Adam B. Vary
January 18, 2008 AT 05:00 AM EST

Sword Song

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Bernard Cornwell
publisher
HarperCollins
genre
Fiction, History

We gave it a B+

There’s not much that’s exactly new in the fourth of Bernard Cornwell’s Saxon Tales, Sword Song, set in an enjoyably brutal ninth-century England, but we’re not complaining. Yet again, the brash pagan warrior Uhtred must grudgingly serve the pious Christian king Alfred — this time retaking the old Roman city of Lundene from the marauding Danes, to whom Uhtred feels much closer. As expected, the warfare is ferociously bloody, the sacrilege pointedly barbed, and the story expertly paced. Heck, we’d even extol Uhtred’s budding spells of sober reflection about life and love — if we weren’t certain he’d slice an ear off for saying so. B+

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