Lords of the North (Saxon Stories #3) by Bernard Cornwell


Rating: 9/10

Synopsis

After achieving victory at King Alfred’s side, Uhtred of Bebbanburg is returning to his home in the North, finally free of his allegiance to the King—or so he believes. An encounter with a vicious slave trader introduces Uhtred to Guthred, the self-proclaimed King of Northumbria. Curious about Guthred’s astounding claim, Uhtred follows him north. But he soon discovers fate has another incredible surprise in store, and begins an unexpected journey that climaxes in the midnight siege of a city thought impregnable—a dangerous seige that results in the forging of England. Lords of the North is a powerful story of betrayal, romance and struggle, set in an England of turmoil, upheaval and glory.

Review

“I was just twenty-one and my name was known wherever men sharpened swords. I was a warrior. A sword warrior, and I was proud of it.”

Gather round, for this is a tale of the making of England. A tale of warriors and cowards. A story of vicious conflict. Of shield walls, Danes, and Saxons. Kings and would be Kings. Within these pages you will find love, loss, friendship, and betrayal. Welcome back to the Saxon Stories.

I am not surprised that Lords of the North was a win for me. After loving the tv show that was based on this series and really enjoying the first two books, I came into this book with high expectations. I was not disappointed in the least!

This third of 13 books in the Saxon Stories series once again follows the single POV of Uhtred, son of Uhtred as he goes on his adventures in the land that will one day be England. I love following Uhtred. Cornwell has written a character that feels so real. He is complex in his motivations. Uhtred is a man of passion that makes mistakes and lets his emotions rule him at times. He is also brave, a bold strategist, cunning, kind, loyal, and a man of integrity. At this point I can say that Uhtred is one of the most well written characters I’ve ever read.

“Of the stupidity of men there seems no end.”

I also really enjoyed the side characters in this one. Finnan especially was a favorite and I can’t wait to see more of his and Uhtred’s friendship. Father Beocca, Hilde, Guthred, Ragnar, and Gisela are a few others that stand out in this story.

The battles and action in general in this series are always fantastic and Lords of the North was no exception to that rule. Cornwell has a way of making you feel like you are in the shield wall or there watching Uhtred as he cuts down his enemies. The action is always high stakes and you never know who will make it out of the fight alive.

The plot in this one was fast paced at times and filled with intrigue and hardship at others. I thought Cornwell did a really good job of pacing so that there was always something happening to hold my attention and keep me reading.

Lords of the North combined Uhtred’s compelling voice, a fascinating world of Danes and Saxons, and a plot that kept me constantly invested to make this the best entry in the Saxon Stories yet!

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