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1. The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary
2. The Burning Land: A Novel (Saxon
3. Lords of the North: A Novel (Saxon
4. The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles
5. Agincourt: A Novel
6. Heretic (The Grail Quest, Book
7. Sword Song: The Battle for London
8. The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles
9. The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest,
10. Vagabond (The Grail Quest, Book
11. Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles
12. Sharpe's Tiger (Richard Sharpe's
13. The Winter King (The Arthur Books
14. Copperhead
15. Enemy of God (The Arthur Books
16. Redcoat
17. Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe
18. Excalibur, A Novel of Arthur (The
19. The Bloody Ground (The Starbuck
20. Sea Lord (The Thrillers #2)

1. The Fort: A Novel of the Revolutionary War
by Bernard Cornwell
Hardcover: 480 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$25.99 -- used & new: US$12.15
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006196963X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

While the major fighting of the Revolutionary War moves to the South in the summer of 1779, a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry, backed by three sloops-of-war, sails to the fogbound coast of New England. In response, Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to “captivate, kill or destroy” the foreign invaders. But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat—and have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides: an untested young Scottish lieutenant named John Moore and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere.

Inimitably told in Cornwell’s thrilling narrative style, The Fort is the extraordinary novel of this fascinating clash between a superpower and a nation in the making.

Amazon.com Review
Product Description
While the major fighting of the war moves to the south in the summer of 1779, a British force of fewer than a thousand Scottish infantry, backed by three sloops-of-war, sails to the desolate and fog-bound coast of New England. Establishing a garrison and naval base at Penobscot Bay, in the eastern province of Massachusetts that would become Maine, the Scots—the only British troops between Canada and New York—harry rebel privateers and give shelter to American loyalists.

In response, Massachusetts sends a fleet of more than forty vessels and some one thousand infantrymen to “captivate, kill or destroy” the foreign invaders. Second in command is Peleg Wadsworth, a veteran of the battles at Lexington and Long Island, once aide to General Washington, and a man who sees clearly what must be done to expel the invaders.

But ineptitude and irresolution lead to a mortifying defeat—and have stunning repercussions for two men on opposite sides: an untested eighteen-year-old Scottish lieutenant named John Moore, who will begin an illustrious military career; and a Boston silversmith and patriot named Paul Revere, who will face court-martial for disobedience and cowardice.

Grounded firmly in history, inimitably told in Cornwell's thrilling narrative style, The Fort is the extraordinary novel of this fascinating clash between a superpower and a nation in the making.

A Q&A with Author Bernard Cornwell

Q: While you’ve written numerous historical novels, including a series set during the American Civil War, this is only your second book set during the American Revolution. What spurred your interest in this period at this time? Will you return to this period again?

Cornwell: The original spark was reading a life of Lieutenant-General Sir John Moore, who was the man who, more than any other, forged the magnificent army that defeated Napoleon.If he had not died beating Marshal Soult at Corunna in 1809 then Moore might well have been the hero of Waterloo instead of Wellington, but what intrigued me was to discover that, as a very young man, he had experienced his first taste of battle at Penobscot Bay in 1779. I had never heard of the Penobscot Expedition, so I read more, and discovered this amazing story!The Penobscot Expedition was an attempt by the militia and navy of Massachusetts to evict a small British garrison from Fort George in what is now Castine, in Maine. Massachusetts assembled the largest rebel fleet of the revolution . . . and lost it all. It's a story of incompetence and lost opportunities, which leads to the worst naval disaster in American history prior to Pearl Harbor. Will I ever write about the revolution again?I don't know...

Q: Of all the battles waged during the Revolution why did you choose to write about the Penobscot expedition? What lessons does this battle offer us today?

Cornwell: Choosing the Penobscot Expedition does seem perverse . . . after all, the fighting at Castine has been called 'the forgotten battle', and many people would probably prefer to leave it that way.But there was the lure of the very young John Moore whose later career would be so eminent, and there was another man in Penobscot Bay who, if anything, would become even more famous. That was Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Revere, the commander of the Massachusetts Artillery Regiment.I knew very little about Revere when I began to read about the expedition. I knew the famous poem, of course, but beyond that he was simply a shining hero of the revolution, so I was astonished to discover that the only time Revere ever fought the British was at Penobscot, and his record there was shameful.This was simply too intriguing to ignore, and as the relationship of myth to reality has always fascinated me, I set out to tell the story. Does it have lessons for today? I don't write to teach such lessons . . . maybe you can conclude that war is best left to professionals who know what they're doing.

Q: Given the obstacles the Americans faced—the colonists were not unified in the desire to break with the crown, the lack of a dedicated, well-trained, and disciplined standing military, perpetual lack of funding, among others—are you surprised that we actually succeeded in winning independence?

Cornwell: And again there's a gap between myth and reality. It suits America to draw a picture of amateur patriots defeating the well drilled redcoats, but that picture is nonsense. As a result of the Seven Years War there was a firm tradition of militia training in the Thirteen Colonies, and most of the revolution's leaders had served in that war.Then, early on, the rebels took steps to make a well-drilled and well-trained army. And, of course, they had France and Spain as allies. The largest army at Yorktown was the French army, the smallest was the British.So no, I'm not surprised. The British government played into the rebel's hands with their stupidity, and the rebels had the inestimable advantage of being able to surrender vast amounts of territory and survive, while the British never had the forces to control that large territory. In 1779, when the novel is set, New England is virtually independent already--there are no British forces in Massachusetts which has its own judiciary, legislature, and administration.

Q: While you have written several stand-alone thrillers, most of your fiction centers on war. What draws you to write military fiction? What is the most fascinating aspect of battle for you?

Cornwell: Warfare offer something unique; a loosening of the moral laws that govern our lives.Men and women are released to do things we abhor in peaceful times, and what interests me is how they react. Some react very badly, others attempt to hold onto their humanity through the horror. In The Fort there are no monsters, no horrors, but men struggling to understand what is happening to them.The hero, Peleg Wadsworth, second in command of the American army, emerges as a real hero! A man of moral substance and great strength.That intrigues me, that he can survive the loosening of moral bonds and emerge more resolute.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (41)

3-0 out of 5 stars How do you write 450 pages about a battle that didn't happen?
It isn't easy, but somehow Bernard Cornwell, NYT bestselling author of Agincourt, managed to make it fairly interesting. It's not exactly that the battle at Penobscot didn't happen; it's that, after much planning and the first assault by the American Rebel forces against British Fort George, bickering and lack of cooperation among the militia, the Navy and the Marines -- and a frustratingly haughty and prickly, Paul Revere--caused them not to follow through and destroy the fort while it was still vulnerable.

I can't say I was hooked on this book from the beginning. There were too many characters introduced too quickly, and, outside of Peleg Wadsworth, none of them were treated with enough depth for me to really care. Cornwell ends with the destruction of the fleet, apparently considered the worst American naval disaster prior to Pearl Harbor. As a history, that's the proper ending point, but as a novel it felt as though it ended in midstream. Characters like John Fletcher and his sister Beth are introduced with great promise, but their stories go nowhere.

Cornwell's battle scenes are well-done and riveting. Indeed, that's when my interest first piqued, after which point I decided to stick with it. Some historical novels focus on the individual acting within the event, and some focus on the event itself. The Fort leans toward the latter, which was interesting for me, but not beyond three stars.

1-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing...Not typical Cornwell Fare

Cornwell is one of my favorite authors and I have enjoyed all of his novels......up until The Fort.For the most part, the characters had wooden-like personalities; a fact that Cornwell emphasized page after page.For that matter, unlike the tight writing in his other novels, this story just seemed to ramble on and on to an unsatisfying end.Overall, the novel was a great disappointment!

4-0 out of 5 stars Not quit Mr. Sharpe
I got this thru Amazon's Vine program because I've enjoyed Mr. Cornwell's works in the past and was intrigued by this taking place in Maine.I can honestly say that The Fort was unique for Mr. Cornwell's work; at least for what I've read.Rather than having one protagonist and an antagonist, Mr. Cornwell gives us the perspective of three sides from a fairly neutral position; that of the British, the American land, and the American maritime.Interestingly the American land perspective is the major focus with the relationship between the two American generals (General Lovell and General Wadsworth) and their subordinates (mainly represented thru Lt. Col. Revere) taking center stage with the American maritime commander (Commander Saltonstall) and his relationship with General Lovell playing second, and the British (with a young Lt. John Moore) placing third.Focus within the Americans' perspective deals with the indecisiveness of General Lovell (the overall land and expedition commander) because he wants Commander Saltonstall to destroy the small British naval component prior to his militia engaging the British in Fort George (really more of an improved position) while his second-in-command (General Wadsworth) wants the militia to assault the British position rapidly before it can be improved or a relief force arrives.Complicating the issue is that all forces (American land and sea, and British land) are fairly green, not having experienced war prior to this (the American forces, both the land and sea, had "pressed" the local communities to flush their forces out).

Rating wise this one's a four star book.Mr. Cornwell started very strong (really, he was headed to five thru the first third) and then slowly settled (call it a weak three stars by the end).Part of this is due to how the battle flowed (or failed to) and part is due to the changing perspectives.While Mr. Cornwell does a good job selling to us that General Lovell was terribly indecisive and really shouldn't have been in command while General Wadsworth was competent, he failed to show other aspects (namely that Lt. Col. Revere and the other militia commanders) were incompetent or not driving for the capture of Ft. George.Mention is made of the War Councils and how General Lovell put things to a vote rather than decided them, but we don't see "nay" saying Lt. Col. Revere was is said to have made or how the other commanders failed to motivate their militia past reading of militia troops who aren't willing to engage the British.Mr. Cornwell does a much better job explaining why Commander Saltonstall might not to have wanted to engage the British ships protecting Ft. George and does show us how General Wadsworth attempts to improve the American position.The British perspective is nicely done with young Lt. John Moore learning the value of light troops and the need for them to function in the way he'd make famous in the Napoleonic Wars.Historically Mr. Cornwell does follow things nicely but I will say he's a little unforgiving to Lt. Col. Revere; I say this because while the American artillery was largely ineffective against Ft. George, I have to believe the diversity of the guns, the greenness of the troops, and the fact that the shots were falling (the Americans where firing down on British, something that can be difficult even for experienced troops to compensate for [I suggest reading King's Mountain: the Epic of the Blue Ridge "Mountain Men" in the American Revolutionby Hank Messick for an example of this]) to explain why the American's were unable to "destroy" Ft. George.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Yarn
Great historical yarn. It is somewhat slow at first, heavy with dialogue, but is filled with detail about a little known battle of the American Revolution. There is certainly a new perspective on Paul Revere proving that it is sometimes not important how good you are but rather how good your press is.

5-0 out of 5 stars Exception novel!
One could read nothing but Bernard Cornwell books and be entirely satisfied. This new novel is meticulously research and brought to life with fascinating, colorful characters. It also educated me on a period of American history I really only knew thru mainstream sources. ... Read more

2. The Burning Land: A Novel (Saxon Tales)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2010-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.79
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060888768
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In a clash of heroes, the kingdom is born.

At the end of the ninth century, with King Alfred of Wessex in ill health and his heir still an untested youth, it falls to Alfred's reluctant warlord Uhtred to outwit and outbattle the invading enemy Danes, led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair. But the sweetness of Uhtred's victory is soured by tragedy, forcing him to break with the Saxon king. Joining the Vikings, allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—Uhtred devises a strategy to invade and conquer Wessex itself. But fate has very different plans.

Bernard Cornwell's The Burning Land is an irresistible new chapter in his epic story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (51)

3-0 out of 5 stars Three and One Half Stars would be Closer
There is something very attractive about the mood of this book, dark and dour like the dark-ages setting. The protagonist is a pagan, a Thor-worshipper, and almost all of his efforts wind up helping the Saxon Christians against their Danish pagan enemies. There is a large dash of moral ambiguity in this story, no clear-cut heroes, although there are some clear-cut villains.

Cornwell writes compelling battle scenes. There is much more fighting on horseback than I would expect in this period and this place, and I think my expectations are more than reasonable. However, I could get past that pretty easily.

I haven't read the previous books in this series and I want to. However, I also want to know what happens next. I may read these books in a very odd order.

4-0 out of 5 stars Uthred's bloody quest to be a Viking again
Bernard Cornwell, best known for his Rifleman Sharpe series, has created a minor (for him) mini-juggernaut with his Saxon Tales series.These books would be the crowning achievement for many authors, but it is but one more entertaining entry in Cornwell's astoundingly massive bibliography.Steeped in the legends and lore of the reign of England's Alfred the Great, the Saxon Tales bring the blood, the fire, the romance, and the grim humor in quick succession.

"The Burning Land," the fifth book in this series, opens with Uthred of Bebbanburg at the peak of his powers.He is a recognized warlord feared far and wide for his repeated victories on behalf of his lord Alfred . . . a burden of obedience that chafes at Uthred's soul.A Saxon raised by Danes to love nothing more than going Viking (a verb for the raiding and pillaging of the Danes), Uthred has a desperate urge to win back his Northumbrian home, the impregnable fastness of Bebbanburg.But as long as he is tethered by oath to Alfred, he cannot pursue this dream as Alfred has him far too busy killing Danes.

