soon as possible, as opposed to waiting for the US release in January. Cornwell is the current master of the historical/war novel. He continues that quality of writing in this book. It is not as long as some of the other books in the series or as gory, although there is enough single and massed combat to satisfy all but the most sanguinary reader. What I found most compelling is that Cornwell has successfully aged Uthred. He is fifty now, not the headstrong bloodthirsty youth of the earlier novels. He is still very much the warrior, still flawed, but, as we follow his inner dialogue, more thoughtful more considerate, and much more aware of, and wrestling with, the issues around him. He cannot figure out the continuing rise of Christianity, and his questions are on point and humorous. He misses the friends of his youth and early maturity, while facing his hopes and concerns for his own children. There is more in his thoughts than the next battle or lust for a captured woman. The Pagan Lord is a deeper, more interesting protagonist than we have seen, and I admire Cornwell's skill in bringing out that facet of Uthred.

Would I have liked for the book to be longer? Yes, but that is true of almost every book I have read and liked. It is not short, and there is none of the printing gamesmanship of large type and extra spacing between lines present. I did not feel slighted in that regard. Neither do I understand the frustrations expressed about this novel not wrapping up Uthred's tale. I am delighted that it did not, even if a bit surprised. Hopefully, we shall have at least one more Saxon's tale, and I shall pursue that one across the Atlantic, also.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Why do we love him so much?, 25 Oct. 2013
This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
I've often asked myself: why do I like this guy? He's an insolent brute who even rejects his own son just because he becomes a Christian priest. Besides, the formula of how to write a "Warrior Chronicles" novel should be well-known up to now:
- the hero himself, bitter but somehow nevertheless likeable
- the Danes, always and still lusting for Saxon territory
- the journeys through Mercia, Wessex and so on and so forth, miles after miles in every part of the series
- the journey again, some of the miles covered by a dragon boat
- Uhtred's longing for his home: Bebbanburgh
- battles that always turn at least three times (hopeless, victory, hopeless again, no, it's victory)
- short shocking sentences hacking down on the reader like Uhtred's sword serpent breath at the end of a sequence or chapter (and so we rode south,.... and then Cnut came,... )
Yes, we've all read it before and we all know about the terror of a shieldwall by now and still-I love to read these books. I've often asked myself why. I think it is simply this: Uhtred dares to be what in our modern day society nobody can afford to be: an arrogant bastard who just chops people's heads off if he doesn't like them. In our day and age all our ape instinct has gone down the drain, or has to be oppressed, to be more exact. How wonderfully fulfilling reading about medieval times then can be. When life was as simple as writing a Cornwell book....
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The pagan Lord dark comedy., 5 Nov. 2013
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If you have read the previous books , you must read this, it's a slight return to form . There needs to be some conclusion . Otherwise it's just money for old rope . Bernard should kill off uhtred and bring on son of uhtred and send him on great adventures,win back his dad's castle maybe. Don't get me wrong I still enjoy the books ,but there starting to sound all alike. And in some cases funny when they shouldn't be. Please Bernard stop thinking of your pocket and think of your fans
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sticking it to the Vikings, 19 Mar. 2014
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
I have to admit that at first I felt this was a bit by the numbers, but then I realised it's been a while since I read the last book - I must start the series again ready for the 8th! Soon Cornwell has us by the scruff of the neck and throws Uhtred into battle and passing through good old Tamworth.

Don't like saying too much as I feel reviews can spoil the story for anyone who has yet to read it. Suffice to say this is a great addition to a fascinating series and I trust Cornwell will finish this unlike the Starbuck stories!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Top Notch Historical Fiction, 13 Dec. 2013
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) (Hardcover)
I love spending time on the ancient roads with Bernard Cornwell's characters and one of the more recent, Uhtred of Bebbanburg has been one that I've loved to hang around, especially during the chaotic time surround Alfred the Great. What his stories do is bring a chaotic time to the reader and allow them to immerse themselves in the bloody fields of war whilst also giving them a cracking story throughout.

Whilst this book has felt an age off coming, one of the things that has kept striking me throughout the whole series is when are we going to get to the characters own personal goals rather than his manipulation by those surrounding them. Its taken a long time to come round and to be honest I'm not sure how many more books the character has in him.

All round I have thoroughly enjoyed the story but the key thing with any of these books is that we know that the key character is never in any real danger (as he tells his tale from the future as an old man.) That detracts from the danger for me, and as such I do feel a little cheated as you known that no matter what the odds are he'll walk away alive. That really does irk me. That said, it is a cracking addition to the series and one that many readers will not wait to get their hands on, especially as the dark nights close in, with the home fires banked. What more could you wish for?
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The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7)
The Pagan Lord (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 7) by Bernard Cornwell (Hardcover - 26 Sept. 2013)
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