Tuesday, February 25, 2020

My Washington Times Review Of Bernard Cornwell's 'Sword Of Kings'

The Washington Times published my review of Bernard Cornwell’s Sword of Kings.

I first became acquainted with Bernard Cornwell by watching the “Sharpe” TV series, which was based on his historical novels that featured Richard Sharpe, portrayed by actor Sean Bean, a Napoleonic-era British soldier up from the ranks. Bernard Cornwell described Richard Sharpe as a rogue, but a rogue on our side.

I read the entire Sharpe series and I went on to read his other historical fiction, including his Saxon stories. The Saxon stories cover the bloody path that led to the creation of England in the 9th and 10th centuries.

The hero of the Saxon stories is Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a Saxon lord from Northumbria who was captured by the Danes as a young man and adopted into their tribe. He later fights for Alfred the Great, the King of Wessex.

Alfred the Great’s dream was to unite the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms into one kingdom called England. Mr. Cornwell’s Saxon stories were adapted for television and called “The Last Kingdom,” with actor Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred. The series appears on Netflix.

In Mr. Cornwell’s “King of Swords,” the 12th installment in the Saxon stories, Uhtred, who narrates the stories, becomes involved in the succession of Alfred the Great’s son, King Edward. Edward rules over Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia, and as he lay dying, Uhtred swears an oath to Edward’s likely successor, Aethelstan, to kill his rivals to the throne, Aethelhelm and his evil and rotten nephew, Aelfweard.

Uthred, a pagan and a feared warrior, would like to sit out the medieval game of thrones, but the oath is important to him, although he calls it a “fool’s errand.” With a small army he boards “Spearharfoc,” a warship equipped with sail and 40 rowers, and sails into the fray.

Uthred is soon engaged in numerous sea and land battles, which Mr. Cornwell describes in vivid and accurate historical detail. 

You can read the rest of the review via the below link:


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