But a family tragedy and a shocking insult see Uthred returning to the northlands, eager to reunite with old friends and slay old enemies.But the ties of honor are strong, and it remains to be seen whether Uthred will ever reclaim his lost throne.

This is a typical Cornwell book - well-researched, fast-moving, filled with bloody battles and plenty of sex, but balanced with Uthred's cynical sense of humor, which often comes to the fore when Christians are involved.An enjoyable read but a brief one, I devoured it in one cross-country flight, and it was one of the most enjoyable flights I've had in a while.Given the fact that I fly coach, that's a heck of an endorsement.

5-0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommended
I love the Saxon Chronicles, and I love Bernard Cornwell's writing. The world is so vivid. Uhtred is such a fantastic character, despite his many failings. Cornwell does an amazing job of getting us into the mind of a 9th century Saxon, and he's unapologetic about it. This is why I read historical fiction. I highly recommend this book, though you have to have a stomach for gore and violence.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best!
It's just great fun to read this stuff!And I've gone on to read a bunch of Bernard Cornwell's books, finding most all of them entertaining and informative.

5-0 out of 5 stars A return to form (of sorts...)
Men in the modern world are weak and puny compared to their ancient counterparts. Of course, there are exceptions but generally the lack of famine, war, pestilence & death make many men into weak molly-coddled metrosexuals without rough edges or depth of character.

This is why I absolutely LOVE this series - Uhtred is such a remorselessly tough individual & the tales are so raw in their violence that you feel you have had the 'animal spirit' inside of you reawakened! Such is the vividness of the writing that you can easily imagine being a Viking/ Saxon bounding across the plains of Wessex ready to slaughter & rout your enemies!

The 1st three books were great (partly because they followed a well-trodden formula from the Grail quests etc but mostly because they were epic). Sword Song (Alfred the Great 4) was bad though, & I was concerned this book would be equally lacklustre.

Luckily it is powerfully written & Uhtred is no longer a tame, West-Saxon family man but is taken to the pits of despair in as many ways as the author can conjure. He also has a host of warriors, who are well fleshed-out characters & the wide scope of the story mean he has to take on a Witch (in the form of Skade), a den of Pirates in Holland, two Viking warlords and, inevitably, his Uncle (who we finally encounter outside Bebbanburg).

The story has enough twists & turns to keep the reader interested & has a rich variety of places & people that Uhtred meets that make this story interesting & add potential for future books.

Sadly (for those who have read his other books or the 'Sharpe' Novels) the formula of Cornwell novels creeps in a little too often. Uhtred is different to Sharpe as they are good/ evil in different ways. However their similarities are very prominent (e.g. their tactical brilliance yet lack of candour) & this can become nauseous. Furthermore the plot to this book is very similar to Sword Song) (big battle, politics and then a battle at Benfleet) and although this could be poetic, I think that Mr Cornwell needs to go back to university & learn some new formula's for his stories!

That said, this book is mostly a return to form & I'd say it was the equal of The Last Kingdom (Alfred the Great 1), but probably not The Pale Horseman (Alfred the Great 2) or The Lords of the North (Alfred the Great 3). Still, if you want a novel that is easy to read, educational (without being heavyweight) & that will reawaken the spirit of our ancestor's, then this book comes highly recommended. ... Read more

3. Lords of the North: A Novel (Saxon Chronicles #3)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 352 Pages (2008-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$5.09
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061149047
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

The year is 878. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, has helped the Saxons of Wessex defeat the invading Danes. Now, finally free of his allegiance to the victorious, ungrateful King Alfred, he is heading home to rescue his stepsister, a prisoner of Kjartan the Cruel in the formidable Danish stronghold of Dunholm. Uhtred's best hope is his sword, Serpent-Breath, for his only allies are Hild, a West Saxon nun fleeing her calling, and Guthred, a slave who believes himself king. Rebellion, chaos, fear, and betrayal await them in the north, forcing Uhtred to turn once more, reluctantly, to the liege he formerly served in battle and blood: Alfred the Great.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (73)

1-0 out of 5 stars A nasty surprise
This book was sitting on the library shelf looking inviting and exciting. Not having read much about this period of history, I decided to check it out without even flipping through it. I really like historical novels as a way to get into the past.

Well, this was a serious mistake, because after reading just a couple of chapters I can't go on. It's obvious that Cornwell has done some good research, although I detect some modern attitudes being superimposed onto the past, an annoying but common feature of less well-written books of this genre. This definitely makes it less realistic and convincing for me; makes me wonder what else has been adjusted, and how solid Cornwell's information is.

This wouldn't be enough to stop me, though. What I can't take any more of is the crassness. It's just plain vulgar, with a major focus on demeaning sexuality and potty humor. Women are described for their physical features only, and threats of violence toward them repeated again and again. Actually none of the characters seem to have much depth. There's a lot of gratuitous swearing, too. As if that weren't enough, priests are portrayed as either frenzied lunatics, or 'good men' who are stupid and easily deceived. One 'holy man' gropes women, while surrounded by adoring crowds who somehow don't notice. Give me a break!

I can't believe any school would put this in their library and recommend that children read it. Even as an adult, I don't choose to prolong my time in this alternate world so full of inaccuracy and ugliness. If you enjoy things like 'Reservoir Dogs' and need obscenity and vulgarity to make history interesting for you, this is for you! Otherwise... think twice before opening it. A sad disappointment for me... would like to find other books on this period which are more readable.

4-0 out of 5 stars A good read
The author combines historical elements with fiction in this tale of Saxons vs Danes.The tale takes place mainly in what is now Northern England.Perhaps most interestingly after the tale is over the author reveals the fictional and the real life characters, battles and locales.

5-0 out of 5 stars Uhtred's voice makes this special
I loved this book, and like the Saxon Chronicles series a little more with each installment. There's something about Cornwell's writing that is liberated in the first-person narrative of the Saxon warrior Uhtred, something not found even in the Sharpe series.

Perhaps it's the savage, joyous attitude Uhtred and kindred spirits like his Danish friend Ragnar have towards fighting: that it's glorious, that they do it for themselves, that they find it liberating, that the freebooting life is the one most worth living.

Maybe it's the uncertain politics, where Uhtred, of divided loyalty himself, fights for a king he respects but doesn't like - Alfred - or for one he likes but doesn't respect - Guthred - in states with shifting borders like Wessex, or in the lawless, warlord-riven north of what will later become England. Yes, the battles are fateful and historical as they shape that future path, but meanwhile Uhtred operates in uncertain waters, with rivalries cutting so across ethnic groups, territory and religion that they boil down to mostly personal ambition.

After the stunning victory of Ethandun, which Uhtred engineers for Alfred after keeping him alive in hiding in the swamps, Uhtred is underwhelmed by the paltry rewards he receives and heads north, focused as alwayson regaining his familial castle at Bebbanburg from his usurping uncle Aelfric. And he has old scores to settle with the warlord Kjartan and his son. From them he liberates a slave, Guthred, who turns out to have a claim on the throne of wild Northumbria, and helps make him king. Guthred takes his advice on kingship, following what Uhtred tells him of Alfred's ruling style, but sells Uhtred into slavery to clear the way for alliances with Aelfric and the Danish warlord Ivarr. Uhtred survives years in slavery, dreaming often of Guthred's sister Gisela. Finally liberated, he heads north once more at Alfred's behest ostensibly guarding a churchman, but really to settle the hash of Ivarr and Kjartan on Alfred's behalf. His war party brings together a lot of his best pals - Ragnar, Steapa and new characters Clapa, Rypere and the Irish warrior Finan - for a great battle climax.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best book of this great series
I agree with the other reviews. This is a great series and in my view this book number 3 is the best of the series so far. Book 1 started very strong and laid the foundation, book two was very good as well focussing much on Alfred, but book 3 is the best so far, because the book closes some of the background stories very nicely and it is full of twists and surprises with a very satisfying and convincing ending.

Since Uhtred is going north (as the title says already), he meets several known characters from book 1 and several eagerly awaited things are going to happen (not always as expected though). I also liked the story of the new leader in the North which was a refreshing difference to book 2.

Not only does this book entertain greatly, but the reader also learns a lot about that much neglected historical time period, which is not known very well to us. We learn how people live, what happens politically and also what happens militarily (strategically and on the battlefield). The battle scene descriptions are superb and give a great view how battles were fought at that time period. I feel sometimes to be inside that shield wall by myself. Nobody surpasses Cornwell on battle scenes (as even George R. R. Martin said in an interview).

Very interesting and a must read for historical fiction fans.

I am now looking forward to read book 4 and 5 and hope that there are more to come. The "Saxon Chronicles" is one of the best historical fiction book series out there, if not THE BEST.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shadow Walker
In historical fiction, nobody touches Bernard Cornwell when it comes to striking the right balance between historical accuracy and melodrama."Lords of the North" is the third in the rollicking series of Alfred the Great in 9th century England.This time around, protagonist Uthred, a Northumbrian lord of Saxon heritage but strong Danish loyalties, emerges as a swaggering and swashbuckling rogue - think Indiana Jones in chain mail - hacking and sawing his way through northeastern England in the service of a the Wessex king Alfred who he doesn't like but begrudgingly respects.So if this one tips the balance more heavily towards action and fiction and less on history, don't fault Cornwell: unlike the scholarly Alfred who kept meticulous records - almost as much a priest as he was a king - the pagan Danish occupiers of much of England at the time left virtually no written records behind.As the author notes, the regency records in the dark days before William the Conqueror were confusing, and even contradictory in attempting to name the kings of the Danish-occupied territories.But given a few scraps of fact, a colorful background of the brutality of life in the Dark Ages, a brilliant imagination, and even some black humor, Cornwell spins a plausible and highly entertaining saga of the politics and intrigue the characterized England in the centuries of chaos following the Roman withdrawal.

It is 878, and despite playing a key role in Alfred's victory over the Danish warlord Guthred in the swamps of Ethandun, Uthred's rewards from the pious Alfred are meager.In anger and disgust, Uthred leaves the miserable Wessex estate granted to him, heading north in search of adventure and his step sister, held hostage by the fictional Kjartan the Cruel.From the opening chapter to the final battle the action barely wanes, lurching from one cliffhanger to the next as Uthred slips traps and ambushes and betrayal and fate, dispatching one despicable villain after another.Cornwell throws some clever chicanery into the mix, and colors the action nicely with a primer in the war culture of the Danes and their Norse Gods.Relying more on tactics and strategy than the brute strength and power of the shield wall, Uthred and his allies take their battle to the highly fortified bastions of their evil foe.

It's gritty and bloody, with no attempt to glamorize the harsh conditions of the period - a world of dung and straw and damp-ridden wood, the magnificent stone and tile structures of the Romans crumbled long-forgotten mysteries."Lords of the North" is a violent page-turner that you'll want to burn through quickly to reach the vengeance you know is waiting - a terrific segue from the marshes of southern England to the battle for London as told in Cornwell's next novel, "Sword Song."High adventure and wildly entertaining - a highly recommended read.
... Read more

4. The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles Series #1)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2006-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.48
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060887184
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

In the middle years of the ninth-century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England—and the course of history—depended upon one man, one king.

From New York Times bestselling storyteller Bernard Cornwell comes a rousing epic adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love, and battle as seen through the eyes of a young warrior who straddled two worlds.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (142)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good read
This is my sixth book from Cornwell and as all the others it's an excellent read. But my favorite is still the archer tale series. If you can get it you should.

4-0 out of 5 stars fun passtime
I've been interested in reading a book by Mr. Cornwell but have also been a little leery as I felt he may be a pulp master.
I have been pleasantly surprised, he does get a little melodramatic at times but overall, I'm digging him. On the 5TH. book in the series and enjoying it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Almost Perfect
I would love to give this book five stars because it is a great read.Its one of those gems that you find yourself lucky to have discovered.My biggest disappointment was how abrutply it ended.I dont mind cliffhangers when its a series but it can be done with more grace than this.

I would like to address some of the critcism I have noticed about this book.

I have noticed some criticism about the negative protrayel of Christianity in the book.This is historical fiction. .not politically correct fiction.Plus, I dont think a reader has to agree with every viewpoint in a book to enjoy it.

I have also noticed some criticims about Alfred the Great not being in the book enough or a strong enough character.This book is not a book about Alfred the Great.If that is what you are looking for, look elsewhere.

I also noticed some criticism about how the main character in the book is "likeable" enough.He is a young child/teenager thorughout most of the book thrown into multiple situations that would have killed most people (or drove them to kill themselves).I'd say he is pretty darn well adjusted considering the circumstance.Plus I find it enjoyable when lead characters are not impossibly perfect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Searching for a book to introduce your teenager to the delights of historical fiction?Here it is.
The Last Kingdom is the first in a three-volume series called The Saxon Chronicles.The narrator is an old warrior, Uhtred, who begins his life story in the year 866, "when I was ten years old and first saw the Danes." The Danish invasion of England unfolds through Uhtred's eyes, first as a pre-teen, then as an adolescent, and into teen-age manhood.

