The Burning Land (Saxon Tales #5)

( 168 )

Overview

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 ...

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Margaret Flanagan
“Cornwell, a master of martial fiction, makes history come alive with his rousing battlefield scenes.”
Robert Conroy
“Cornwell (Agincourt) has been described as a master of historical fiction, but that may be an understatement. Cornwell makes his subject material come alive. Better, his major protagonist is totally believable and human.”
Publishers Weekly
Slathered in blood and gore, Saxon warlord Uhtred of Bebbanburg hacks his way through the ninth century in the exciting fifth installment to bestseller Cornwell's Saxon Tales series (following Sword Song). This action-packed novel continues the saga of warfare for supremacy in Britain, a brutal period when Saxon and Danish swords, battleaxes, and treachery ruled the day. By now, Alfred the Great is old and feeble, unwilling and unable to repel the Danish invaders. He relies on trusty pagan warlord Uhtred, but Uhtred's temper and an unexpected violent act force Uhtred to break his oath of loyalty to Alfred and flee north with his men, intending to reclaim his ancestral home. En route, they face marauding Danish armies, betrayal, battles for a pirate treasure, and the curse of a vicious Danish witch, only to eventually be manipulated back into fighting for Alfred. Vivid descriptions of merciless battlefield slaughter, rape, and destruction are artfully related by a masterful storyteller. Uhtred is victorious in some battles, but the outcome of others will have to wait for the sequel. (Jan.)
Library Journal
Uhtred the Warlord is the irreverent and conflicted hero of Cornwell's Saxon Tales saga about Alfred the Great. In the fifth volume (after Sword Song), both he and England are in peril. The Saxons and the Danes are at war, and this puts Uhtred in a precarious position. Worse, he is an unrepentant pagan in a world that is becoming aggressively Christian. After tragedy strikes, he is exiled and determines once again to become a Viking, retrieve the mighty fortress that is his heritage, and get away from not-so-merry England. However, fate pulls him back to help protect the kingdom of Mercia from the Danes. Almost unwillingly, Uhtred becomes a major player in an extremely violent and exciting period of English history. VERDICT The prolific Cornwell (Agincourt) has been described as a master of historical fiction, but that may be an understatement. Cornwell makes his subject material come alive. Better, his major protagonist is totally believable and human, if incredibly violent. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/09.]—Robert Conroy, Warren, MI
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060888763
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 9/14/2010
  • Series: Saxon Tales Series , #5
  • Edition description: Reissue
  • Pages: 345
  • Sales rank: 69,788
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers 1356 and Agincourt; the bestselling Saxon Tales, which include The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, and most recently Death of Kings; and the Richard Sharpe novels, among many others. He lives with his wife on Cape Cod and in Charleston, South Carolina.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 168 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(81)

4 Star

(54)

3 Star

(18)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    The fifth Saxon saga affirms once again that Bernard Cornwell is one of the best writers of historical fiction

    As the ninth century begins to wind down, King Alfred of Wessex is old and dying. The Danes feel the opportunity to conquer Wessex whose great leader has foiled them before is now. Warlord Harald Bloodhair leads the Viking horde invasion by sea and land Mercia and Wessex.

    Alfred turns to his oath-bound loyal Saxon pagan warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg; the warlord defeats Harald, but also breaks his pledge of fealty. Deciding enough of England and its treachery, the warlord and his warriors head home to reclaim his family land. They confront other war parties and a witch's curse only to take another spin back in the world of Alfred and his increasingly Christian nation as the he Danes from East Anglia and the Vikings from Northumbria head once again towards Mercia and Wessex.

    The fifth Saxon saga (see Sword Song).affirms once again that Bernard Cornwell is one of the best, if not the top writer, of pre William the Conqueror Dark Ages historical fiction. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of bloody action. However, it is an ailing dying Alfred nearing the end of his "Great" reign and the Saxon pagan warlord Uhtred who bring the period alive as the barbarians are at the gate, but it takes a barbarian to prevent them from entering. Fans will relish this deep tale as The Burning Land is increasingly Mercia and Wessex as Alfred no longer can defend them.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    SAXON VERSUS DANE CONINTUES

    The convention continues of a story told by Uhtred, a surly, ancient pagan warrior who was ignored in the official written depictions of history because he had been an embarrassment. However, his reputation as a cunning, ruthless, and terrifying warrior and his proven success makes him an indispensable embarrassment to King Alfred of Wessex and the Saxon English as they seek to retain and regain England. Uhtred's aversion to his overly pious and stingy liege only increases after Alfred declares him an outlaw for killing a priest that slandered his dead wife. Uhtred would rather fight with his Danish friend than for Alfred. However, there are three overpowering motivations in Uhtred's life - his reputation, his love of King Alfred's daughter, Aethelflaed, and his desire to reclaim his ancestral Northumbrian birthright stolen by his uncle. King Alfred manipulates Uhtred through the latter's love of and pledge to his daughter to thwart Danish attempts to add Mercia and Wessex to their Northumbrian and East Anglia domain by defeating them in the battles of Fearnhamme and Benfleet. This excellent series will continue and we can expect Uhtred to continue to be a puppet to the same motivations.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2013

