dinsdag 28 februari 2017

"The Lords of the North" by Bernard Cornwell

"It was the year 878, I was twenty-one years old and believed my swords could win me the whole world. I was Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the man who had killed Ubba Lothbrokson beside the sea and who had spilled Svein of the White Horse from his saddle at Ethandun. I was the man who had given Alfred his kingdom back and I hated him."

Uhtred of Bebbanburg played a major part in defeating the Danes and helping King Alfred secure Wessex. But still Alfred looks down on Uthred, because he isn't Christian. While other warriors receive lands and riches for their service to the king, all Uhtred gets are some trifles.

Disgusted by the way he has been treated, Uhtred decides to leave Wessex and ride north to finally take revenge on the Dane Kjaertan, who killed his adoptive father. In Northumbria, he joins the slave-turned-king Guthred and instantly falls in love with Gisela, Guthred's sister. But then Uhtred is betrayed by someone he considered a friend, and forced into slavery. For Uthred, though, this is just a minor setback in his quest for revenge.

This is part three of the "The Last Kingdom" series, which recounts the rule of Alfred the Great, seen through the eyes of the fictional Uthred. Like the first two books, "The Lords of the North" is pacey and the characters are interesting. The flimsy historical records are used to great effect, but as not much is known about the time and place, most of the story is pure fiction. Uhtred is an odd character - he's obnoxious, arrogant, cruel and frustratingly over-confident, but the author still manages to make him likeable. There's a striking amount of humour in this book, most of it provided by Uhtred's irony and sarcasm. Another excellent read. On to book four...
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Title: The Lords of the North
Publisher: Harper, London
Year: 2016 (orig. 2006)
Number of pages: 383 p.
ISBN: 9780007219704

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