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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel which reaffirms my allegiance to the series
What a fabulous novel which breathes energy, new life and excitement back into a series which was beginning to feel a tad tired at the end of the last book.

At the end of book four, I felt as if the Uhtred saga was being drawn out too far and whilst I enjoyed the book I hoped Mr Cornwell would divert his skills to developing a new and original story. I was a...
Published on 6 Oct. 2009 by J. Cooper

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3.0 out of 5 stars The gods are capricious
This is the fifth and final in the series following the adventures of Uhtred in the time of Alfred the Great. Uhtred has grown up torn between his Anglo-Saxon blood and his Dane upbringing; like the land that becomes England, it takes him a long time to work out where he fits.

I really wanted to like this book; after all, I felt I had invested a lot of time and...
Published on 18 May 2011 by Keen Reader


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76 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent novel which reaffirms my allegiance to the series, 6 Oct. 2009
By 
J. Cooper (Sheffield, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
What a fabulous novel which breathes energy, new life and excitement back into a series which was beginning to feel a tad tired at the end of the last book.

At the end of book four, I felt as if the Uhtred saga was being drawn out too far and whilst I enjoyed the book I hoped Mr Cornwell would divert his skills to developing a new and original story. I was a little hesitant when beginning this book, I really wanted to like it as Bernard Cornwell is my favourite author and I didn't want to give any negative criticism to his latest work.

The Burning Land is truly excellent and the book allows Uhtred to taste some of the independence away from King Alfred which he has been craving for so long. This freedom has allowed the author to experiment and throw Uhtred into new plots and adventures. The pace is relentless and Uhtred is swiftly covering most of the Isle in search of a purpose, allegiance and identity. However, it is not long before old oaths and promises are called upon and the Norns which have always governed Uhtred's life laugh in his face when he establishes his independent purpose in life.

My only criticism against this book and it is truly out of pure selfishness, is the length. With Mr Cornwell biding his time before releasing a new book, we have an agonising wait before his newest novel is published. With only 336 pages, I soon devoured the book and was lamenting the impending finish which sadly, came too quickly!

Bernard Cornwell fans will definitely not be disappointed with this fifth book of the series. It is a `must read' and certainly sets up sound foundations for the next book of the series. Buy it, enjoy it but be prepared for the torturous wait for the sixth book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uhtred the Magnificent, 6 Dec. 2009
By 
Gareth Wilson - Falcata Times Blog "Falcata T... - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
OK, I'm going to hold my hands up here. I'm a huge fan of Bernard's writing and I've really fallen for this series set in the time of Alfred and told from the perspective of one of Bernard's ancestors. What you get is full tilt no hold barred combative fiction from the very get go. It's a cracking series and if I'm honest perhaps my favourite to date. How can I tell?

Well I put this title on the backburner for a while as a novel to cheer me up when I felt down. Not only did it pick me up but it was a tale that I really wished I'd rationed as I just devoured the novel looking up after putting it down to realise the ridiculous time and wondering how best to call in sick for work in a few hours time. Yeah, I know, that's bad but when a book gets you as much as Cornwell's writing draws me in, it's can be painful to put it down especially when you're right in the midst of battle.

As usual a great offering and one that continues to spread the fame of the warriors from the north. Beautifully told with neither side being portrayed as truly good or evil but the subtle shades of grey it's a story that will do as much for the Historical Fiction genre as David Gemmell did for fantasy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent sequel by the master of historical fiction., 9 May 2015
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The perfect to companion to this superb work is THE ROMA VICTRIX WINE BEAKERCalix Imperium, Roma Victrix Pewter wine beaker

In the fifth installment of British author Bernard Cornwell's Saxon stories, The Burning Land, Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg continues his fight for Alfred of Wessex, bound by oath. It is 893 and the Danes are massing again, planning yet another invasion of the Saxon lands in their never ending dream of conquering England for themselves.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Burning Land. Alfred of Wessex had two goals in life - the Christianisation of England and the unification of the petty English kingdoms under one king in a land free of pagans and Danes. That story was firmly continued in this novel as the Saxons went on the offensive against two huge Danish armies, once again destroying their power bases in the south and staving off any possibility of defeat.

As a read, this is superb, and follows the Cornwell style of a cracking action-adventure tale with strong characters and story, ferocious enemies, new-found love and loss. The action is well told and helps to complete the tale of England's oft forgotten past by painting the picture of two of the most important battles in the Saxon-Danish war. But it's also enjoyable for the evolution of Uhtred's own story and his quest to capture the lands that belong to him by birth, and I think readers of the series will find that particularly enjoyable. As I have said before, I heartily recommend this series for anyone a fan of Cornwell, action-adventure and war-based historical fiction, pre-Norman English history and the Vikings.
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55 of 65 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A return to form (of sorts...), 2 Oct. 2009
By 
Magic Lemur (Somewhere in Madagascar) - See all my reviews
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Men in the modern world are weak and puny compared to their ancient counterparts. Of course, there are exceptions but generally the lack of famine, war, pestilence & death make many men into weak molly-coddled metrosexuals without rough edges or depth of character.

