Sword Song: The Battle For London

Published By: Harper Paperbacks

Book Category: Fiction, Historical

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Reviewed by Diane Snyder

It is a divided England in 885 and Alfred the Great rules Wessex. Who rules is determined by the strength and the might of his armies, and the laws are made on the whims of the one in power. It is a time when mystery, mystism and magic explain the things unknown and the old gods and the God of Christianity are still vying for dominance.

Armies of marauding Norsemen have recently occupied Lundene (London), posing a threat to Wessex. Alfred wants Lundene retaken, not only to be rid of the threat, but to be a wedding gift to his daughter. Uhtred, Lord of Bebbanburg (later called Bamburgh or Northumberland) under oath to Alfred is to capture Lundene. It is Uhtred’s despised cousin, Aethelred, who is to marry Alfred’s daughter and along with Lundene, Aethelred will be placed as ealdorman (alderman) of Mercia under the rule of Alfred.

With a reputation as a fierce and ruthless warlord, Uhtred is also shrewd, experienced and not without his own ambitions. Pursuing his own agendas and with unexpected distractions and treacherous obstacles arising, Uhtred and his army are thrown into more than one battle in his quest to secure Lundene for Alfred. The battles are wonderfully and believably depicted as the author takes you through each slash and swing of swords and axes.

Sword Song is the fourth in a continuing series entitled The Saxon Tales featuring the Saxon, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. This newest addition to the series is easily read out of sequence and Cornwell has seamlessly given you background on Uhtred that helps you to understand who and what he is. Writing historical novels that blend facts with fiction and real and fictitious characters, the author transports you back in time, setting scenes that are rich in detail and creating breathtaking adventures that hold true to the era. Cornwell uses the old English spellings for places but a “Place-Name” reference is provided.

If you have not treated yourself to one of Bernard Cornwell’s historic epics, this is a good one to start with. It will make you a ”˜forever’ fan.

Armchair Interviews agrees.

Author’s Web site: http://BernardCornwell.net

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