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Lords of the North

Lords of the North - Bernard Cornwell It's Danes versus Saxons in a fight for the right to rule over a cold, wet island soon to be known as England, as depicted by these toys in this unrealistic setting...


Our hero Uhtred is still at it, trying to regain what is rightfully his, the impregnable fortress Bebbanburg. But as usual, a bunch of assholes stand in his way.

Sorry for cussing just then. However, if you've read any of Bernard Cornwell's books before, you're probably not too shocked by it. The only thing that might've surprised you is that I didn't say "bastard" instead. It was a favored slur during just about any time-period the author has written in and he's put it to good use.

Cornwell is a master of historical fiction and excels at adding in appropriate details. Slavery goes back a long time in the British Isles and the author uses it with good effect in his Lords of the North plot, excellently describing one form of enforced servitude for the benefit of his readers who dig history. Through out this series, I've enjoyed the layer of Christianity vs paganism he's laid over the background. And his descriptions of fortifications and warfare add a nice touch to these battle-heavy books. However, he really laid it on thick with the shield-wall this time around. The shield-wall was a very important battle strategy for the time and Cornwell has his characters utilize the shield-wall quite often, which is fine, but did he have to constantly mention "shield-wall" every fricking time a shield-wall came into play in this shield-wally story?.....SHIELD-WALL!

My read of Lords... took off and flew for the first three fourths, but sputtered and came to a temporary halt just before the end. I left it untouched for days at a time, dragging out the last couple chapters over the course of three weeks. Why? There were too many climactic scenes. After Uhtred and Co. succeed in capturing Dunholm and reuniting the beat-down Thyra with her brother Ragnar in a very emotional scene I kind of blew my load. I just wasn't in the mood anymore. But the story goes on and ties up everything nicely that could need tying up, except of course Uhtred's Bebbanburg issue, which - let's be realistic - won't be cleared up until Cornwell decides he's ready to write the final book in this series.

To wrap up, this is another fine edition in the Bernard Cornwell library of highly enjoyable, action-adventure based, historical fiction. I'll go 3.49 stars on this one. It was a 4-star good time until the end.