33 of 43 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Falls a little short in comparison with the last three, 28 Sept. 2007
The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, and Lords of the North were all incredible novels, and set us up for an excellent introduction to Uhtred's character. With Sword Song completed, I still feel that Uhtred is the single greatest character in the history of novels and movies, but his tale fell a little short in this novel. A couple of scenes seemed a little too "miraculous," and Uhtred even says that more than once in this particular novel, things like "I should have died then, but the boat gave a sudden lurch," etc. Things like that are a little disappointing if they are brought up again and again. Repetitions are also littered through Sword Song, of pasts and histories that have already been drilled into our heads, sometimes bringing up the same thing 3 or 4 times in the same novel. Cornwell should understand that as readers of the series, with one book put out every year, we get it already and know what he's speaking of. Lastly the novel was, as many people before me have already said, too short. It was just over 300 pages, hardcover, and fell a bit short of my expectations because of this as well. For those who are hoping to see Ragnar, don't get your hopes up. His name is mentioned perhaps a dozen times in the book but the beloved character makes no appearance. As for the actual story, some things seem strangely put together, and that is probably hugely due to the amount of fiction in this tale as opposed to Cornwell's previous three. He even says that this is the book he's taken the most liberty with, including the main point of the plot. Bravo Bernard, but bump it up a couple notches on the next one for us. Uhtred deserves it.