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Lords of the North    by Bernard Cornwell Amazon.com order for
Lords of the North
by Bernard Cornwell
Order:  USA  Can
HarperCollins, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Audio, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Alex Telander

In Lords of the North, Bernard Cornwell, a wonderful historical writer, brings us the third in his increasingly popular Saxon Chronicles. In them he tells the story of King Alfred the Great's life and his work in unifying many small kingdoms into the country we know today as England.

We continue with our hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who has just helped Alfred maintain control over the land of Wessex, preventing invasion by the Danes. Angered by Alfred's piety (making every decision according to God), Uhtred flees to Northumbria, still hoping one day to defeat his uncle and take back his beloved Bebbanburg. It is here that he meets old Danish friends, and before he realizes what's going on, a deal has been brokered to maintain peace in Northumbria in return for Uhtred's enslavement. The many lords of the region are happy to get rid of this formidable warrior and his blood-stained blade, Serpent-Breath.

Uhtred, stripped of his title and power, then spends most of the book suffering the abuse and torture of a slave on a trading ship traveling along the Flemish coast, and back and forth between Britain and the mainland. On a number of occasions they face off again a red ship, a trader like them. Upon returning to the original place where Uhtred was sold so that more slaves can be bought the red ship appears out of nowhere and beaches on shore. Foreign Danes stream out and Uhtred soon finds himself face to face with the man who raised him.

Eventually he discovers that it is thanks to Alfred's help that he has received his emancipation. His title, weapons, and armor restored - along with more allies from the south forming a considerable army - Uhtred and his allies set out to defeat the lesser heathen lords and regain control of the kingdom of Northumbria. The book ends with the reader contemplating what is next for Uhtred. Will he regain control of his land? Will he remain a lone pagan among Christians? Sadly, we will have to wait another year before we can read more about Uhtred of Bebbanburg and his adventures during the reign of Alfred the Great.

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