The device that Cornwall uses to perfection is the capture of Uhtred by the dynamic Danish Earl, Ragnar the Fearless, who found Uhtred's small sword and gritty determination to fight amusing and so slung him over his saddle and carried him off.

Uhtred is, above all, a teenage boy of his time - an unsentimental know-it-all, not the least bit interested in learning to read and write, as required of a noble son of Northumbria.He finds Thor more appealing than the Christian God, and the take-no-prisoners approach to battle more effective than the compromising ways of the weak kings of England.And so, he becomes a Dane.

Over the course of a decade, the progress of the invaders is slowed by King Alfred of the southern kingdom of Defnascir, and the dicey relationship between the pious Alfred and the pagan Uhtred is imaginatively rendered.The book ends with the battle of Cynuit, which Uhtred survives, and in the ensuing power struggles among the victorious English nobility, he learns that petty squabbles and jealousies (and sometimes women) mean more to a career on the rise or in a downslide than the larger issue of winning the battle.

Recommended for:Lovers of historical fiction.Mature boys who want to read about the now politically incorrect love of battle and glory.And for mature girls who want to understand such boys.

5-0 out of 5 stars I Loved This Book!!!
I like it when a book grabs you and pulls you in to the point that you can't put it down.The Last Kingdom did that for me.So much so, that I read all 5 in the series in less than 3 weeks and am waiting for the next to be published.I thought it was well written.There was just enough detail and backstory to make you care about the characters but not enough to bog down the pace of the story.The dialog could have been hokey & difficult given that the characters are 9th century Vikings but the author used enough old english to give the story authenticity but not so much that is was difficult to read and I often found myself smiling at Uthred's sarcasm.Uthred was brash, somewhat of a jerk and a blood thristy killer (pretty much how you expect a Dane [or adopted Dane] gone viking to be) but I still liked him. ... Read more

5. Agincourt: A Novel
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 512 Pages (2010-01-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061578908
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

"The greatest writer of historical adventures today" (Washington Post) tackles his richest, most thrilling subject yet: the heroic tale of Agincourt.

One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt—immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V—pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought on that fateful October day in 1415. An epic of redemption, Agincourt follows a commoner, a king, and a nation's entire army on an improbable mission to test the will of God and reclaim what is rightfully theirs—an exhilarating story of survival and slaughter that is, at once, a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination.

Amazon.com Review
Book Description

"The greatest writer of historical adventures today" (Washington Post) tackles his richest, most thrilling subject yet--the heroic tale of Agincourt.

Young Nicholas Hook is dogged by a cursed past--haunted by what he has failed to do and banished for what he has done. A wanted man in England, he is driven to fight as a mercenary archer in France, where he finds two things he can love: his instincts as a fighting man, and a girl in trouble. Together they survive the notorious massacre at Soissons, an event that shocks all Christendom. With no options left, Hook heads home to England, where his capture means certain death. Instead he is discovered by the young King of England--Henry V himself--and by royal command he takes up the longbow again and dons the cross of Saint George. Hook returns to France as part of the superb army Henry leads in his quest to claim the French crown. But after the English campaign suffers devastating early losses, it becomes clear that Hook and his fellow archers are their king's last resort in a desperate fight against an enemy more daunting than they could ever have imagined.

One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt--immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V--pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands. Here Bernard Cornwell resurrects the legend of the battle and the "band of brothers" who fought it on October 25, 1415. An epic of redemption, Agincourt follows a commoner, a king, and a nation's entire army on an improbable mission to test the will of God and reclaim what is rightfully theirs. From the disasters at the siege of Harfleur to the horrors of the field of Agincourt, this exhilarating story of survival and slaughter is at once a brilliant work of history and a triumph of imagination—Bernard Cornwell at his best.

Historical Notes on Agincourt by Bernard Cornwell

The battle of Agincourt (Azincourt was and remains the French spelling) was one of the most remarkable events of medieval Europe, a battle whose reputation far outranked its importance. In the long history of Anglo-French rivalry only Hastings, Waterloo, Trafalgar, and Crécy share Agincourt’s renown. It is arguable that Poitiers was a more significant battle and an even more complete victory, or that Verneuil was just as astonishing a triumph, and it’s certain that Hastings, Blenheim, Victoria, Trafalgar, and Waterloo were more influential on the course of history, yet Agincourt still holds its extraordinary place in English legend. Something quite remarkable happened on 25 October 1415 (Agincourt was fought long before Christendom’s conversion to the new-style calendar, so the modern anniversary should be on 4 November). It was something so remarkable that its fame persists almost six hundred years later.

Agincourt’s fame could just be an accident, a quirk of history reinforced by Shakespeare’s genius, but the evidence suggests it really was a battle that sent a shock wave through Europe. For years afterward the French called 25 October 1415 la malheureuse journée (the unfortunate day). Even after they had expelled the English from France they remembered la malheureuse journée with sadness. It had been a disaster.

Yet it was so nearly a disaster for Henry V and his small, but well-equipped army. That army had sailed from Southampton Water with high hopes, the chief of which was the swift capture of Harfleur, which would be followed by a foray into the French heartland in hope, presumably, of bringing the French to battle. A victory in that battle would demonstrate, at least in the pious Henry’s mind, God’s support of his claim to the French throne, and might even propel him onto that throne. Such hopes were not vain when his army was intact, but the siege of Harfleur took much longer than expected and Henry’s army was almost ruined by dysentery.

The tale of the siege in the novel is, by and large, accurate, though I did take one great liberty, which was to sink a mineshaft opposite the Leure Gate. There was no such shaft, the ground would not allow it, and all the real mines were dug by the Duke of Clarence’s forces that were assailing the eastern side of Harfleur. The French counter-mines defeated those diggings, but I wanted to give a flavor, however inadequately, of the horrors men faced in fighting beneath the earth. The defense of Harfleur was magnificent, for which much of the praise must go to Raoul de Gaucourt, one of the garrison’s leaders. His defiance, and the long days of the siege, gave the French a chance to raise a much larger army than any they might have fielded against Henry if the siege had ended, say, in early September.

Maps of the Battlefield (Click to Enlarge)

England and France, 1415:
One of the most dramatic victories in British history, the battle of Agincourt--immortalized by Shakespeare in Henry V--pitted undermanned and overwhelmed English forces against a French army determined to keep their crown out of Henry's hands.

The French Coast:
The British campaign, which started at Harfleur, ended more than two months later on 25 October at Agincourt.
Henry's army landed in northern France on 13 August 1415 and besieged the port of Harfleur.
The Battle Lines:
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers; For he today who sheds his blood with me shall be my brother.” – William Shakespeare, Henry V

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Customer Reviews (123)

This novel takes a lesser known yetpivotal battle of The Middle Ages and transforms it into an enjoyable read packed with sex, violence, and bone crunchingand gorymedieval battle scenes.There is no heavy lifting here.This history goes down easy.Nick Hook of 15th centuryEngland is the bastard son of a minor lord.Nick grows up to be a thief, a rogue, a murderer, and with his very broad back a non-pareil shot with a long bow.Early on a plot line is introduced about a feud with the Perrills; the bastard sons of a demented rapist priest.This feud gives ample opportunity for vengeance, rape, murder and vendetta.Anyway, in the heat of the moment and indefense of a maiden's honor Nick commits a crime and is outlawed.Nick has to leave England and becomes a mercenary archer to fight in France.About this time Nick starts to talk to saints; and, they talk back.Nick saves a hot French nun from rape.In gratitude she gives Nick a piece of hot, young, grateful, virgin, nun puss.Nickgoes on having talks with Saints ( if this was now they would put him on Abilifi anti-psychotic pharmaceuticalfast).Anyway, he winds up in the mud and offal filled battlefield of Agincourt.Bernie truly delivers a valuable history lesson.Agincourt was a defining battle which turned the tide of history.Lightly armored but deadly and agilelong bowmen could defeat much greater numbers ofheavily armored but ponderouscavalry and knights. I truly enjoyed Bernie's fictitious telling of this tale.It is a rousing cast of characters and I cried man tears as I shared their failures, foibles, and triumphs.The work is nicely tied together with a brief historical afterword.You don't have to be a graduate of M.I.T. to enjoy this.Worth the read and worth passing on to one of your man pals.

1-0 out of 5 stars Read "The Archer's Tale" instead of this book.
I've been a fan of Bernard Cornwell's work for several years. I've read almost all of his books: The Sharpe Series, The Arthurian series, The Viking/Uhtred Series, and the Grail quest series. I've enjoyed all I've read before except for this book. My biggest complaint is that it draws way too many parallels from the Grail quest series, which is about an archer during the Hundred Years' War. Here is a list of the parallels off the top of my head.

-main character is tall, dark, noted to be exceptional by senior officers.
-about an archer with family problems
-good priest/evil priest in both books
-dark haired, rich villain
-teaches his love interest to use the crossbow, and both Nick Hook's and Thomas of Hookton's love interests behave basically the same throughout the novels.
-both main characters have some connection to religion, even though they don't originally believe in god. Grail Quest series= holy grail, Agincourt=Sts. Crispin/Crispinian

So, if you want to read a historical novel about an archer, I would highly recommend the Grail Quest series (The Archer's Tale, Vagabond, and Heretic) over this book.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cornwell's Best
I've read many Cornwell books - the Viking ones, the Arthur ones, and Redcoat - and I must say that Agincourt is my favorite of them all.

4-0 out of 5 stars A rousing historical novel
A rousing adventure story with a dash of romance. Nick Hook is an archer and a forester. The book trails him through some challenges in England (under the reign of Henry V). He goes to Europe to fight and escapes a massacre at Soissons, also saving the life of a young nun, Melisande. In part, the story is about their deepening relationship. It is also, in part, the story of Henry's campaign in France, starting with a siege that left many of his soldiers dead and weakened from illness. Then, the march that led to the sanguinary battle at Agincourt.

The book gives us a number of memorable characters. First Nick and Melisande. They begin as fellow escapees of the massacre at Soissons, and later wed. Then, the other characters such as Melisande's father, the Sire de Lanferelle (and a fierce fighter in battle who looks forward to dispatching Nick in battle while still wishing him well), the equally fierce Sir John Corneweille (leader of the English forces of which Hook was part), Henry V, Hook's brother Michael, Nick's sworn enemies from back home, and so on. The characters are decently drawn and their interactions move the novel along.

The difficult marches, the dysentery laying waste to many of the English during their siege, the terrifying battle at Agincourt where the English forces were outnumbered greatly (historians still debate how much outnumbered they were) and the French forces faced an almost impossible tactical situation. The military part of the novel works well by giving the reader a "soldier's eye view" of matters.

There is a bleak vision expressed throughout many parts of the book but it ends on a bright note. . . . The growing romance of Melisande and Nick adds a human element to the savagery that emerges in various parts of the book. The ending allows Nick to make up to some extent for a failure in protecting a human life at the outset of the volume, so there is a positive ending. . . . The book is pretty well written, too

4-0 out of 5 stars When the going gets tough...
I have seen Cornwell's books on my library book shelf for some time now, but put off attempting any of them because I knew that many of them are set in wartime and that isn't my usual favorite subject. This author really helped me to get into the head of the main characters and made it more than just a wartime battle (but it was a lot of battle as well). As I anticipated, this was a male dominated novel - there was really only one woman in the whole book, but she was pretty significant. It was a very different angle and perspective to look at the world from.

At every stage of the novel I learned something new about medieval warfare: terminology, fighting formations, strategy, armor, archery. One of the things that I loved was the very lengthy, detailed historical note at the end of the book. The author gives credit, and recommendations, to the authors that he read and was inspired by. He also notes where there are discrepancies in the accepted historical research. This was incredibly interesting because there is currently research ongoing about how large the sizes of the 2 opposing armies were. The true answer could make a huge difference as to how inspiring this story is.

The characters were awesome! I LOVED the main character, Nick Hook. He was flawed but the author embraced that flaw and it built into a wonderful character. His bad characters were a range of evil, from not so bad to purely evil. I am glad that there was a range of characters and flaws in everyone because it made them more real.

As a little note, because this was an audiobook that I read, the narrator was great and there was dramatic music at the beginning and end of each disk that really set the mood.

I would certainly read more by this author and probably again in audio format. I think that his books would definitely appeal to both men and women who are interested in this time period. It was very war focused but still kept my attention.
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6. Heretic (The Grail Quest, Book 3)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2007-10-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$3.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060748281
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Already a seasoned veteran of King Edward's army, young Thomas of Hookton possesses the fearlessness of a born leader and an uncanny prowess with the longbow. Now, at the head of a small but able band of soldiers, he has been dispatched to capture the castle of Astarac. But more than duty to his liege has brought him to Gascony, home of his forebears and the hated black knight who brutally slew Thomas's father. It is also the last place where the Holy Grail was reported seen. Here, also, a beautiful and innocent, if not pious, woman is to be burned as a heretic. Saving the lady, Genevieve, from her dread fate will brand Thomas an infidel, forcing them to flee together across a landscape of blood and fire. And what looms ahead is a battle to the death that could ultimately shape the future of Christendom.