This is why I absolutely LOVE this series - Uhtred is such a remorselessly tough individual & the tales are so raw in their violence that you feel you have had the 'animal spirit' inside of you reawakened! Such is the vividness of the writing that you can easily imagine being a Viking/ Saxon bounding across the plains of Wessex ready to slaughter & rout your enemies!

The 1st three books were great (partly because they followed a well-trodden formula from the Grail quests etc but mostly because they were epic). Sword Song (Alfred the Great 4) was bad though, & I was concerned this book would be equally lacklustre.

Luckily it is powerfully written & Uhtred is no longer a tame, West-Saxon family man but is taken to the pits of despair in as many ways as the author can conjure. He also has a host of warriors, who are well fleshed-out characters & the wide scope of the story mean he has to take on a Witch (in the form of Skade), a den of Pirates in Holland, two Viking warlords and, inevitably, his Uncle (who we finally encounter outside Bebbanburg).

The story has enough twists & turns to keep the reader interested & has a rich variety of places & people that Uhtred meets that make this story interesting & add potential for future books.

Sadly (for those who have read his other books or the 'Sharpe' Novels) the formula of Cornwell novels creeps in a little too often. Uhtred is different to Sharpe as they are good/ evil in different ways. However their similarities are very prominent (e.g. their tactical brilliance yet lack of candour) & this can become nauseous. Furthermore the plot to this book is very similar to Sword Song) (big battle, politics and then a battle at Benfleet) and although this could be poetic, I think that Mr Cornwell needs to go back to university & learn some new formula's for his stories!

That said, this book is mostly a return to form & I'd say it was the equal of The Last Kingdom (Alfred the Great 1), but probably not The Pale Horseman (Alfred the Great 2) or The Lords of the North (Alfred the Great 3). Still, if you want a novel that is easy to read, educational (without being heavyweight) & that will reawaken the spirit of our ancestor's, then this book comes highly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfying...but with small flaws, 13 July 2012
By 
N. Dodd (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Burning Land (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 5) (Kindle Edition)
I'm an avid follower of Cornwell's alternative Anglo-Saxon Chronicles (i.e. the Uhtred Chronicles), and I've re-read the full set on a number of occasions now. They stand up very well to that by the way, but this book, as with all of them after "The Pale Horseman" in my view, lacks a little of the gripping prose and the first two books. I tend to agree with other reviewers in that I think Cornwell loses some interest after a while, and although he delivers in terms of a well researched book (as he almost always does) this apparent lack of interest shows through in small details, like Steapa's character, who from being extremely slow and barely able to put a sentence together in the first books is now, by this book, positively erudite. There is a similar drift in a few other characters, although not to the extent of Steapa's, and I put that down to Cornwell's going through the motions a bit.

That said, it's definitely worth buying. It's still a very good yarn, and I was caught up in it just as I always am (I do disagree with other reviewers who think that the storylines aren't too convincing later on--they're all good in my opinion, this one included). I also think his characterisation is pretty good--I have a very clear picture in my mind's eye of Uhtred himself, and Alfred and other main protagonists are well sketched in my view. That said, this is a historical novel and, in essence, escapism, so don't expect high powered, "challenging" literature.

In summary: It's a very satisfying read and another excellent instalment in the series.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The gods are capricious, 18 May 2011
By 
Keen Reader "lhendry4" (Auckland, New Zealand) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This is the fifth and final in the series following the adventures of Uhtred in the time of Alfred the Great. Uhtred has grown up torn between his Anglo-Saxon blood and his Dane upbringing; like the land that becomes England, it takes him a long time to work out where he fits.

I really wanted to like this book; after all, I felt I had invested a lot of time and energy in the first four books, and really felt that the pressure was on this book to make that all worthwhile in its rounding off of the story in a satisfactory way.

To be honest, I was a bit disappointed. I've tried to be fair, and consider these books now as a remembrance of Uhtred as he is old and perhaps his memory is not quite what it used to be. But, honestly, I got rather tired of absolutely everybody except Uhtred being completely useless (except perhaps for Aethelflaed, who still seemed to get herself into more predicaments than she had a right to). Poets bore him, monks annoy him, he's irresistible to every woman, especially enemy women ... I find it hard to believe that Alfred was a weakling; that Aethelred of Mercia wasn't worth the horse he rode; that Aelswith was a screaming shrew; that Edward the Atheling was a blushing teenager; that Asser was a nasty "earsling". Really? Sigh ... So, to be charitable I take these books as the memoirs of an old man who perhaps has "embellished" them to be rather Uhtred-centric.

