Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Review: Bernard Cornwell's The Burning Land

I always enjoy Bernard Cornwell. Whether he's writing about the Napoleanic wars, King Arthur, or this series, his Viking series, I can always expect a rip-roaring yarn with plenty of combat, political intrigue, and sly humor.
Burning Land contains all of these usual suspects. Uhtred still is fixated on getting back his ancestral home, Bamburg Castle, stolen by his treacherous uncle. Incidentally, Bamburg Castle is Cornwell's ancestral home as well, so the author has a personal attachment to this story. Uhtred has developed a grudging respect for King Alfred, but doesn't want to be tied to the royal heir, Edward. His vows, however, will come back to haunt him just when he thinks he has broken free.
If you're ready to know what it was like to fight in a shieldwall, the logistics of bringing an army cross-country, and are interested in the medieval struggle between Christianity and paganism, this is the book for you. Be warned; there are bloody bits. But if you're looking for history brought to life in all its glory and ugliness, then read on.
On a side note, this book premiered at #10 on the bestseller list. I think Cornwell has another winner on his hands.

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