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Customer Reviews (53)

5-0 out of 5 stars Heretic Book Review: Bernard Cornwell
Bernard Cornwell is by far the best historical fiction author of our time.I have read 10 or 12 of his books and have had a hard time putting them down after starting them.Amazon got the book to me in two days and I was done with the book two days later.Great book!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Story
As with most other Cornwell books I enjoyed reading "Heretic". But it's not a book I would keep in my library.I see it as an enjoyable story to read and then I put the book in the recycle bin.

4-0 out of 5 stars Decent wrap-up to the series, which overall dragged a bit
I ended up liking this one - Cornwell had a good plot resolution albeit one that I saw coming. But overall,I'm glad this trilogy is done.

Arriving back in France in time to help the English fend off French efforts to retake Calais, Thomas of Hookton is sent by the Earl of Northampton to retake his onetime fief deep inside France. And, as it happens, it's not far from the ancestral home of the Vexilles - Thomas' ancestors, tied to the Cathar heresy andrumored to have at one time owned the Holy Grail.

Thomas and his men retake Northampton's castle. Meanwhile, the Cardinal of Bessieres also schemes to find it, thinking it can make him the next Pope. And if he can't find it, Plan B is to create a counterfeit, aided by his rotten ruffian brother Charles. Also getting into the act is the Count of Berat, a local noble, religious and erudite, who thinks finding the Grail would be the miracle that would help him, late in life, father an heir. Berat's nephew Joscelyn, a powerful, boorish knight, meanwhile angles to inherit the estate for himself. In the background is Thomas' nemesis and ruthless cousin Guy Vexille, searching, too, for the Grail.

As they take the castle, Thomas and his men stumble upon a girl - beautiful, of course - who is about to be burned as a heretic. Thomas predictably (in no Cornwell novel has this ever not happened) falls for Genevieve and saves her, but his Scots pal Robbie Douglas wants her too, and the girl's presence not only drives a wedge between the pals but starts to split the company.Protecting her costs Thomas dearly, as churchmen in league with his opponents excommunicate him. Meanwhile everyone wants to poke around the ruins at Astarac, now occupied by not much more than a little monastery run by the saintly Abbot Planchard.

I'm a big Cornwell fan, but tired of this trilogy a bit. I think the Grail story and the cat-and-mouse game between Thomas and Guy Vexille was extended too long, like a soap opera plot getting endless twists and turns just to keep it going.

Cornwell does everything possible to elaborate the warfare angle - archery's advent tilting the medieval balance of power in combat - but he doesn't really have enough there to keep it interesting over three books. Yep, the bowmen's arrows could punch through armor. Yep, they come in sheaves of 24. Yep, rain ruins the bowstrings. Yep, this arrowhead for this, that one for that. And lots of details about armor, powerful war horses, newfangled cannons and crossbows. After a while, though, we feel we've heard it all, and the battle scenes are inevitably made dramatic when the archers with their long-distance killing power turn the tables on the annoying French knights in shining armor. (Ni!) In Cornwell's other series, he is more inventive in his battle sequences.

Warfare is Cornwell's strong suit, but in the Grail Quest series the religious angles trump it. Thomas' religious agonies don't hang together well. Cornwell's main characters are usually religious skeptics. In Thomas he has to blend that side - Thomas doubting the Grail's existence, meanwhile witnessing awful acts including torture committed by churchmen - with a side of him that does believe, that frets religiously when he is excommunicated. All his internal rumination gets tedious. He's suspicious of Genevieve's free-thinking ways: she's not the heretic that the church says she is, but meanwhile she's sort of a pantheist, the type that dances naked during thunderstorms. (Bernard, do you have her phone number? Just kidding.) Religion has a role in all of Cornwell's series, but in this one, what with the medieval setting and the Grail legend and all, it's overwhelming. It also keeps our hero from having the sort of devil-may-care side to him that make Starbuck, Uhtred and, most of all, Sharpe, so appealing.

On the positive side, the Abbot Planchard is the finest of all Cornwell's religious characters - a clergyman sympathetic not because he's one of the boys, a hearty warrior, or humanized by his appetites (we see all of those in the also-medieval Saxon Chronicles) - but because of his wisdom, and a courage to do the right thing regardless of Church dogma or material consequence.

There were other things I liked here. Cornwell hints throughout the series at the Black Plague, which you know is coming from the 1340s dates. Periodically a character sneezes andyou think, "Here it is," but then it isn't. Yet. He saves it for this one and weaves it well into the plot.

But all in all, I had to push myself through these books, a first for me with a Cornwell series. Still worth reading, but Cornwell has set impossibly high standards for himself with his other series - even Patrick O'Brian only had one major series with Aubrey and Maturin - and this one falls short of what we've come to expect.

5-0 out of 5 stars Heretic
Excellent middle ages blood and thunder wrap up of a thrilling three part series. Book was in good shape as well.

3-0 out of 5 stars Last in the trilogy.
The first book, An Archer's Tale, is the best, more action and we get to walk along side the protagonist as he literally grows to fit his longbow.Vagabond is next and the pace begins to slow though the other characters who cross his path help to carry the book.Heretic is the third and final entry in this series.Heretic slows even more and seems bogged down.It was at times frustrating though the author pulls the pieces together for a fitting climax.Bernard's famous knowledge of the times and attention to detail carry all three books.Having read his epic Angincourt, other books pale by comparison.This is a good little trilogy and I know I will read it again. ... Read more

7. Sword Song: The Battle for London
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$6.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061379743
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children—and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex . . . with Uhtred's help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning tide of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred—Alfred's sharpest sword—must now make the choice that will determine England's future.

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Customer Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars Awesome
I loved the book, and I loved the price. This is the fourth installment in the Saxon Tales series, I highly recommend it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Cornwell's writing soars from inside the warrior Uhtred's head
In this fourth book of the Saxon Chronicles, the warrior Uhtred is now one of Alfred's key men, holding and strengthening an eastern garrison not far from Lundene (London), which the Danes hold and from where they plan to strike yet again into Wessex.

Unbeknownst to Alfred, Uhtred's divided loyalties are once more being played upon. The Danes offerto make him King of Mercia if he delivers his Danish blood brother Ragnar's support to their efforts. Swayed by a ghostly vision, Uhtred wavers.

His greater problems, though, lie with his strutting, unctuous cousin Athelred, made Mercia's strongest lord by Alfred as he weds Alfred's young daughter Aethelflaed (SP), whom Uthred is fond of but whom Athelred mistreats.

Alfred wants Uthred to take London to bolster Athelred's position in Mercia, but when he does, Athelred gets the credit and Uthred, whom Athelred hates, must chafe under his rule in London. Meanwhile the Danes gather force once more, this time at their seaside lair at Beamfleot, where the Thames flows into the sea.The Thorgilson (SP) brothers make a bold move which threatens to deliver Wessex into their hands regardless of what happens.

Cornwell's writing, liberated as I've noted previously by his decision to write Uhtred in the first person, soars, nearpoetry at times, whether Uhtred is describing landscapes, pondering the mysteries of life and the hereafter, or exulting in battle as his sword Serpent's Breath once again sings it song.It is not surprising that JRR Tolkien was a scholar of Old English and its related languages; much of "The Lord of the Rings" comes from the same feel for the heraldry of ancient warriors that Cornwell draws from for this series.

4-0 out of 5 stars More Blood and Guts
As the fourth in Bernard Cornwell's swashbuckling and raucous Saxon series of 9th century England under the reign of Alfred the Great, I'd be less than honest if I didn't say that Uthred's heroics in "Sword Song" are beginning to feel a bit tired.After all, it takes fewer than twenty reminders to get the idea that a Viking warrior must die with sword in hand for admittance to Odin's corpse hall.Or that hand-to-hand battle across a shield wall was really bloody.Or that life among the waddle and thatch and damp and human waste of the Dark Ages is not a lot of fun.So no, "Sword Song" is not the strongest of this terrific series, but it is nonetheless an action-packed page-turner that, despite some repetition of its predecessors - especially "Lords of the North" - this is high octane entertainment with enough history and education to disqualify it from simple guilty pleasure.

This time around, Alfred sends the ever-mightier Uthred to liberate London from the clutches of a trio of marauding Norsemen.Cornwell's London is a wonderfully sordid place - crumbling walls of the Roman's patched by mud and sticks, raw sewage in the streets, a stick that precedes the city by miles.Meanwhile, the fair Ethelflaed, Alfred's daughter, is married off to Uthred's cousin Ethelred, a marriage that turns out not to be made in heaven.Cornwell admittedly takes some liberty with what little is known about real historical characters Ethelred and Ethelflaed, but wraps enough history into the drama and ever-present carnage to keep it credible and often enlightening.As always, Cornwell makes his tales engaging with liberal doses of treachery, betrayal, deceit while keeping the blood flowing deep.Viking lore clashes openly with Christianity and its annoying priests, while Uthred's irreverence and rejection of Alfred's authority plays like a Medieval Dirty Harry.And thus the tension between Alfred and Uthred continues, joined by the escalating feud with his cousin Ethelred, building to a brutal climax that if unlikely is still a lot of fun.

"Sword Song" wraps up a couple of loose ends from "Lords of the North" and provides a good set-up for its successor, "The Burning Land", while weaving in some interesting threads along the way.Fans of the series will definitely want to gobble this one up, but newbies will likely not want to choose this one as a potential standalone novel (though "Lords from the North" would be a decent candidate).In short, despite some flaws, more great entertainment from the reigning master of historical fiction.

5-0 out of 5 stars Gripping Book!!!
The whole Saxon series was fantastic and this book was just one more epic adventure in the life of Utred Utredson.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great historical fiction book
These books are really entertaining. If you like historical fiction, definately pick them up. This series is his second best after the Warlord Chronicles. ... Read more

8. The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles Series #2)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 384 Pages (2007-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$4.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061144835
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

The last unvanquished piece of England, Wessex is eyed hungrily by the fearsome Viking conquerors. A dispossessed young nobleman, Uhtred is tied to the imperiled land by birth and marriage but was raised by the Danish invaders—and he questions where his allegiance must lie. But blood is his destiny, and when the overwhelming Viking horde attacks out of a wintry darkness, Uhtred must put aside all hatred and distrust and stand beside his embattled country's staunch defender—the fugitive King Alfred.

The Pale Horseman is a gripping, monumental adventure that gives breathtaking life to one of the most important epochs in English history—yet another masterwork from New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell.

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Customer Reviews (81)

4-0 out of 5 stars Uhtred returns...
I read the first book in the series, The Last Kingdom, over a year ago so I was a little worried I would forget what he story was about at this point but who could forget Uhtred? I was soon engrossed in my adventures of the brash Saxon fighter. In this installment England is being overrun by the Vikings. The Kingdom of Wessex and it's noble ruler King Alfred are the last holdouts. Alfred believes in peace at any cost, an assertion that the Danes don't agree with-they break every treaty made with Wessex including the current one which leaves Wessex under siege and Alfred a fugitive.

At this point in his life Uhtred, who is married and has a young son, is trying to decide which side to take-the side of the Danes with whom he was raised or the side of King Alfred and the Saxons. While hiding out at home to see which way the wind is going to blow a military crew comes to salvage a boat near his property. Uhtred convinces the crew, many of which are his friends to commandeer one of the boats and disguise it as a Dane ship so they can make raids on the Danes. On one such raid Uhtred meets Iseult, a Shadow Queen. After turning traitor on her ruler, the king who hired Uhtred and his band to fight Danes occupying a stronghold neighboring them, Iseult leaves with Uhtred and he takes her back to his home, much to the displeasure of his wife. It seems like Alfred's chances of keeping the Kingdom Saxon are slim and we don't find out if he and his Army led by Uhtred succeeds til the end of the book.

I really like Bernard Cornwell's books, especially if I am looking for a good adventure and something that has second to none descriptions of battle scenes. I always get that when I read a Cornwell book and this book did not disappoint either. I do notice that Uhtred has a little bit of a similarity to Derfel in Cornwell's Arthur Trilogy but the storylines are different enough to set them apart. I enjoy the character of Uhtred and his inner conflict about which side to choose was well played here. I can't wait to read the next one in this series. I'm definitely not going to be waiting a year to start Lords of the North like I did to start this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars Not as bad as the title suggests!
Having heard The Last Kingdom on Audio CD, I waited a few months before getting the sequel as it seemed, for one, that it couldn't live up 2 it's predecessor and, for two, like Mr Cornwell's inspiration had run out with the first one. Indeed, it is common for the pilot of a series to be fantastic, only for the sequels to be formulaic & predictable (Rome, anyone?)

Happily, I'd say that this novel was actually better than the first as the plot covers a much more interesting section of Alfred/ Uhtred's life than did the previous one. It's fascinating to hear such an interesting storyline, interwoven with History, and the aggressive male passion that Uhtred displays makes you wish you could spring from your day job & go slay a few Vikings!

So hooked was I that I got to the end & am still mulling it over in my head a week after. So intense is the experience of both the narration & the excellent writing, that it comes as an unusual plot twist to be told in the historical note that not all of it is true. I won't reveal what the twist is, but is sufficient to say that elements of the story are history, but of the fuzzy variety...

