Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Burning Land!

So I bought The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell this weekend. Read it Saturday night and finished it Sunday morning. An excellent read if you are inclined towards books about brutal dark age warfare. This is actually the latest in a series from Cornwell, which includes The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, and Sword Song. While this one works fairly well as a stand alone story, I do recommend reading them in order.

This is the ongoing tale of Uhtred of Bebbanberg, a (fictitious) Saxon general who helps lead Alfred the Great's armies in their desperate defense of Wessex against the Vikings. Without spoiling too much, Uhtred hates working for Alfred, and has been looking for a way out of his service since the first book. In this title he nearly succeeds, but is recalled to the Saxon cause by a half forgotten oath to Aethelflaed, Alfred's daughter.

I like this series, partly due to the realistic and compelling depiction of Saxon and Viking warfare, and dark age life in general. Another secret to this series' success is the character of Uhtred, an anti-hero who is easy to see in your own personality. He seems like a dark age version of Cornwell's other anti-hero, Richard Sharpe, but it's best not to think too deeply on that subject.

A good read, and one I recommend picking up if you like the genre.


Steven said...

I've just finished Sword Song and need to go buy Burning Land. This is a great series by Cornwell. Is it for sure going to be the last book in the series?


CounterFett said...
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CounterFett said...

No, I don't think so. The period of the Viking wars that Uhtred, Alfred, and the gang would have been involved in goes on quite a bit longer, and Cornwell leaves the postscript at the end that Uhtred will be campaigning again.

Steven said...

That's what I was thinking. It seems like I read there would be 2 or 3 more after this one.