Overall, I think this series of books encompasses a great story about an amazing time in English history, which deserves to be told again by another author.

For readers who have worked their way through this series, you may also like to try The Viking Trilogy series of books by Tim Severin - (1) Odinn's Child, (2) Sworn Brother, (3) King's Man - I thoroughly enjoyed those three books.
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5.0 out of 5 stars English v Danes... but not the World Cup, 8 Jun. 2010
By 
Amazon Customer "paul m" (Benfleet) - See all my reviews
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Alfred has stabilised Wessex but the Danes continue to be a thorn in the side of the English. Uhtred once again finds his loyalties divided as his oath to Alfred conflicts with his desire to return to Viking dominated Northumbria and reclaim his usurped birth rite. This book contains all your would expect of a Cornwell book; blood, guts, battles, politics & superstition and brings us up to the Battle of Benfleet in 894.

Cornwell writes to a fairly consistent formula, and does it well in an authoritative and believable manner. Basically, he takes historical fact (the Saxon-Dane struggle), overlays his own story (Uthred's tale) and then fleshes it out with his stock set pieces (shield walls, seiges etc). I'm not sure how historically accurate some of these set pieces are as they are used repeatedly throughout the Arthur Warlord saga and the Harlequin books a period covering the best part of a millenium, but to be honest does it really matter as it makes a good page-turning read.

This is the 5 book in the Alfred series, and like all the books in this and Cornwell's other English series, it maintains a high standard. This book was of particular interest to me as Cornwell is a local from my neck of the woods and I live only a few hundred yards from the site of the little known but influential Battle of Benfleet. Reading Cornwell's books certainly make you appreciate that England is full of history, much of it on your doorstep if only you care to look.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate, 3 Nov. 2009
By 
P. A. Abrahams (London, UK) - See all my reviews
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It seems that it has been a long time coming. At last the saga continues, whether there will be a 6th episode only time will tell. I have been reading Bernard Cornwell for twenty years, he must rank as one of the greatest story-tellers, it starts from the first page and all too often, before you realise it, it ends on the last page. It has everything you need from a story, often based on truthful research, with high adventure, romance,battle scenes to rival over, good guys and bad. It basically is the complete story. I would recommend this and others to all!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Back to his Best!, 6 Oct. 2009
Well the Uhtred story had started to lose a little of its momentum following the slightly lacklustre Sword Song.

The Burning Land is much more like it! Vivid confrontation, trajedy, betrayal, redemption and even a little Viking action, with Uhtred at the prow!

Cornwell really has historical fiction nailed down. He has an instinct for which bit of history make for the best drama and is a master of engaging your emotions. He uses many of the same plot devices here that Sharpe fans will be so familiar with. Untrustworthy women, savage comrades, loathsome allies and more enemies than you can shake an axe at.

Uhtred makes for a very compelling central figure, impulsive, brutal, infuriating and slightly psychopathic. He mixes a delicious bit of 'darkside' into the goodguy role in the way early Bond films did. A hero who is as ruthless and savage as the baddies.

Minor Spoilerage ahead!

My only negative is that the story seemed to conclude a 100 pages too soon. Both in terms of the books length and in the fact Wessex and Mercia were still knee deep in Danes!
I don't know whether Cornwell will pick up the story where he stops here but it did feel a little unsatisfactory.

End of spoilers.

I did think this might be my last adventure with Uhtred and the Saxons but after this return to form I now can't wait for the next one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars More wonderful Dark Age stuff, 30 Oct. 2009
By 
P. Orr "Philip Orr" (Isle of Wight) - See all my reviews
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I became interested in Bernard Cornwell's writing through his Arthurian novels. They are as good as any I have read. Indeed, his visceral descriptions of life - and death - in the shield wall are second to none.

Over the years I've tried to get into his Sharpe and US Civil War chronicles but I don't find them as captivating. I guess it is because I have an understanding of these relatively recent periods of history. The Dark Ages however give Mr Cornwell the chance to describe a period we know little about. He does so wonderfully.

The Burning Land is the 5th novel of Uhtred of Northumbria. Set in the reign of Alfred the Great, it continues to tell how Alfred's Wessex survived the Norse invasions. It captures all the political, racial and religious conflicts of the age in which England was born. Cornwell's characters are well drawn and lead the reader through the halls of kings and warlords, churches, convents, villages and fortresses to the bloody battlefields of Alfred's time. It is a stonking good read!

I urge you NOT to buy this book. At least, not until you have read the other four. It is an investment you will not regret.
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