What can I say, then, that will persuade you that this is an interesting book / audio book to buy? Only this: that although it may not be 100% historical (& Cornwell may use an identikit formula for his books), it is still worth reading at least one of his series of books and, from experience, this series seems a good place 2 start.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Purchase
This is an excellent book which I paid for at a great and very reasonable price.

5-0 out of 5 stars Love to read
I got the book for my husband and he loved it, waiting for the last 2 books in the chronicles to arrive!

5-0 out of 5 stars Bernard Cornwell novel
What a great writer. to own one book of his is to own many as you can't stop yourself from buying and reading them. ... Read more

9. The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, Book 1)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 374 Pages (2005-11-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.80
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060935766
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

A brutal raid on the quiet coastal English village of Hookton in 1342 leaves but one survivor: a young archer named Thomas. On this terrible dawn, his purpose becomes clear -- to recover a stolen sacred relic and pursue to the ends of the earth the murderous black-clad knight bearing a blue-and-yellow standard, a journey that leads him to the courageous rescue of a beautiful French woman, and sets him on his ultimate quest: the search for the Holy Grail.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

5-0 out of 5 stars Archery turns the tide of medieval warfare as Cornwell's hero searches for his past
Bernard Cornwell ventures into the era of archery warfare. As he notes in his afterword, other civilizations used the bow and arrow, but only England developed it as a dominant weapon that could win wars. Archery took years to master - boys had to grow up shooting to develop the right physique - but in England had become a fad.

So, for a few centuries, many fine archers developed,enough where hundreds of archers could put thousands of arrows into the air in battle, dealing death from a distance. Archery was more effective, Cornwell says, than musketry, and Benjamin Franklin thought the colonists might have beaten the British sooner had they used longbows instead of muskets.

Archery turned the tide of medieval warfare. Until now, the armored knight - an aristocrat, with a small fortune invested in equipment and fine horses - ruled the battlefield, riding his fighting horse and chopping down men on foot. But in 14th century France, its north ravaged by English occupiers, French knights find that archers can kill them from a distance, their powerful eras piercing armor and certainly enough to cripple or kill their mounts.

There's a real democratization here. The archers are blue-collar guys, infantry soldiers who walk places, sleep on the ground and have to scavenge for food. Cornwell always loves these guys, be they Sharpe, Nathaniel Starbuck, or, here, Thomas of Hookton.

And they are England's edge - not the aristocrats, not the knights, not the men on horseback, whose French opponents are their equals. Crossbowmen on the French side have their own fearsome weapons, but the crossbows are slow to reload and less effective overallthan the British longbows.It's the longbows that make the English unbeatable, allowing them to plunder the French countryside for years.

The plot: Thomas of Hookton joins up as an archer to fight in France after his home village on the English Channel is destroyed by a French raiding party. They kill his parents while pursing a curious relic, opening up a family mystery in the process.
In France, his standing as an archer steadily improving, he suddenly finds himself a fugitive after conspiring with a beautiful French widow to kill their mutual enemy, the boorish Sir Simon Jekyll. Rescuing her, but then abandoned by her, Thomas meets a French noble also seeking the truth about Thomas's family - and revealing to Thomas that the relic he seeks is no ordinary one.

Taking the noble's illegitimate daughter with him, Thomas rejoins the English. They are trapped deep in France without supplies, their way blocked by French rivers, in time to fight the historic battle of Crecy against an overwhelming French force.

There are a few things I didn't like about the book. I don't think Cornwell gets his narrative or dialogue voices quite right for the era, unlike the Sharpe series, which he nailed; the Starbuck series, where he did a great job capturing the 19th century American mind and language both North and South; and the Saxon Chronicles, where Uhtred's voice really stands out. In the last of those he did a much better job with capturing the pagan, mystical mindframe of his protagonist, his ways of speech and thought. Here, Thomas often sounds too modern for a story set a little before the time of Chaucer. In his other books Cornwell has found ways to suggest the flavor of the period's language without sacrificing clarity and readability; I'm hoping that in the sequels he does better with that.

Otherwise a fine story completely in the Cornwell vein.

5-0 out of 5 stars Archer's Tale Good Story telling
I would say that this book was well written, and well structured. It is not one of those books that are great literary works but instead a great story with interesting historical background.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Archer's Tail
An excellent read. The book reads as one would drive a fast car on a winding cliff road - exciting, quick, waiting for the next veiw whilst anticipating the bend. Flows beautifully into the sequel, which one effortlessly purchases on Kindle to continue the gripping saga.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Writer's Point
Bernard Cornwell is one of those rare writers who allows you to see history by tossing you into whatever era he writes about. In this instance it's The Archers Tale with young Thomas of Hookton in the 14th century. Thomas is the archer and he's very good at what he does with his handmade black bow.
But then Cornwell is very good at getting the reader to know Thomas, his strong points, his faults and failings, and his drive that takes him searching for the Holy Grail, with a revenge quest tossed in as well.
Cornwell's dialogue is convincing as are his settings and characters that run the gamut of the likeable to the truly psychotic, with everyone else in between.
Another good one for the book pile.A good adventure yarn.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good Military History, Poor Medieval History
Bernard Cornwell novels are my guilty pleasure. He gives a very good soldiers-eye view of battle. Though no one would confuse him with a master of English prose, he writes good fast-moving narrative. His instincts as to which of the secondary sources to trust are usually sound. He talks about tactics, equipment, logistics, and policy intelligently; he always walks the battlefields himself where they still exist. All of the above make this this a good (and fun) popular introduction to the Crecy campaign of the Hundred Years War.

On the other hand, his characters are pretty flat and his ubiquitous anti-Christian bias is annoying. This is a very serious flaw in books like this where he is trying to write medieval characters despite deep ignorance and antipathy to their faith.

His Richard Sharpe series following the armies of Wellington through the Penninsular War is much better. ... Read more

10. Vagabond (The Grail Quest, Book 2)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 416 Pages (2006-01-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$6.03
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060935782
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

In 1347, a year of conflict and unrest, Thomas of Hookton returns to England to pursue the Holy Grail. Among the flames of the Hundred Years War, a sinister enemy awaits the fabled archer and mercenary soldier: a bloodthirsty Dominican Inquisitor who also seeks Christendom's most holy relic. But neither the horrors of the battlefield nor sadistic torture at the Inquisitor's hands can turn Thomas from his sworn mission. And his thirst for vengeance will never be quenched while the villainous black rider who destroyed everything he loved still lives.

From internationally acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell comes the spellbinding second chapter in his Grail Quest—the majestic epic adventure of duty, war, and destiny that began with The Archer's Tale.

Amazon.com Review
Vagabond, the second entry in Bernard Cornwell's Grail Quest series, has been eagerly anticipated by those who read the first book, and it doesn't disappoint. Thomas has managed to survive the battle of Crécy. Still nursing his wounds, he is dispatched by the king on a mission to look into the matter of his father's inheritance, which is obscurely connected to the Holy Grail. This most precious relic of the Christian faith is a much sought-after object, offering the power of total victory in war to its owner. But Thomas finds himself in the middle of a battle against an army invading the North of England, and other shadowy forces pursuing the grail are prepared to slaughter anyone who stands in their way. In the ruins of his birthplace, Thomas discovers more about his father, and a dangerous voyage to France brings him up against his cousin and arch-enemy, Count of Astarc Guy Vexville. The stage is set for a merciless showdown.

Thomas is a protagonist drawn quite as pithily as his much-loved predecessor, and the sheer verve of Cornwell's storytelling here is irresistible. We are plunged into a distant age: bloody, colourful and dangerous. Roll on, volume three! --Barry Forshaw, Amazon.co.uk ... Read more

Customer Reviews (46)

5-0 out of 5 stars Equal parts Grail Quest and revenge mission
I found this slow going. While I like Thomas, I don't love him. He isn't larger than life.
Maybe it's the confused journeying around England and France that occupies half the book. Maybe it's the complicated Grail story. I can hardly keep track of the relationship of the Vexille family to the Grail, the Knights Templar, the Cathar heresy, the church and so on. Maybe I'm tiring of the magic bullet that the archers represent, although Cornwell is still inventive with battle scenes and keeps digging up interesting historical battles to refight. (Ones where the English defeat both the enemy and the odds.)

Maybe it's that in writing medieval Christians, Cornwell has trouble writing sympathetic ones that, while not overly pious, have a certain baseline of belief, as does Thomas. Thomas worries about his soul, about the afterlife, and believes in saints' miracles. He struggles with the idea of the Grail but ultimately believes in it. Cornwell does better in the Alfred series with Uhtred, whose belief in Norse gods, while superstitious, is just more fun and more in synch with that warrior's character. ("When we get to the corpse hall, we'll wench and revel and fight just like we did here." Now, that's the afterlife I want.)

Thomas, back in England after the first volume's victory at Crecy, journeys north to question an old monk about the Grail. Others are interested - anyone who gets a sniff of what they're up to, really, this is the Holy Grail we're talking about - but particularly Bernard de Taillebourg, a torturing Inquisitor with a mysterious black-clad bodyguard.

Thomas stumbles into an imminent battle between the fierce Scots, French allies,and the outnumbered English with their ace in the hole - archers, whose long-distance accuracy and killing power trumps even armored knights on horseback. This is one of the only times Cornwell depicts a battle between these two historic enemies. He gets to flesh out the Scots a little more.

Afterwards Thomas and Robbie Douglas, a Scottish prisoner released into his custody, journey south, in equal parts Grail quest and revenge mission for various deaths. De Tailllebourg hunts them. So to do other powerful enemies - Guy Vexille, the French cousin who killed Thomas' father; and the vicious Scarecrow, a heavily indebted English lord. Near the ruins of his home village on the Channel, Thomas finds a mysterious book left by his father, and then they head to France.

Many characters in the first book are brought back, including Thomas' old commander Will Skeat, now head-injured; Mordecai, the Jewish doctor; Sir Guillaume, the French lord who had befriended Thomas; Jeanine Chenier, the beautiful widow who abandoned him for the Prince of Wales; and Charles of Blois, who took Jeanine's young son, heir to a title and key to Charles' gaining all Brittany - if he can ever drive the British out. Jeanine, too, wants revenge and her boy back. Thomas wants to help her get it, but finds himself up against the Inquisition.

Charles has carefully planned an invasion, with a massive force of knights and crossbowmen and, more importantly, a well-reasoned out tactic to defeat the previously invincible archers. The vastly outnumbered garrison Thomas rejoins awaits reinforcements that never seem to come from faraway Calais.

Some fine things about the book include the introduction of Douglas, a boon companion whose Scots-English rivalry with Thomas echoes the rivarly of Sharpe with the Irish Harper; the portrayal of the fearsome trebuchets, souped-up late Medieval catapults; a sailing scene where a local trader helps Thomas and his crew outrun pursuers on faster boats; and his portrayal of Inquisition torture. Bernard plays subtle head games with his victims. And who knew they weren't allowed to draw blood?

And I must admit I actually like Charles of Blois, a villain from the first book but here a cool military commander willing to sacrifice glory to gain his objective by fighting a defensive battle much more likely to lead to victory. Yeah, he's a jerk, but he's also a grownup.

5-0 out of 5 stars great series
Like all of his series' this is an excellent one.It's really great, lots of action, adventure and a little romance.

4-0 out of 5 stars Turns History Into Adventure
Vagabond turns one of our least-studied periods of history into high adventure. Of course "those people" "'way back then" were real men and women with strengths and foibles. But it takes a gifted author to breathe the gift of realism into folks portrayed as living centuries ago. Bernard Cornwell has obviously done his research. This isn't really an historical novel, but rather a splendid novel set in an historical era.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
This is a great read.Don't start this series without finishing it!Amazing writer does a fantastic job mixing fact and fiction, and happily tells you which is which.

5-0 out of 5 stars good book
Cornwell is probably the best historical fiction writer today. This a very good series well written ans as always historically correct. ... Read more

11. Rebel (The Starbuck Chronicles #1)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 402 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$3.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060934611
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
The Nathaniel Starbuck ChroniclesBook One
Bull Run, 1861

When Richmond landowner Washington Faulconer snatches young Nate Starbuck from the grip of a Yankee-hating mob, Nate is both grateful and awed by his idealistic rescuer. To repay his generosity, he enlists in the Faulconer legion to fight against his home, the North, and against his abolitionist father. When the regiment joins up, ready to march into the ferocious battle at Buff Run, the men are prepared to start a war ... but they aren't ready for how they -- and the nation -- will be forever changed by the oaths they have sworn for their beloved South.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (35)

5-0 out of 5 stars Bernard Cornwell Makes History Come Alive
Bernard Cornwell has a way of making history come alive through his historical fictions, and this book about the War Between the States is no exception.I have enjoyed the Sharpe series, The Grail Quest series, The Saxon Chronicles, and the Arthur Books.Definitely books that a man (my man, especially) can enjoy, but I like them, too!If you haven't sampled this author's works yet, I can assure you that you're in for a treat.

