9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
More death and mayhem with Uhtred,
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This review is from: Sword Song (The Alfred Series, Book 4) (Alfred the Great 4) (Paperback)
In this, the fourth of the chronicles of Uhtred and the birth of the English nation under Alfred, the year is now 885 and the Danes appear to have been subdued. The treaty with Guthrum has the Danes settled in their own area of the Danelaw and the remainder of the Anglo Saxon kingdoms are apparently quiet; Alfred is now looking to consolidate his hold over the whole kingdom. This should be the high point for Alfred and all to look forward to from here; if he can keep his nephew Aethelwold from causing trouble, and hold off any more potential Dane incursions, hopefully he can bring Christianity to the whole country and start to rebuild under his own dynasty.
But for Uhtred things are not so straightforward, as the Norse under the Thurgilson brothers arrive in Lundene from Frankia. Alfred wants Uhtred's cousin Aethelred to be King of Mercia so tasks Uhtred with tidying up the problem in Lundene. While Uhtred is, as always, happy to fight and kill, he's not so happy to be involved in Alfred's schemes. All Uhtred really wants is to go home to Bebbanberg and reclaim his inheritance. But, he is a warrior and must do as a warrior does. I didn't count up the number of who died in this book, but I think it was a lot! Life sure was hard, short and brutal in those days.
Other reviewers of this book have complained that it lacks action, and that the story is stretched beyond its limits. I think that this story stands quite well in the series of five books about Uhtred, as in this one some years have passed since the last book, and relationships have settled. Uhtred finds himself content with his wife, Alfred's children are growing and demanding attention, the Danes are shifting their attention and their allegiances. I think that this book really acts as a stepping stone from the action that filled the first three books to the settlement of the many threads of the story hopefully in the fifth book. I guess we'll just have to see when I get to it. Still, recommended.