Customer Reviews for

Sword Song: The Battle for London (Saxon Tales #4)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

best in the saxon series

Ignore the first review. It's either a joke or a mistake. Having enjoyed the 3 previous saxon stories, this one is the best. As always, Cornwell excels at battle scenes. He also brings to life a bygone age with great detail that never weights down the page. Throw in a ...
Ignore the first review. It's either a joke or a mistake. Having enjoyed the 3 previous saxon stories, this one is the best. As always, Cornwell excels at battle scenes. He also brings to life a bygone age with great detail that never weights down the page. Throw in a touch of humor and you have a great book!

posted by Anonymous on February 9, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Not as good as I hoped.

I had enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's previous novels in the Saxon series but Sword Song proved to be a let down. The plot was just to predictable for me. After the first few chapters, I knew where the book was going. I loved the Lords of the North, but Sword Song couldn't k...
I had enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's previous novels in the Saxon series but Sword Song proved to be a let down. The plot was just to predictable for me. After the first few chapters, I knew where the book was going. I loved the Lords of the North, but Sword Song couldn't keep me entertained for long. Bernard Cornwell is a great author, but this wasn't one of better works.

posted by 1_Nf6 on May 8, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 9, 2008

    best in the saxon series

    Ignore the first review. It's either a joke or a mistake. Having enjoyed the 3 previous saxon stories, this one is the best. As always, Cornwell excels at battle scenes. He also brings to life a bygone age with great detail that never weights down the page. Throw in a touch of humor and you have a great book!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 24, 2008

    Uhtred is 1 of the GREATEST literary figures ever created!

    The Saxon Chronicles, panned from the outset as Cornwell trying to return to his British roots, has proven to be a juggernaut that cannot be stopped by bad and, in this case, off-base, press reviews. Book 4, 'Sword Song: The Battle for London', continues the story of Lord Uhtred, Saxon born, Dane raised, sworn man of King Alfred the great. In this installment, Uhtred fights to take London back from the invading Northemen, the Vikings. Uhtred, who loves the Vikings far more than he cares for the Christian religion of the king he is continually sworn to serve, now must fight to take back London and to save Alfred, and his family, from defeat at the hands of the Norse invaders. This book, beginning in the year 885, probably doesn't see the end of 886 before the final page is turned. Unlike the first 3 offerings in this series, this book covers a very short period of time, perhaps 6-8 months. It is a fast moving, blood-letting adventure as Uhtred overtakes Danish controlled London whilst his estranged cousin, Aethelred, marries King Alfred's daughter, Aethelflaed, in search of a kingdom of his own. Uhtred is ordered to produce that kingdom as a gift to the newly married couple. Aetheflaed, a young woman whom Uhtred has known and loved as a daughter since she was a child, marries Uhtred's cousin, Aethelred, a man who Uhtred respects little and whom Uhtred, thanks to Alfred's order, owes much begining with the city of London. As we again hear Uhtred continue the story of his service to Alfred (All of the books in this series are told in first person), we find that a dead Dane skald (poet) is rising from his grave and announcing that Uhtred is to be King of Mercia. Uhtred witnesses this dead rising and follows the corpses instruction to meet with the Danish attackers who want to take the Saxon lands, present day England. Uhtred obeys the skald and travels to the Danish stronghold in London to meet 2 brothers, Erik and Sigefrid Thirgilson, and Haesten, a man who Uhtred once saved and who owed Uhtred an oath, which had been broken. Uhtred, if nothing else, is a man of his word, but he is tempted by the prophecy of the dead skald. He was tempted by the opportunity to fight along side the Northmen that he loved. He was desirous of seeing Alfred dethroned for he hated the pious nature of the king. Thus begins our journey with Uhtred. A journey that will lead to the battle for London, another war with the Danes, and a twist of fate (as Uhtred repeats throughout the book, 'Fate is inexorable') that will test Uhtred's oath like no other test has in his past. Uhtred is one of the greatest characters ever written. He was born a Saxon and rightfully the Lord of Bebbanburg, a county in Northumbria, a part of Saxon England. That birthright was stolen from him by his treacherous uncle earlier in the series. Uhtred longs to regain his birthright but, being a man of his word, he continues to fight for Alfred, and continually waits for his opportunity to return to Bebbanburg and avenge the loss of his birthright. This book, unlike 'Lords of the North', book 3 in the series, returns to the gory battle and grisly action of the first 2 installments ('The Last Kingdom' & 'The Pale Horseman'). 'Lords of the North' was as excellent as the other books in this series, but it lacked the battles and the carnage of the first 2 books and this latest installment 'Lords' was still an excellent book and I recommend that each be read to truly appreciate and understand Uhtred's story. Thankfully, the end of this book is not the end of Uhtred's tale. Cornwell has promised more works about the displaced warrior. With all hope, I can only wait for the Saxon Chronicles to grow to a library the size of which Cornwell has grown his 'Sharpe' series. A continued focus on this man and his adventures in establishing England for Alfred is deserving of at least a large fraction of the number of books produced on Sharpe. If fate is inexorable, I hope aga