5-0 out of 5 stars good book source

4-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe fans will enjoy this not-so-different 19th century battle depiction
This is a realistic look at the outset of the Civil War, fought by two armies of untested amateurs led by inexperienced officiers, all sure they can win in a day, attain glory, and go home to their families.

Nate Starbuck, son of the North's most fiery abolitionist preacher, has fled Yale Divinity School to run off with an actress who dumps him in Richmond just as Virginia secedes.He can't go home, but meanwhile is taken in by his college roommate's father, Washington Faulconer, one of Virginia's richest men.

Faulconer is raising his own regiment for the upcoming war, while his son Adam is a pacifist seeking reconciliation between North and South. Faulconer hopes to enlist the fierce Thomas Truslow, a notorious up-country bandit, as he may bring other good fighters with him. Meanwhile Faulconer pads his upper ranks with his own ineffectual schoolmaster brother-in-law Thaddeus Bird, and his daughter's fiance, the social-climbing Ethan Ridley. Starbuck must decide where his loyalties lay, as those around him decide whether they trust him and which side of the battlefield he belongs on.

As the battle looms, Faulconer angles desperately for postwar glory, but his legion's place in the Southern military hierarchy is uncertain.He lavishly outfits his men, overloading them with gear,while paying little attention to the essentials of war. With the battle about to be joined, he can't even find a way to get them to the front.

The novel builds somewhat slowly as Cornwell creates the milieu of just-barely-antebellum Virginia, but picks up with the introduction of Truslow, Sharpeian in his low origins, his can-do persona and his ability to see through society's smokescreens to the heart of matters. Cornwell does a fine job depicting the first major battle, that known as Bull Run or Manassas, with all the confusion inherent in a brand-new country's just-thrown-together army. He also gets just right the North's mix of sanctimony and overconfidence on a day when society folk ride out from Washington with picnic lunches to watch a battle they presume will be a rout.

Sharpe fans will enjoy his treatment of a similar 19th century battle, where thousands of soldiers first experienced the blood and chaos of battle. (Cornwell uses many of his distinctive Sharpeian touches, including killing off a young innocent almost as soon as the fighting begins.) The Faulconer Legion is fictional but placed at a key point in the historical battle, where an undermanned Southern unit must hold off a shrewd and potentially catastrophic Yankee thrust towards the Confederate rear.

5-0 out of 5 stars enjoyable
Cornwell is probably the best historical fiction writer today. This a very good series well written ans as always historically correct. This is not mt favorite book in the set but still enjoyable

3-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing....
As a Cornwell fan, and a Civil War enthusiast, I believed that I would enjoy the Nathan Starbuck series, of which "Rebel" is the first. I was disappointed. First there are certain inaccuracies concerning the time period and the conflict. This in itself is not fatal, but is somewhat surprising coming from such an accomplished and proven author. Second, I found it hard to route for the main character. He is simply shallow and boring. At the end of the first book, I was only beginning to understand his primary motivation. Then I found I could not sympathize with him. That is fatal in my thinking.

Cornwell does a good job in describing the conflict at Bullrun, yet is a little short with the important role that "Stonewall" Jackson played. Still. the author is a master in describing battles and armed conflict.

I have read five of Cornwell's books. This is the only one so far I would not have given 4 or 5 stars. ... Read more

12. Sharpe's Tiger (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #1)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 400 Pages (1999-08-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$5.65
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060932309
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description

In a battery of events that will make a hero out of an illiterate private, a young Richard Sharpe poses as the enemy to bring down a ruthless Indian dictator backed by fearsome French troops.

The year is 1799, and Richard Sharpe is just beginning his military career. An inexperienced young private in His Majesty's service, Sharpe becomes part of an expedition to India to push the ruthless Tippoo of Mysore from his throne and drive out his French allies. To penetrate the Tippoo's city and make contact with a Scottish spy being held prisoner there, Sharpe has to pose as a deserter. Success will make him a sergeant, but failure will turn him over to the Tippoo's brutal executioners -- or, worse -- his man-eating tigers. Picking his way through an exotic and alien world. Sharpe realizes that one slip will mean disaster. And when the furious British assault on the city finally begins, Sharpe must take up arms against his true comrades to preserve his false identity, risking death at their hands in order to avoid detection and thus to foil the Tippoo's well-set trap.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (103)

2-0 out of 5 stars What am I missing?
Wow -- everyone loves this but me!I don't get it -- I read Cornwell's Agincourt right before this book, and they're almost identical books.Pretty much the same characters in the same situtation -- just 300 years apart.The same lead character, the same female companion, the same strong leader, the same completely evil villian.....it really lacks creativity for me.The good are completely good, and the evil are completely evil -- I've seen more balanced characters in a Steven King novel.On top of that, the coincidences in this book are outrageous.How many times can the hero and the villian happen to accidently run into each other all over India?

I enjoy learning about the British army and their battles in India, but the writing seems very lazy and schlocky to me.

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful fun
This series has multiple books spanning the career of Richard Sharpe, a soldier from the ranks who becomes a war hero and eventually a colonel.It has spawned a series of well loved specials on the BBC and picked up in America by PBS.This book is the beginning of Sharpe's career.

It is a great read -- well written, suspensful and fun.You know Sharpe is going to triumph, because that is the name of the next book.But it's a great ride getting there.

He's smart, heroic and you can see why the video adaptations are so popular -- sex appeal.Let's face it, Richard Sharpe is the sterotypical heroic male.

There is a great deal of research behind these historical novels, but truly they are popular because following Richard Sharpe's exploits just sucks you in and you want to hear more.

3-0 out of 5 stars Great author + lousy publisher = mediocre ebook
Just finished the Kindle edition. I was saddened to see a good author's craft ruined by truly horrible editing. The publisher screwed this one up so bad it was painful to read. The book is full of errors that should have been caught in the most superficial edit. I suppose that PerfectBound and Harper Collins simply scanned a printed copy of the book, pushed the electronic result through a spell checker, and published it. There are fifteen places where the scanner obviously misread "the" and got "die". Because of the lack of an edit, that's how it was published. And that's only one example.

Publishers have a duty to their authors and readers to faithfully reproduce the author's work. When they fail the author loses fans and, presumably, money. To have to pay ten dollars for a book that looks like it cost almost nothing to publish reflects on the greed of the publisher.

4-0 out of 5 stars Soldiers and whores
This exciting story about horrible things happening to not so good of a guy half makes me wish to go to India and get a whore and shoot up a city.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sharpe's Tiger
Product was exactly as described in Amazon.com and seller shipped it promptly.
Great service. ... Read more

13. The Winter King (The Arthur Books #1)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 433 Pages (1997-04-15)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$5.96
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312156960
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
It takes a remarkable writer to make an old story as fresh and compelling as the first time we heard it. With The Winter King, the first volume of his magnificent Warlord Chronicles, Bernard Cornwell finally turns to the story he was born to write: the mythic saga of King Arthur.

The tale begins in Dark Age Britain, a land where Arthur has been banished and Merlin has disappeared, where a child-king sits unprotected on the throne, where religion vies with magic for the souls of the people. It is to this desperate land that Arthur returns, a man at once utterly human and truly heroic: a man of honor, loyalty, and amazing valor; a man who loves Guinevere more passionately than he should; a man whose life is at once tragic and triumphant.

As Arthur fights to keep a flicker of civilization alive in a barbaric world, Bernard Cornwell makes a familiar tale into a legend all over again.
Amazon.com Review
Essentially this is a modern political thriller, told in flatAmerican diction.Narrated by Derfel, an ordinary, likable man whorises through the ranks to become Arthur's friend and advisor in peaceand war, the story doesn't follow the traditional patterns. Mordred isUther's infant grandson, the legitimate king; Arthur is one ofMordred's guardians, sworn to hold the kingdom against the Saxonwarlords until Mordred comes of age. Warfare is incessant. Arthur'sdream of peace and unity seems unattainable. Derfel's own story--hisstrange origin, his love for Nimue, his worries and histriumphs--parallels Arthur's as he fights for and beside him.

Bernard Cornwell downplays the magic that enlivens the traditional stories,depicting it more as a combination of superstition and shrewd wits. Irecommend this with reservations; though it's absorbing to read, theemphasis on battles and politics means that this will greatly appealto some fantasy readers, but disappoint others. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (172)

1-0 out of 5 stars Buyer Beware
This is not a review of the novel, but instead of its electronic version and is offered as a caveat to would-be purchasers.

The ebook version of The Winter King is riddled with textual errors, perhaps as a result of having been created using Optical Character Recognition software and certainly for not having been diligently proofread, if it was proofread at all. These errors are a consistent distraction throughout the book, occuring most frequently in proper nouns which, as they recur, do so in a strange and apparently random variety of misspellings ... sometimes within a single sentence.
Additionally, there is no functional table of contents for the Kindle edition and a map meant to be included is not.

Perhaps Penguin will see fit to correct these many errors in a future edition, but as of this review they are an unfortunate and considerable detriment to enjoying the book.

2-0 out of 5 stars OK
Not crazy about this one.I love Cornwell, and the Saxon Chronicles are some of my favorite, but this one he seemed to just try way too hard.

5-0 out of 5 stars Arthur is unique among Cornwell's heroes
Cornwell's revisiting of the Arthur legend is outstanding and welcome. He brings the characters to life, in a more three-dimensional telling than, say, the "Camelot" or "Sword in the Stone" versions most familiar in popular culture.There's resonance with "The Lord of the Rings"; you realize how much Tolkien borrowed from this period.

Arthur's a warlord with a strong and unusual desire to do good. Guinevere is trouble from the outset. In the view of our narrator, the warrior Derfel, the world would have been better off if she'd been drowned at birth. She launches a war by beguiling Arthur into breaking his engagement to a key princess.
Lancelot is a phony, commissioning heroic ballads about himself while shying away from combat. Merlin is fascinating but elusive, absent for too long while he's needed. Nimue is his most powerful disciple, close from childhood with Derfel, their two stories intertwined.

As another reviewer has remarked, there's much in common with "The Saxon Chronicles" here, those taking place a few centuries later in the time of Alfred the Great. England is a primitive land filled with miserable hovels and stinking peasants, besieged by savage and overwhelming foreign invaders from the east. Warriors fight with sword, shield and spear. War is miserable for the helpless citizens plundered, raped, murdered or sold into slavery when a battle is lost. Arthur is the same strong leader Alfred later is, a better warrior personally, less religious, but equally dedicated to unity and peace and equally shrewd in seeing ways through the rivalries of multiple allies and adversaries.

Again there's tension between Christianity and the pagans. In this one, Cornwell find nothing good in the Christians with their "nailed god" - dour, selfish and grasping, often subverting Arthur. (The main clergyman declares a 12 year old boy a saint so that he can consort with him.) The pagans struggle to preserve their own beleaguered religion. Their blood-soaked magic is more fun, particularly when half-crazed Druids come out before battles to dance, spit on and curse the enemy. Cornwell never shows them actually achieving any magic, and Nimue confides to Derfel that it's mostly theater - but the people's belief in Druid power goes a long way to creating it.

His similarities to Alfred nothwithstanding, Arthur is unique in Cornwell's works: stronger than his other idealists and more conscience-driven than his other bad-ass warriors like Sharpe and Uhtred. Usually Cornwell doesn't put all those goodies in one place.

Derfel, an orphan (of course) raised by Merlin, has a good vantage point from which to recount the action:the installation of Uther's baby grandson Mordred as heir to a powerfulEnglish kingdom; the treachery of others sworn to protect him after Uther dies; Arthur's emergence as his main protector; and the chaos caused by Arthur's passion for Guinevere.

There are some particularly fine scenes, including the fall of the Brittany kingdom of Benoic, where Lancelot's father Ban had created an island paradise of scholarship and art while failing to provide adequately for its defense; a scene on the Isle of the Dead, a scary place where the insane or criminal are exiled; and the final battle sequence where the rest of England gangs up on Arthur, his allies having deserted him.

5-0 out of 5 stars The absolute BEST King Arthur fiction out there
This series, which consists of this book, along with the "Enemy of God" and "Excalibur" from the same author--is simply the BEST tale of King Arthur you can find. It's told like it could have actually happened, and narrated from a brand new character who you come to truly care about just as deeply as Arthur itself.

The series has a new take on Lancelot, Guinevere, Arthur and Mordred that is absolutely fitting. I especially love his take on Arthur. Here is a man that, throughout the story, is so obviously the most honorable, truly magnificent man who should be a King, but simply wants to retire to his own land, with his own wife and family. However, that is never the case as he constantly has to pick up his sword and lead mean to victory. It seems while Arthur wants peace for himself and for Britain, Britain itself will never rest.

I also have never been a fan of the Lancelot/Guinevere drama, and this book is clever in the way Lancelot is portrayed that is truly satisfying. Also, it cleverly does away with the whole incest thing, which allows Arthur and his story to be presented in a new, unpredictable way. Believe me, you MUST read this entire trilogy.