    Cyrus

    So it's you and Fang now?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 18, 2010

    Saga Continues

    Bernard Cornwell's Historic Fiction Series always leave a person impatiantly waiting for the next book to be published. The book finishes some plot lines from the previous books in the series and opens new plots. Though Cornwell uses the same recipe for the majority of his books, they are overwhelmingly entertaining and a refreshing change of pace from the over descriptive style that now seems to be commonplace. My Library contains the majority of Mr. Cornwell's body of work and it will continue to increase with every historic fiction novel he writes.
    Uhtred again faces his enemies across the battle line and behind. While pretty ladies have been his undoing and uprising in previous books the same happens here with his wife, a Dane, and Alfred's daughter. Meanwhile, Uhtred gets closer to his main goal of taking his home back from his Uncle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    He does it AGAIN! Well done!

    Cornwell's writing style matches that of James Michner. You read without realizing that you are reading and learning HISTORY! The fictional characters blend so well with the REAL characters that you feel they are ALL real.
    Scene setting is done with all aspects of the town, village, city made easy to visualize. Action scenes make you feel like you are experiencing it with the people involved. He makes you feel the cold or heat, smell the odors and hear the sounds.
    I have read all of his novels and it has gotten to the point that I buy his novels without regard to the title...just CORNWELL on the cover is enough to convince me to make the purchase. I have not been dissapointed yet.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    superb saxon story

    Another superb saxon story from the best historical writer in the business. It treads some new ground, but keeps up with favorite characters also. A history lover would be hard pressed to do better.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2014

    Good Reading

    A little slow at start, but a good read

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  • Posted February 1, 2014

    Excellent story, I read it in a weekend. This series is fantasti

    Excellent story, I read it in a weekend. This series is fantastic historical fiction. Filled with love, war, God, swords, blood, disembowlement, castles, kings, and lords, and more.

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

    Posted August 9, 2012

    OMG best read in a long time

    I felt like I was there read entire series twice, just couldn't get enough!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Consistently Good

    Bernard brings Uhtred back with the same gusto as before. Ther isnt aything particularly remarkable or different about this novel, but it is well written and exciting. A good fun read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

    Great series to read

    I have never hated a book .... so don't take my world for it, Read it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2012

    Worthwhile series

    Violent, fast paced and fun. Really enjoy the series.

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Great book.

    This is a wonderful read. We love all the books in this series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 3, 2012

    Read it!!

    The history is fascinating and Cornwell tells it well even though it is via a novel. England is fascinating!! This whole series on the kings of England has been an engrossing read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Can't wait for the next one in the series!

    Just finished this one a couple of minutes ago. It took me a longer time to finish this one due to circumstances unrelated to how the story was written but I'm finally glad that I'm done with it. That was a very triumphant ending (so far) and I can't wait till the new one comes out in this series.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 22, 2011

    Good Read but very formula

    I thought the first book in the series was excellent. I thought it was the first Cornwell book I'd read. As it turns out I'd read Gallow's Thief years earlier, (GREAT BOOK). Anyway as the series continues books 2-5 are the same book. Pure formula.
    That said it is still a good read. I

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  • Posted May 3, 2011

    Amazing

    one of the best series ive read. I never want to put it down. i think there will be a #6 with all the loose ends there are

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  • Posted February 17, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Rousing Saxon Tale

    Uhtred is back, along with his freinemies Ragnar, Haesten, King Alfred, and others. Uhtred is a bit older now, and more cynical than ever about politics and religion. In this installment, he's once again fighting on the side of the Saxons, though at heart he's still a Viking, and continues to regret his oath of loyalty to King Alfred. He escapes north for awhile, but the wily Alfred uses his daughter as bait to lure Uhtred back to the south. The introduction of Skade, an evil lady who makes Lucrezia Borgia look like Little Mary Sunshine, adds spice and interest to the story. And of course, Uhtred's obsession with reclaiming his inheritance of the castle at Bebbanburg continues. As always, narrative-driven and highly entertaining.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The "Tales" just keep getting better.

    Cornwell is amazing. Uhtred and his wry sense of humor in the middle of gore, battle, sheild walls - the gods are capricious, you know. Uhtred, as much as he wants to be "free", just can't help himself to do the right thing. Cornwell's battle descriptions are so intense that I find myself forgetting to breathe. Please...we're all ready for Saxon Tales #6....

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  • Posted May 7, 2010

    I've just recently been introduced to Cornwell's novels and I love them. Couldn't put this one down.

    I love history but find history books mostly boring. Historical novelist like Cornwell has a way of telling me the best stories (and true story's are always the best), keeping my interest, and also teaching me something about our past I didn't know. Cornwell has really strong fictional characters and also makes the real ones come to life.

    Has some romance, but the "manly" kind. Loved "The Burning Land" and highly recommend.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 168 Customer Reviews

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