9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Lords of the North (The Warrior Chronicles, Book 3) (Paperback)
The third book in this series is better than the second. For a start, the plot is much more involving, even if the ending is a little predictable. But the journey to the end is interesting. The book moves the focus of activity to Northumbria. As Bernard always is able to do, he creates an exciting and believable backdrop of ruthless political infighting in the old kingdom of Northumbria. Uthred finds himself as an advisor to the Northumbrian King, who is keen to emulate Alfred, asking of each difficult situation what Alfred would do. Uthred finds himself, for the first time time the series, praising Alfred's foresight and wisdom. He learns through others of Alfred's cunning political machinations, and acquires an increasing respect for him. Partly because of this, you even begin to warm to Uthred a little.
Alfred only appears once or twice in the book, and it is all the stronger for it. He is very much the unseen hand - people do his work be it consciously or unconsciously. You believe that he really is the king, which was a real stretch of the imagination in the first and second books. Somehow in this book Bernard makes Alfred more enigmatic, whereas in the previous two, he was just a fish out of water, and mostly helpless. In short, it's a marked improvement on the previous book.
Overall, I think this series is a moderate success, and is fairly similar in strengths and weaknesses to Bernard's two other series. In each series, the first novel is an absolute treat as you become absorbed into the exciting and believable world Bernard has created. The second and third books don't live up to the same standard. It might make it a little more interesting in future if Bernard came up with a character that had some weaknesses in future. Perhaps the biggest problem is that all the main characters in each of the series are warriors/soldiers, brave, fearless, indomitable - and it's never a matter of if they will succeed, but how. It pretty much eliminates any sense of suspense.