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2008

    Great

    This book is very good and it is a great addition to the series, read it!

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2012

    Luvit

    Love the books. Somebody make a series of movies, HBO forget Spartagus, go with Uhtred. He is loyal to the king, though sometimes reluctantly, and a dispossed son of a Lord, trying tirelessly to regain his birthright. He's a warrior, a leader, treats his woman with respect and is a hulk to boot.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2008

    good stuff

    I have to say that I felt that this book was a good read and a good addition to Uhtred's story. However, I feel that out of the four books it was my least favorite. I feel that Mr Cornwell spent a lot more time in descriptions and politics as opposed to story , action, and character development. I still cannot wait for the 5th book to be written and absolutely love this series.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    A good, fast read.

    Cornwell has a knack for weaving historical fact and fictional characters. 'Sword Song' is an interesting study of life and wars in the late first millinium.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    LOTS OF ACTION! Makes this one a hard book to put down.

    The dispossessed son of Northumbrian Lord Uhtred, once again finds himself back in the hands of King Alfred. This is the period where the Vikings started kidnapping for ransom. The King Alfred's daughter Athelfaed (sp?) is kidnapped all due thanks to her abusive husband Athelred who, through this marriage becomes a nobleman. Uhtred is, once again sent out on a battle mission, this time to rescue Alfred's daughter. The story, especially at the end, takes the reader through lots of twists and turns that will keep your nose in this book until your finished with it. THIS SERIES IS A MUST READ!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 27, 2010

    The Enjoyable Saxon Tales series continue

    Sword Song is Book Four of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series. The book continues the adventures of Uhtred, the Saxon boy captured and raised by Danes. Uhtred is now a "middle-aged" man in his 30s, still trying to carve a niche for himself in 900s England. The book and the series excellently weave fiction and fact to make for a compelling and thrilling tale, Cornwell's signature style. Cornwell does an excellent job of describing daily life of the time without being bogged down in minutiae. The series continues to keep its steam up, with several more books apparently in the offing. The history is interesting, and part of the story, without becoming the story. I enjoy Cornwell's style and look forward to more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Read

    Lord Uhtred's saga continues in this, book #4 of the 5-book series. Sword Song loses none of the punch and excitement of the first three books in this series and leaves you wanting more. Fortunately, #5 is out "The Burning Land" and I have started it. I know that once finished, I will be wanting more books in this series. If you like historical fiction, you will love this series.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 22, 2010

