The Pagan Lord: A Novel (Saxton Tales) by Bernard Cornwell

The Pagan Lord

Reviewed by Teri Davis

England had numerous battles in their early years after the fall of the Roman Empire to determine the dream of ruling the entire island. Between the ever-invading Vikings and the constant fighting with the Saxons, sometimes it seems amazing that anyone lived to tell the history.

In Bernard Cornwell’s novel *The Pagan Lord*, this is the tale of whether this island will be England or Daneland.

Edward is now king but the Danish Vikings still hold much of what we now know as northern England. Leading these Danes is Cnut Longsword who views victory as within their foreseeable future.

Untred was Alfred’s legendary warrior. Alfred is dead with Edward his successor. Unfortunately, aging and old wounds are beginning to slow down Untred’s body, but not his spirit. He still strongly follows the gods of the north and views this new Christianity as a threat, even to disowning his own son. Also the new king does not actually like or trust Untred.

Untred is to go to the north and to gain control of his family home, Bebbanburg. He is knows the area well and is baffled of how his small group can possibly capture this impregnable fortress.

Bernard Cornwell creates a novel of Old England that is easy to understand and visualize. With names and places that are strange and foreign to us today, amazingly the story is easy to follow and comprehend. He does include a rough translation of the places as well as a map to assist the reader.

What is fascinating were the ever-changing loyalties due to heritage or religion, Saxon vs. Viking, and Christianity intermixed with the Norse gods. While the Saxons worshipped the nailed one, Christianity was also moving into the Danes frequently splitting loyalties of heritage.

In the introductory pages of this novel is a family tree of the royal family of Essex. With many of the names being unfamiliar to those who did not grow up in England, this page is extremely helpful with the names and their relationships.

Bernard Cornwell currently resides in the U.S. at either Cape Cod or in Charleston, South Carolina. He is the best selling author of numerous historical series including the Sharpe series, The Saxon Tales of which this book is included, The Grail Quest series, The Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles, The Warlord Chronicles, The Sailing Thrillers, and many other novels.

This series featuring Untred is outstanding. The character as a not always
likeable but real person comes to life through Cornwell’s writing. The reader can understand his prejudices while still viewing him as a crafty, skilled, and ruthless warrior. This manner of reliving history through Untred is phenomenal.

Did you ever wish for the good old days? Then, definitely read Bernard Cornwell’s books.

Click Here to Purchase The Pagan Lord: A Novel (Saxon Tales)

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