3-0 out of 5 stars An alternative Arthur
I am familiar with Mr. Cornwall's writings and generally enjoy them very much. He is taking on the established order of things when he writes his version of the Arthurian legend. Forget Mary Stewart's writings and especially forget the Disney version as well as the Stephen Lawhead take on the legend.In this first book about Arthur, Mr Cornwall starts out by placing him as almost a side character. He is not presented as Uther's son, bastard or otherwise. Merlin certainly doesn't have a key role in this first book. It seems that this book is more of an introduction to an era and to what at first would be considered secondary characters.
As in his other books, most of his views seem to be definitely anti-Christian, or at the least, what passed for Christianity at the time. Most of the characters that are described as being Christian are shown in an unflattering light, to say the least. I am familiar with the historical struggles between belief systems such as those indicated in the books. All the characters with beliefs in Woden, Mithras or other gods are noble and strong whereas the Christians are not. Since this has occurred in Mr Cornwall's other writings, I am assuming that this is something he definitely intended. Still as storytelling goes, his writings are enjoyable.
I will read his other books in this tale of Arthur, just to see where the story goes in contrast to the other versions of the legend. ... Read more

14. Copperhead
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 432 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$7.45
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006093462X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Nathaniel Starbuck ChroniclesBook Two
Ball's Bluff, 1862

The beloved Confederate Captain Nate Starbuck returns to the front lines of the Civil War in this second installment of Bernard Cornwell's acclaimed Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles. It is the summer of 1862, and Nate has been bloodied but victorious at the battles of Ball's Bluff and Seven Pines. But he can't escape his Northern roots, and it is only a matter of time until he's accused of being a Yankee spy, pursued, and brutally interrogated. To clear his name, he must find the real traitor -- a search that will require extraordinary courage, endurance, and a perilous odyssey through enemy territory.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

5-0 out of 5 stars Intrigue in Richmond as the Union angles for a quick end to the Civil War
How is Nathaniel Starbuck like Richard Sharpe? Let me count the ways.

Both are tall, lean and handsome. Both are instinctive soldiers and natural leaders whom others gravitate towards. Both have weaknesses for lovely women, particularly those of questionable reputations (whom Cornwell writes so well). Both find their commands jeopardized by selfish superiors caring more about glory than winning the war. Both have key allies - usually around the rank of major - who know what they're really worth. Both can withstand torture. And both will occasionally making daring forays into enemy territory on their own authority - in Starbuck's case, into Maryland to capture a supplies shipment, because he misses real coffee. (Starbuck's coffee?) There's also a trace of O'Brian's Jack Aubrey here.

There are a few ways in which they differ. Starbuck comes from gentry, Sharpe from the gutter. Starbuck went to Yale, Sharpe learned how to read in an Indian prison. Starbuck, younger and the child of an evangelist, is more prone to attacks of religious conscience. (The more ruthless, invincible side of Sharpe is preserved by Cornwell in Thomas Truslow's character.)
And both of them, when the chips are down, are willing to kill, and it doesn't always have to do with war.

By the way, I was delighted to figure out the Sharpe-tied character in this one. He was introduced in the first Starbuck book, but I didn't pick up on it.

Anyway, the second book continues this fine Civil War series. I continue to be impressed by Cornwell's ability to capture the 19th century American scene, its sights and smells and language and ways. The Civil War provides a fine playground for him, because it so readily allows the intrigue he wove so well into the Sharpe novels, as well as a certain ambiguity enhancing realism. It's hard to vilify either side when they all speak the same language, have the same religion, separated only by blue and gray battle lines moving back and forth over Virginia. The Yankees may be overconfident and oversupplied while having yet to prove they can fight, but the Rebels, as endearing as they may be as plucky underdogs, have some odious characters of their own, particularly the spymaster de'Ath and Washington Faulconer's new second-in-command, the vile Swynyard. (Cornwell overdoes the bad-guy names a bit in this one.)

Disobeying orders, of course, Starbuck leads his men in a sudden maneuver turning the battle of Ball's Bluff - the Union's first real attempt on offense since the loss at Manassas - into a rout.But he is shortly relieved of his command as Faulconer returns to duty. Starbuck finds a government job in Richmond, putting him close to paramour Sally Truslow, now a high-class whore. Meanwhile his friend and Washington's son Adam Faulconer, disillusioned by the war's brutality and hoping to bring a quick end to the secession, starts spying for the North through Starbuck's brother James, briefly a Southern prisoner but now repatriated and attached to Allan Pinkerton's intelligence office. McClellan prepares an enormous campaign up the peninsula towards Richmond from the ocean. As he closes in on Richmond, the Rebels learn of a spy in their midst.

2-0 out of 5 stars Nate Makes No Sense
I rate this book 2 stars relative to Cornwell's other work. It is the first book by him that I will not save for a future re-read. The issue is that the main character's motives make no sense and in no way are noteworthy. Nate is not a functioning fictional character.

But as a fan I will try #3 in the series just to see if the Cornwell majic returns at all.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Novel
Bernard Cornwell is one of the greatest authors of historical fiction that I have ever read. His attention to detail and his vivid description of historical events add a new dimension to the past and give the reader the opportunity to truly experience past moments.

Copperhead captures not only the saga of the civil war but the emotions of those involved and demonstrates Cornwell's capacity for capturing the heart of men. It was an excellent novel and a great addition to a remarkable series of books.

5-0 out of 5 stars A GREAT CIVIL WAR SERIES
I expected the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles to be like the Sharpe series, but I was initially disappointed when I started reading REBEL (Book 1 of the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles). It took about one hundred pages to introduce the characters and setting and I almost gave up. Lucky for me I didn't. The story took off and kept me enthralled throughout with Cornwell's excellent telling of the Battle of Bull Run. I continued to be entertained in COPPERHEAD, though the action and adventure were more concerned with espionage than the confusion and horror of the battlefield.

I don't understand how some reviewers could complain that Nate Starbuck was unlikable. He grew on me as I watched him stumble and fall and learn from his mistakes to become a better person and an able officer.

I was also happily surprised to see that Mr. Cornwell introduced us to French Colonel Patrick Lasan, the son of Richard Sharpe and Lucille Castineau. Battlescarred and wearing an eyepatch, Col. Lasan is a rogue and adventurer just like his father. I wish there had been more scenes with him and Nate in the book.

All in all, this is a great Civil War series. I hope Mr. Cornwell will write another book in the Starbuck Chronicles.

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Historical Fiction of the War of Southern Rebellion
You have to love the hero, Starbuck, as he continues as a Yankee fighting for Virgina. The way that Cornwell developes his character Nate Starbuck, as with Sharpe in the Richard Sharpe series, is compelling. Starbuck is not a super hero, but a good man who occasionally does bad things, but more often takes the high road in his moral decisions and is a very effective warrior and leader. Starbuck is a guy you would love to have a beer with. Cornwell also developes anti-heros effectively, making them people you love to hate. As with all Bernard Cornwell novels - a great read. ... Read more

15. Enemy of God (The Arthur Books #2)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 397 Pages (1998-03-15)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$5.08
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312187149
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
With the Winter King, the first volume of his magnificent Warlord
Amazon.com Review
Cornwell furnishes a provocative look at the Arthurian legendsin Enemy of God, the second book in the WarlordsChronicle. This version of the tale takes place during the Dark Ages,when even the lords of the land lived in thatched huts. Arthur, stilldefending Britain for his younger half-brother Mordred, facesreligious uprisings, Saxon invasions, and disloyalty at the heart ofthe kingdom. His uncompromising belief in oaths and his optimisticblindness to human betrayal isolate him from even his closest friends.At the same time, Merlin's quest for the Cauldron (read Holy Grail)also becomes entangled in treachery.

Cornwell's writing skills have continued to evolve since hisjourneyman Sharpeseries, and Enemy of God combines intriguing descriptions ofDruidical magic with the war-ravaged landscape of Dark Ages Britain,without holding back on the brutality of vengeance and war. The Matterof Britain always commands interest, and Cornwell invests the usualsplendor and tragedy with the human squalor of the times. --BlaiseSelby ... Read more

Customer Reviews (65)

4-0 out of 5 stars suprising
ive never read a king arthur story quite like this. but if you where to think of what the dark ages might have been this is it. if you are looking for the traditional romantic garbage you probably won't care for it. i couldn't put it down

5-0 out of 5 stars Enemy of God
I became a fan of Bernard Cornwell's historical novels by the time I got thirty pages into the second book of his Caesar trilogy.After completing those three books, I almost immediately picked up his Ghengis Khan, and now I am reading the third book of the King Arthur series.I had bought the first two books together, thinking I might burn out on his writing after having read several of his books so close together. By the time I finished the second book I found myself unwilling to wait on the third book being ordered, so I went to the local library for the third book and immediately immersed myself in the continuation of Cornwell's fifth century A.D. version of Arthur and his court.

Although each series centers on an historical figure (in Arthur's case, a fictional one), his storylines are quite original in viewpoint, while being seemingly thoroughly researched.

I am not a student of history, by any standards.Throughout each book, though, I find Cornwell making me feel more knowledgable and conversant with that era of time and that character than I seem to have been prior to reading that particular work.More important to me, though, is his ability to hold my interest in in a storyline while leading me through a significant amount of unfamiliar (to me) names and language/terminology pertinant to that period or culture, eventually finding myself more at ease with their uses and significance.

Lastly, each of the series has its own definite flavor and significance.Writers who seem to have written what seems to be a large body of works - particularly in the "adventure" genre - frequently fall into using the same set of character traits, situations, descriptions or platforms upon which their stories are built. I do not find that in Cornwell's works at all, at least through these first three series which I have read.

I look forward to reading further installments of Bernard Cornwell's version of "world history."

5-0 out of 5 stars Enemy of God
Great story -- and well written.Makes the period (500 AD) seem very real -- tough time to be living.Loved the character Derfel.Lots of heroism, love, hate, death, treachery -- just like life.

4-0 out of 5 stars Solid
Perhaps not as good as Winter King, Enemy of God does a great job of connecting the first and third tomes of the triology. About halfway it can get a little slow but if one manages to soldier on it is a rewarding book. Very eventful and manages to deliver what you'd expect from the triology and from Bernard Cornwell.

5-0 out of 5 stars Yeah, but friend to the reader!
Cornwell is the undisputed master of the historical adventure novel. He has that unique talent and ability to breathe life into the dust of the past and magically bring it back to colorful form.
This Arthur series will cause you to rethink the whole round table notion of Camelot. For the purists who like to believe that it was all Disney and fluffy niceness then this book probably isn't for you. However, if you're looking for a better telling than what you're used to and perahps a abetter look at the actual times, place and day to day challenges then I highly recommend this second book in the three book series.
This is a solid story.
... Read more

16. Redcoat
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 512 Pages (2003-04-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$6.90
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060512776
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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It is autumn 1777, and the cradle of liberty, Philadelphia, has fallen to the British. Yet the true battle has only just begun.

On both sides, loyalties are tested and families torn asunder. The young Redcoat Sam Gilpin has seen his brother die. Now he must choose between duty to a distant king and the call of his own conscience. And for the men and women of the prosperous Becket family, the Revolution brings bitter conflict between those loyal to the crown and those with dreams of liberty.

Soon, across the fields of ice and blood in a place called Valley Forge, history will be rewritten, changing the lives and fortunes of these men and women forever.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (38)

4-0 out of 5 stars classic cornwell
Bernard Cornwell has a tendancy to write the same story with different characters, but still make them and the story interesting. Redcoat, which seems to be a stand alone novel is no exception. Hey, I read all the Sharpe stories and didn't get tired of them. Yes, the batttlefield graphic can be repetitive, but Cornwell's easy style make it a good read. Anyone with a historical background will love the details.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Slow Curtain to a Good Performance
I'd have to agree with a few others here that REDCOAT was a little slow to get started. Cornwell was taking his time setting the stage before moving the plot along. But saying that, it's another good historical effort from someone who seems to have Mastered the genre. His research alone to get the right feel, tone and flavor is enough to draw me in while his characters and battle scenes are among the best in this business.
Reading Cornwell gives you good adventure and a history lesson (or lessons) all rolled up into a wonderful series. Better still, no vampires.

5-0 out of 5 stars RedcoatReview
I purchased this book and while I have not read it yet, the author is one of my favs, so over the holidays I will probably sit down and enjoy great days of reading.

5-0 out of 5 stars love this writer
Cornwell is one writer that I will read as long as he writes historical novels.I have read them all and never disappointed.

3-0 out of 5 stars Redcoat
It's a very good book, but not as good as the other books by the same author... ... Read more

17. Sharpe's Triumph: Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye, September 1803 (Richard Sharpe's Adventure Series #2)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 304 Pages (2000-08-01)
list price: US$13.99 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060951974
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Richard Sharpe and the Battle of Assaye,
September 1803

It is India, 1803.In the four years since he earned his sergeant's stripes, young Richard Sharpe has led a relatively peaceful existence. But Sharpe's reverie ends when he barely survives a murderous act of treason by a bitter English officer who has joined the mercenary forces of the Mahratta confederation, determined to drive the British from the continent. Vowing to hunt down the turncoat, Sharpe plunges headlong into the white-hot battle of Assaye alongside Sir Arthur Wellesley -- the future of Duke of Wellington -- in the fiercest fight of his career. Sharpe's Triumph is a riveting story of betrayal and revenge that showcases the deft blend of suspenseful military adventure and sweeping historical detail that has made Bernard Corwell's books bestsellers around the world.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (53)

1-0 out of 5 stars Get the paper version, not the Kindle version
You save a whole 8 cents buying the Kindle version instead of the paper version. This joke of a pricing difference is going guarantee the eventual failure of the Kindle unless Amazon decides to do something about this.