    Historical and Enjoyable

    This story provides some interesting historical insights into early english history. It is an enjoyable book as well as a quick read, quite suitable for airline travel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 2, 2009

    great insight and storyline

    Bernard Cornwell does a great job of providing exelent insight about and age virtualy unknown to readers espechaly of the american variety. he also does an exelent job of creating a storyline that is based off of history but is not a dusty old textbook or documentery that no one would read. instead Bernard Cornwell takes the time to brush up on his history enough to be able to make a fun and intresting storyline with a historical base. He does a great job of develping the character Uhtred, origanily called osbert, over the span of the entire series uhtred undergoes changes as well as challanges as he grows out of his childhood years and becomes a warrior. Uhtred faces many challanges, in this book espechaly in choosing between the Danes, who raised him, and the Saxons, who are his own peaple. Uhtred must choose many times between his adopted brother, ragnar the younger, and his king, King Alfred the great, then just called king Alfred. over the course of the series we see Uhtred wrestling with the idea of taking back his land from his uncle who usserped it from him, and in this book we finnaly see a bit of that plan come together. altogether this book is an exelent read and i would recomend it to anyone with an intred in the more midevil warfare.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 11, 2009

    Amazing Insight into a Little Known Age

    Aside from academics, I suspect there are few of us who know what life was like in the 9th Century. Corwnwell has done a great job of opening up this world to us. If nothing else, I came away with a deeper understanding and appreciation for life in England at a much earlier time. People were both more civilized than I thought, and even more uncivil than I expected. This lens of history also made me appreciate much more the world we live in today.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Sword Song

    Formulaic- If you like Cornwell's style this is enjoyable but he sticks to his formula and it does seem to get old after a couple books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2009

    Not as good as I hoped.

    I had enjoyed Bernard Cornwell's previous novels in the Saxon series but Sword Song proved to be a let down. The plot was just to predictable for me. After the first few chapters, I knew where the book was going. I loved the Lords of the North, but Sword Song couldn't keep me entertained for long. Bernard Cornwell is a great author, but this wasn't one of better works.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Another rousing tale!

    Cornwell can tell an exciting tale. This, the fourth of the Saxon Tales, does not disappoint. Like the previous three, Sword Song is a fast paced historical adventure featuring the pagan warrior Uhtred in service to the Christian King Alfred. The battle scenes are numerous, bloody and well written. Cornwell weaves several main conflicts together to provide a realistic view of an early developing England.

    An intriguing struggle continues with Alfred converting his kingdom to Chrisitanity. The change is not easy, nor is it uniform. Uhtred stubbornly holds out against the new religion and develops a clear disdain for most priests, in particular their treatment of women. While it does become a bit repetitive, Cornwell shows Uhtred's tight hold on paganism with his constant touching of his hammer amulet and adherence to Valhalla and the need to die with a weapon in hand. Uhtred becomes reminiscent of the Anglo Saxon Beowulf with his steadfast acceptance of fate and the human inability to change it.

    The reader can nearly feel the growth of England in this novel. The struggle to unite (conquer) the smaller kingdoms and place all of them under the rule of a single king makes for a fascinating read. The entire series does an excellent job in capturing the feel and the struggles of England's first true king.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Action-packed!

    Sword Song continues the epic saga of Uhtred, the Saxon with the heart of a Viking. Now twenty-eight, Uhtred is still energetically running opposing warriors through with his sword and lopping off various body parts as the occasion demands. In ninth-century Britain, the Vikings and the Saxons still struggle for supremacy, so there is plenty of opportunity for mayhem. Uhtred dislikes both Christianity and its accompanying priests, yet must continue to honor his oath to serve the pious King Alfred and rid the country of the Norsemen. Never one to balk at risky undertakings, Uhtred keeps the action heart-stopping, with battle scenes and skirmishes vividly described in gory detail.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 5, 2014

    Not as good as the previous entries in the series

    But still a good read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2013

    Politics and battle. More politics and battle.

    These are the things of Uhtred's life and story. The battles are starting to run together for me since they mak up at least 50% of the book. I will read on after a break. Becoming a labor of love and pursuit of history.

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  • Posted July 13, 2013

    This has been a good series so far. Completely entertaining.

    This has been a good series so far. Completely entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2013

    Sup

    Sup

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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