Review: Lord of the North – Bernard Cornwell
Good afternoon everyone!!
I’ve had a busy week this week and I’m going to be catching up with you all today on the books I have been reading.
I finished Lords of the North last Sunday night and as yet had not made time to post the review – apologies! Goodreads is nagging me because I am behind schedule for my sixty book challenge this year.
I have also been reading Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers by none other than J. R. R. Tolkien for the majority of this week – finishing that last night and today I have re-read Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, which I initially read at school. I will be posting reviews of all of these books today so please go check them out. I know some people dislike multiple postings in a day, but hopefully now I am back on track and I won’t have to do it again.
So first I am going to be talking to you about Lords of the North – the third installment in which we follow Uhtred and the war between the English and the Danes, following their invasion of England.
GoodReads – Lords of the North
Enter a world where bloody battles, and heroic deeds combine in the historic struggle to unite Britain in the face of a common enemy.
The third instalment in Bernard Cornwell’s King Alfred series, follows on from the outstanding previous novels The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman.
The year is 878 and the Vikings have been thrown out of Wessex. Uhtred, fresh from fighting for Alfred in the battle to free Wessex, travels north to seek revenge for his father’s death, killed in a bloody raid by Uhtred’s old enemy, renegade Danish lord, Kjartan.
While Kjartan lurks in his formidable stronghold of Dunholm, the north is overrun by chaos, rebellion and fear. Together with a small band of warriors, Uhtred plans his attack on his enemy, revenge fuelling his anger, resolute on bloody retribution. But, he finds himself betrayed and ends up on a desperate slave voyage to Iceland. Rescued by a remarkable alliance of old friends and enemies, he and his allies, together with Alfred the Great, are free to fight once more in a battle for power, glory and honour.
‘The Lords of the North’ is a tale of England’s making, a powerful story of betrayal, struggle and romance, set in an England torn apart by turmoil and upheaval.
I made a start on this series this year having discovered that the TV series, which I love, was based on these books! I loved the first series and so when the second series started, I began catching up with the books! This book picks up the beginning of the second series and much to my delight, there aren’t particularly any discrepancies between book and show. The only thing that crossed my mind was that one of the characters on the slave ship in the show (Hallig) was never in the book, but that is literally all. Inevitably comparisons will always be made when shows/films are based on books – some are better than others.
I actually found this book slightly easier to read than the previous two and I think it’s because we could relate to him more. The story flows very well and we get to see a refreshing development of character for Uhtred. As a general rule he is very self-confident, cocky even – he conveys a sense of self-importance and angers at the smallest sleight against him. Admittedly he knows as a Saxon born man who was raised as a Dane; he is in a unique position and knows how to use it.
In this book we see him mature; from the beginning of the book we start with Uhtred as a 21 year old young man, back from war feeling underappreciated by King Alfred… again. Whilst traveling back to Northumbria he encounters Sven and old bitter resentment returns. Throughout the book he endures at least two and a half years in slavery and then returns to England to face the man that put him in chains. Old Uhtred would have gutted that man, regardless of who he was, but I think his time as a slave must have both humbled him and given him time to think because he in fact forgives Guthred and saves him from the clutches of the other lords of the North – including Kjartan, with whom Uhtred and Ragnar have a bloodfeud.
As ever there are epic battles, daring missions and all too human struggles as Uhtred finds himself in the centre of all the conflict. Fate is inexorable, and I cannot wait to see what the three spinners bring Uthred next.