4-0 out of 5 stars "Nothing is achieved in war by officers without men, but a good deal by men without officers."
It's the early fall of 1803 and Richard Sharpe of His Majesty's army in India has had his sergeant's stripes for four years. He's good at his job, but he has developed the ambition of becoming an officer, if only so he can go back home someday and swagger into his old haunts with a sash and sword.Meanwhile, though, he's sent off with Col. McCandless, General Wellesley's head of intelligence, to locate and drag back a traitorous lieutenant from the East India Company who has changed sides and is now fighting as a major with the army of an enemy rajah. Wellesley is seeking battle with yet another traitorous Company man who commands the rajah's huge army, and Sharpe, McCandless, and the general will all reconverge at the Battle of Assaye -- which, even after Waterloo, Wellesley (now Duke of Wellington) still considered his own greatest victory. As always, the plot is complex, with numerous subplots, the action is meticulously and accurately described, the characters are entirely believable, and the narrative will carry you right along. Sharpe continues on his way up the ladder of promotion and the reader will be following right behind him.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good one, moves along well....
I typically don't like books that depicts battles since I find them hard to follow, but this one I liked. Looking forward to the 3rd in the series.

5-0 out of 5 stars small wonder
Small wonder that the brick and mortar shopping venues are in trouble; with Amaazon shopping is just a click and a delivery, so simple and precise and I can purchase used books and tapes at a substantial discount!
Hail the new medium!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Glory in the Midst of Bloody Battles and Duplicity
If you haven't yet read Sharpe's Tiger, I recommend that you begin your reading of this exciting series with that book. The characters and story in Sharpe's Triumph will make more sense that way.

If you liked Sharpe's Tiger, you will probably enjoy Sharpe's Triumph even more. The story here is more historically accurate, the various battles are brilliantly described, and readers will find it easier to identify with Sharpe as the hero of the story.

As the book opens, Sergeant Sharpe has been sent to pick up some ammunition . . . a seemingly dull assignment that soon becomes quite meaningful. There's a rogue lieutenant from the British East India Company who has a bounty on his head, and Sharpe is soon drawn into the search for Lieutenant Dodd and the sepoys he took with him.

In the background, Sharpe has been enjoying a leisurely four years since he earned his sergeant's stripes in Sharpe's Tiger. The cushion that his wealth has brought is about to become a curse, however.

In the search for Dodd, Sharpe is presented with the opportunity to better his station in life, meets a new love interest, and has some hard choices to make.

The high point of the story comes in the detailed recounting of the Battle of Assaye which was important to defeating the Indian forces and helped establish the reputation of Sir Arthur Wellesley (later the Duke of Wellington).

Those who don't want to read about the bloody side of war would do well to avoid this book.

... Read more

18. Excalibur, A Novel of Arthur (The Arthur Books #3)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 436 Pages (1999-07-16)
list price: US$16.99 -- used & new: US$7.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0312206488
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
In The Winter King and Enemy of God Bernard Cornwell demonstrated his astonishing ability to make the oft-told legend of King Arthur fresh and new for our time. Now, in this riveting final volume of The Warlord Chronicles, Cornwell tells the unforgettable tale of Arthur's final struggles against the Saxons and his last attempts to triumph over a ruined marriage and ravaged dreams.

This is the tale not only of a broken love remade, but also of forces both earthly and unearthly that threaten everything Arthur stands for. Peopled by princesses and bards, by warriors and magicians, Excalibur is the story of love, war, loyalty, and betrayal-the work of a magnificent storyteller at the height of his powers.
Amazon.com Review
The third novel in the Warlords Chronicle, Excalibur: ANovel of Arthur immerses the reader in the Britain of the DarkAges. Merlin, the greatest of the Druids, believes that the ancientgods are deserting Britain, and that the invading Saxons can't bedefeated without the gods' help. Mordred reigns with a brutal hand,and Arthur sees his dreams of peace evaporate.The author providesexciting descriptions of swordplay and battles, interspersed withsomewhat gruesome depictions of ordinary life in those days--greasy,waist-length beards serving as napkins, lambs bloodily sacrificedbefore festivals, and rampant lice.

But at the heart of Excalibur--what makes the Arthurian legendseternally fascinating--is the larger-than-life company of heroes, fromSagramor the warrior to Taliesin the bard, Guinevere, Lancelot, andArturus Rex himself.Cornwell treats them all with warmth anddignity, revealing their human qualities without unnecessarilyreinventing them. This three-part saga of magic and bloodshed willgrip readers from the first page of The Winter King,through Enemy ofGod, to the last page of Excalibur. --BlaiseSelby ... Read more

Customer Reviews (83)

5-0 out of 5 stars Cornwell our kindred spirit
This is my first ever review as I didnt really even think I was a reader until I started having children 5 years ago.Excalibur was a fantastic climax to the Arthur series told as far as Im concerned more realistically sounding than any research could dig up.I have read now this series along with the grail series and find myself yearning for more Cornwell.My favorite is the Books about my beloved kindred spirit Lord Uhtred who I am still dreaming at night if he will ever take back Bebbanburg. As far Excalibur, Lord Derfel relays his tales and those of Arthur, Lancelot and Guinevere humbly yet savage with such realism.We are all warriors spawned from generations ago, thankyou Cornwell for reconnecting me to that driving force.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Ending to a Great Trilogy
Excalibur is a fine ending to the Arthur trilogy by Bernard Cromwell.Even though this book was published over ten years ago it is relevant and well written.I'm going to donate it to my library!

4-0 out of 5 stars Close, but...
Excalibur is a wonderful conclustion to Conrwell's Arthurian trilogy.His shield wall descriptions hit new heights.Nearly all the pieces carefully built up in the earlier books come neatly together.My only complaint is that the ending was a bit flat.A few details go unexplained and the tale just ends.A couple of pages closing some loops would have been more rewarding.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excalibur

Great book -- third in the series.Recommend them all -- second one may be the best, but this one is very good.Cornwell is a great story teller.

4-0 out of 5 stars A long time ago
A very good follow up to the two previous books in the series. It's a good fantasy fling into a historic time and place. Sharon Kay Penman STILL has everyone beat though as far as historical fiction is concerned. If you really would like to smell the battlefield, hear the clash of swords and the scream of of dying men and horses check out her books. The Sunne In Splendour: A Novel of Richard IIIWhen Christ and His Saints Slept: A NovelThe ReckoningTime and Chance ... Read more

19. The Bloody Ground (The Starbuck Chronicles, Book 4)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 368 Pages (2001-09-01)
list price: US$14.99 -- used & new: US$8.60
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 006093719X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The Nathaniel Starbuck ChroniclesBook Four
Battle of Antietam, 1862

In this fourth, final, and rousing installment of Nathaniel Starbuck's Civil War adventures, Nate is given command of a punishment battalion: a motley collection of cowards, thieves, deserters, and murderers. Setting off to Join General Robert E. Lee's army, Starbuck's men reach Harper's Ferry in time to take part in Stonewall Jackson's capture of the Union garrison. From there, the regiment moves on to the legendary horror of Sharpsburg, beside the Antietam Creek, forever to be remembered as the bloodiest single day of the war. There, Starbuck and his troop will have their courage and commitment tested as never before.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (25)

4-0 out of 5 stars The last of a good series
The fourth and (probably) final book in Cornwell's Civil War series, The Bloody Ground takes us through the Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest single day battle in American history.

Without enough going on for a novel to ramp up between Second Manassas and Antietam, Cornwell contrives to send our protagonist back to Richmond to pick up a new command, a punishment battalion dubbed the "Yellowlegs" after they broke and ran in the Peninsula Campaign before they were even fully engaged.Nate of course brings them along and gets them back to the army in time to redeem themselves at Harpers Ferry and Antietam.

Cornwell's account of General McClellan sitting on the lawn and drinking tea while mismanaging the battle through his telescope and fretting over how to save his massively superior army from Lee's impossible counterstroke is priceless.

I would like to see Cornwell return to this series and write one or two more, but I strongly doubt that he will.For one thing, he has killed off one of the important characters that gave these stories balance.For another, there are not that many more major battles for the Confederates to win.Can you seriously imagine Cornwell's formula changing so radically that the book ended with Starbuck/Sharpe/Uthred defeated?

4-0 out of 5 stars palpable presence
Precise and palpable details present Cornwell's fiction with immanent force that conjures realistic imagery as real as dreams.This work and this series find his style hitting on all cylinders, and there couldnt have been a better topic than war-fiction based on the war between the states.Cornwell brings the objectivity of a foreigner to the work, and the choice of a copperhead for a first person narrator demonstrates the highest level of storytelling skill.

I've read the Saxon series and the Arthur series and a few others, and this series rates on par with the best.However, though the imagery and visual detail of the narrative are the best in the series, the character development lags the other works.In terms of character development and the fascination it creates in the reader, I find the first in the series strongest.

Finally I would add that I have been to the sacred bloody groud of Antietam / Sharpsburg, and walked the terrain, and I found this book faithfully bringing to life what my imagination could only suggest.For the Civil War buff this series is pure delight.Buy it.

5-0 out of 5 stars The boys in blue keep coming as the bodies pile up
Antietam was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. One thing that stands out about the battle in this fourth book of Cornwell's "Starbuck Chronicles" is that, for the first time, we see a real pitched battle - one where the Union Army finally stands and fights.

Major Nate Starbuck, fresh off the Confederate victory at the second Manassas, is suddenly transferred to an undesirable post, commanding a Richmond unit disgraced by its cowardice at an earlier battle when, as green troops, poorly led, they broke and ran. He is replaced as commander of the Faulconer Legion by Maitland, a high society officer seeking minimal battle experience needed to punch his ticket for promotion.

Starbuck uses a ruse to scope out his new command, led by corrupt or brutal officers dedicated to keeping it in perpetual retraining for their own motives. They are thrown back into battle without much warning. Starbuck meanwhile must figure out who supports him versus who might put a bullet in his back, as well as how to handle Potter, a personable junior officer but also a drunk.

Meanwhile Adam Faulconer is tasked by his Washington spymaster to make contact with the North's most valuable spy, Richmond lawyer Belvedere Delaney, suddenly close to Robert E. Lee.Delaney stumbles across information that could turn the war, but needs to find a way to get it to Washington. And once he does, will the terminally cautious McClellan know what to do with it?

All this leads to Antietam in September 1862. McClellan, as so often before, could win the war right here with any one of several not-overly-bold strokes, just committing his deep and better-equipped reserves to the battle against the ragged and outnumbered Rebels, reduced to raiding the bodies of the dead for extra cartridges. The Southerners are overcommitted to holding a creek line to the east as well as one extending across less defensible open fields, woods and a cornfield to the North. But McClellan dithers as ever about defending Washington and wastes time on elaborate maneuvering while buying Pinkerton's vastly exaggerated estimates of Lee's strength. Even the committed parts of the Union force this day significantly outnumber the Rebs, but this time brave Rebel counterattacks and countercharges no longer break the Union's spirit. The boys in blue keep coming as the bodies on both sides pile up.

4-0 out of 5 stars the best book in the series
the best book in the series. Cornwell's series is excellent. I went out and bought a histroy book on the civil war. This series really peak my interest in that era

5-0 out of 5 stars On Better Ground
Bernard Cornwell breathes so much life back into history that with BLOODY GROUND is book #4 in the Starbuck Chronicles he should be listed on the Red Cross CPR list on Top Ten Pulse Givers! Yeah, I know...there's no such title but once you read your way into one of his series you begin to see and feel history in a new light. With BLOODY GROUND you get the American Civil War and the build up to Gettysburg. The war is building with intensity and with book #4 we are in the thick of the fight at Sharpsburg and Cornwell places us right along side of those who were there. Is it fiction? Yes, the best kind because it brings meaning back to the battle sites where thousand died for causes only they could best define. Nate Starbuck has his reasons for fighting for the Confederacy and Cornwell makes them as complex as only real life can be.
Awhile back I think there was a push to build a theme park at one of the major Civil War battle sites but it fell by the wayside due to public outcry and protest. Cornwell's fine series offers us a look at why the ground deserves something better than souped up carnival rides or hawkers selling overpriced 'It's a small, slave world' T-shirts.
What was lost there and what was gained needs to be preserved.
A good read. ... Read more

20. Sea Lord (The Thrillers #2)
by Bernard Cornwell
Paperback: 320 Pages (1998-10)
list price: US$12.80 -- used & new: US$7.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140177248
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
This is a splendid thriller of skullduggery and smuggling, politics and passion, in the Carribean waters, with a twentieth-century Sharpe at the helm. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Sea Lord
Sea Lord and Killer's Wake are one and the same book published under two diferent titles.Great book but no need to buy both. ... Read more

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