Bernard Cornwell

War of the Wolf

Summary: 
In this chapter of the epic Saxon Tales series, Uhtred has regained his family’s fortress. However, peace is elusive, under threat from both an old enemy and a new foe. The old enemy comes from Wessex where there is a struggle to determine who will be the next king. The new foe is Sköll, a Norseman, who wishes to be King of Northumbria, leading an army of wolf-warriors, men who fight half-crazed in the belief that they are indeed wolves. Uhtred begins to believe he is cursed, must fend off one enemy while he tries to destroy the other. The author again does not disappoint, with a riveting account of adventure, courage, treachery, loss, and battle that he describes so brilliantly. This tale continues and I hate to have to wait for the next installment. Uhtred is destined to play a role in the fate of England's quest to become a unified nation under rule of the King of Wessex, whoever that turns out to be!!

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Fools and Mortals

Summary: 
In this standalone novel, Bernard Cornwell makes a major departure from his usual genre with a story of the first production of A Midsummer Night's Dream—as related by William Shakespeare’s younger brother, Richard. Set in Elizabethan England, Richard Shakespeare dreams of a glittering career in one of the London playhouses, a world dominated by his older brother, William. But he is a penniless actor, making ends meet through a combination of a beautiful face, petty theft and a silver tongue. As William’s star rises, Richard’s onetime gratitude is souring and he is sorely tempted to abandon family loyalty. A priceless manuscript goes missing, suspicion falls upon Richard, forcing him onto a perilous path through a bawdy and frequently brutal London. Entangled in a high-stakes game of duplicity and betrayal which threatens not only his career and potential fortune, but also the lives of his fellow players, Richard has to call on all he has now learned from the brightest stages and the darkest alleyways of the city. To avoid the gallows, he must play the part of a lifetime. Bernard Cornwell also brings to the fore the perilous nature, of the nascent theatre industry facing the hatred and scorn of the religious puritans, who controlled London at that time. It was almost entirely due to the patronage of the Queen, that the players and theatre survived. A fascinating story that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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The Flame Bearer

Summary: 
The 10th book in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales Series does not disappoint. Northumbria’s Viking ruler, Sigtryggr, and Mercia’s Saxon Queen Aethelflaed have agreed a truce. And so England’s greatest warrior, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago—and which his scheming cousin still occupies. New enemies enter into the fight for England’s kingdoms: Constantin of Scotland seizes an opportunity for conquest and leads his armies south. Britain’s precarious peace threatens to turn into a war of annihilation. Uhtred is determined that nothing, neither the new enemies nor the old foes who combine against him, will keep him from his birth right. He is the Lord of Bebbanburg, but he will need all the skills he has learned in a lifetime of war to make his dream come true. The battle scene at the end of this book are amazing and I hope that the author continues this epic tale. Another book is a must!! Please.....

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The Fort : a novel of the Revolutionary War

Summary: 
In the summer of 1779, a small British force of fewer than a thousand Scots, backed by three sloops-of-war, sail to New England. They establish a fort, to be called Fort George at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts that would become Maine. Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to deal with these the foreign invaders. However ineptitude and irresolution lead to a overwhelming defeat, when the British send a huge fleet to relieve the fort. This was for me, another Bernard Cornwell page-turner, which I couldn't put down. His ability to describe battle scenes and the combatants is wonderful. You feel as though you are right in the middle of the fighting. It was also an eyeopener for me to learn that a Boston silversmith and 'patriot' named Paul Revere, faced court-martial for disobedience and cowardice as a result of his conduct in this assault on the British.

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Warriors of the Storm

Summary: 
The latest tale from Bernard Cornwell in his saga of the birth of England, continues with Uhtred of Bebbanburg controlling Mercia from the Roman fortress, that is Chester. Enemy forces are gathering to conquer the island nation for themselves. Northmen allied to the Irish, by the fierce warrior Ragnall Iverson, joined by the Northumbrians look to be an overwhelming force. Despite this threat, Edward, King of Wessex and Aethelflaed, Queen of Mercia are reluctant to move out of the safety of their own kingdoms. It falls, therefore, upon Uhtred to act. However Uhtred's daughter is married to Ragnall's brother, who is under siege in Ireland, as he later discovers by Ragnall's forces. Uhtred, has decisions to make between family and loyalty, and between personal ambition and political commitment. The action does not cease, and the final page, as with any Cornwell novel, always arrives too soon.

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The Winter King: a novel of Arthur

Summary: 
In Dark Ages Britain, Arthur has been banished and Merlin has disappeared; a child-king sits unprotected on the throne and magic vies with religion for the souls of the people. Going far beyond the usual tales of romance and chivalry, Cornwell's Arthur is fierce, dedicated and complex, a man with many problems, most of his own making. His impulsive decisions sometimes have tragic ramifications, as when he takes Guinevere instead of the intended Ceinwyn, alienating his friends and allies and inspiring a bloody battle. The secondary characters are equally great, and are filled with the magic and superstition of the times. Merlin is a crafty schemer, fond of deceit and disguise. Lancelot is portrayed as a warrior-pretender, a dishonest charmer with dark plans of his own; Galahad as the noble soldier of purpose and dedication. Guinevere, is however, no gentle creature waiting patiently in the moonlight, she has designs and plots of her own. The story of these characters and others is narrated by Derfel Cadarn, a character we follow from his earliest year, first one of Arthur's warriors, later a monk. This novel could change the way the story of Arthur is told. I loved this book and it opened up a whole new perspective and to my mind, possibly a more realistic view of the Arthurian Legends.

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The Empty Throne

Summary: 
The early tenth century AD is a time of change for the kingdoms that will become England . There are new raids by the Vikings from Ireland, and turmoil among the Saxons over the leadership of Mercia. Æthelred, the ruler of Mercia, is dying, leaving no legitimate heir. The West Saxons want their king, but Uhtred has long supported Æthelflaed, sister to King Edward of Wessex and widow of Æthelred. Widely loved and respected, Æthelflaed has all the makings of a leader—but could Saxon warriors ever accept a woman as their ruler? The stage is set for rivals to fight for the empty throne. Uhtred is still suffering from the wounds he received in battle. To recover his strength he needs to find the sword that caused the injury, but lost amid the battle’s blood and mud, how could it be traced and who among the Vikings or Saxons might be holding it? This is another great tale from Bernard Cornwell, is which we learn much more of the characters in this saga. A great read and I cannot wait for the next book.

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