Cover Image: Sword of Kings

Sword of Kings

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I haven't read any of the previous books but was able to pick up what was going on in this one.

Enjoyable and a new author for me
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I’ve been an admirer of Bernard Cornwells work since the first of his Sharpe books. His work is always so well researched, descriptive and characters with depth. This one is no exception. Not having read the previous 11 in this series, it still works as a stand alone novel, atmospheric and fast paced. Not being used to the language and names, I found myself getting the names confused at times, but by the end I had them sorted out in my head. A really good read
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Another exciting episode in Uhtred's Saga. Amazing how Bernard Cornwell keeps the standard up. Can't wait for the next one in the series.
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Bernard Cornwell does it again with another enjoyable Uhtred of Bebbanburg tale - the twelfth in the series.

It has it all you'd expect from a Cornwell novel - historical background and atmosphere - you can almost smell the streets of London!). Tight plotting and intrigue between rivals, along with descriptive battle scenes and a little romance.

These 'The Last Kingdom' books are as good as, if not better than in places, Cornwell's classic Sharpe novels.
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The first book in this series, "the last kingdom", is the book that got me hooked on historical fiction back when I was still a child. Since then I have followed this series eagerly awaiting Uhtred's next adventure. I read mainly historical fiction, ranging from ancient Egypt, hittites, Rome, byzantium, the crusades, templars, and medieval mainly, but the Vikings and Anglo saxons is where my love first developed.
This story was brilliantly written, by a very talented author. The story was gripping enough that I couldn't put it down, every page was enthralling. I'm not going to put any spoilers for anyone wanting to read, but if you enjoy a good book, and historical fiction, then this is for you. Although I would suggest you read the earlier books first just so you can get all the lead characters whole story's then, but there is enough description of the characters so you could read it as a stand alone, but you will enjoy it way more with all the back story. I would also recommend bernard cornwells other books too, they make really good reading. 
The only bad point I will make is I have to wait another year until the next book (grumpy sigh). 
All joking aside, another brilliant book by one of the leading historical fiction authors, well done Bernard!
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Another wonderful read from Bernard Cornwell. I have never actually read a Bernard Cornwell book that i have not enjoyed immensely. His storytelling ability is outstanding - the narrative moves at a steady pace, neither filled with extraneous padding and unnecessary asides or galloping too fast to a foregone conclusion.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg must be one of Cornwell's best characters, too. Proud, fierce and very much stuck in his ways, he is also generous, kind, loyal and brave to the bone. Just what we need in our heroes!
It's a bit of a worry that Uhtred is aging, to be honest - how much longer can our Saxon hero with Viking beliefs carry on righting wrongs, sticking to his oaths and generally being the better man? Please tell me there's more, Mr Cornwell!
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Another excellent episode in the medieval Uhtred series,once again racing to rescue the throne against dastardly usurpers. Full of graphic violence this tale never fails to deliver thrills and spills as one would expect from this master of the genre. Pure enjoyment!
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I have said a few times that I am a big Bernard Cornwell fan. I have been reading his books since I was 14 and the Sharpe series was the inspiration for my dissertation at university. He is the most thoughtful author out there; he publishes a book every year in October, just in time for my birthday (for which the hubby and I are equally grateful!). This year was no exception.

This is the 12th outing for Uhtred of Bebbanburgh and Bernard Cornwell has done it again! Sword of Kings is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure set in 10th century England. Full of action, intrigue, friendship and a little bit of love, the master storyteller has given us yet another book that is impossible to put down.

Uhtred’s penchant for swearing oaths, and for standing by his oaths, once again gets him into trouble. This time he has sworn to help put Athelstan on the throne; the grandson of King Alfred and nephew of Uhtred’s former love, Æthelflaed, he is the eldest son of King Edward the Elder. But there is a question over his legitimacy and other, powerful nobles would see Athelstan’s half-brother, Ælfweard. Luckily for Athelstan, Uhtred has also sworn to kill Ælfweard and his uncle, Æthelhelm. However, fulfilling an oath is not as easy as making it!

As we have come to expect from Bernard Cornwell, the action is non-stop. the writing is up to his usual high standard, keeping the reader enthralled from the first page to the last. Uhtred gets himself into some of the worst scrapes yet, leaving the reader petrified that his luck will finally run out…

Uhtred has always been a sympathetic character to me, ruthless in battle but with a softer side for his lovers and (most of) his children. What shines through in this book, probably more so than in the rest of the series, is his friendship with Finan. These two men have been through Hell together – slavery and countless battles – and their relationship has always remained strong. In Sword of Kings it is this friendship that drives the book; their mutual trust and reliance on each other, in battle and out, is what makes this book so engaging.

Bernard Cornwell is a natural storyteller, one of the best at the craft. Sword of Kings is yet more testament to that fact. You never quite know how it is going to work out for Uhtred – he is not immune to loss and suffering – which is what always makes these books so gripping – you know he is not going to come out of his adventures totally unscathed. The suspense, the drama, the intrigue and action all come together to make yet another perfect chapter in Uhtred’s story.
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Quite relentless. Having followed from the very beginning we now see an older, more weary Uhtred, bound by an Oath that draws him deeper into a war between two Kings. From skirmishes to battles you can virtually smell it culminates in an Oath being kept, one King to unify Wessex and Mercia and another step towards Uhtred’s bigger fear, a unified England. 
My thanks to Harper Collins and Net Galley for the chance to read and review.
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My thanks to the Author publishers and NetGalley for providing a Kindle version of this book for me to read and honestly review.
This is the twelfth book in the epic 'Uhtred' series and the quality continues to thrill this reader. Well written and researched, gripping from first to last page authentic atmospheric compelling with a real feel and sense of time and place. The characters are brought to life and the action scenes descriptive and graphic. Uhtred is an ancient for these times but still the smartest pagan in town brave clever crazy and fearless, and from the Author's notes at the end of this book Uhtred Serpent-breath and Wasp-sting will be back for more.
Completely and utterly recommended.
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This is the 12th in the series. Admittedly I haven't read the previous books but having watched The Last Kingdom I was drawn to this book and was definitely not disappointed.

For those unaware the series tells the story of times of Alfred the Great and the Viking raids across England or it's four kingdoms as it had at that time.

Uhtred is settled in Nortumbria until he is asked to help a queen, making him leave the safety of Bebbanburg. As one King Edward dies his two heirs emerge ready to fight for their thrones. Uhtred attempts to keep his oath to Athelstan, now King Athelstan of Mercia. 

Uhtreds oath urges him to join the fight to determine which king will rule. 

This was fantastic! I couldn't put it down I just wanted to know what was going to happen.  The battle scenes are fantastic I could feel my heart racing during the last battle. 

Fantastic writing by Cornwell and I will happily admit that watching the TV series meant these characters appeared in my mind as they looked in the series. 

I've added the rest of the series to my TBR now as I loved this book. 

Have posted to Amazon
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Sword of Kings is Uhtred's 12th outing, and its a case of much of the same from Bernard Cornwell. Now, this is both a criticism and praise. 

Firstly, the good: I really do get such enjoyment from these books. The action is second to none, the story races along at a breakneck pace that doesn't let up. I love the wit and humour we get from Uhtred and Finan, their friendship and comradeship is a joy. And i dont think ill ever be able to get enough of Uhtred's priest bashing. It does make me laugh.

And now the bad: The book itself just comes across as rather pointless. Uhtred had always set out to recliam Bebbenberg, which he managed a few books ago. It now seems as if Cornwell is carrying the series on for the sake of it. I really wish he'd put Uhtred to bed now, and try his hand at something different again. I loved Fools & Mortals last year as it felt so fresh.

Even so, ill still pick up book 13 as and when its released!
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I have read all the books in the Last Kingdom series and was excited to be given the opportunity to read the latest one. It is like meeting an old friend when I start the first page. Bernard Cornwell brings the period to life and describes the wild and beautiful Northumbrian coast accurately.  Uhtred although older is still impetuous and driven by suspicion and sworn oaths. The story is given a human touch by the introduction of the children and Benedetta. As usual the battle scenes are vivid , bloody and exciting. Thanks to Netgalley for the opportunity to read for an honest review.
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I sometimes feel that this series of books has long since run its course, but Sword of Kings, Book 12, had me intrigued just from reading the blurb.
Lord Uhtred has firmly moved into a time period I know, study and write about, and while sometimes it's hard to read the way another person treats 'your' characters, I thoroughly enjoyed the starkly different interpretation of events surrounding King Edward's death, because, quite simply, there is no 'right or wrong' when writing about this period. It's a very much anything goes scenario, and into this, Lord Uhtred, bored and old, having finally captured Bebbanburg, is allowed to take centre stage.
Uhtred is older, but not wiser, and once more, if it wasn't for the intervention of others, he would certainly not make it to the end of Book 12, hale and hearty. 
Uhtred has as many enemies as normal, and his loyalties are split, but the will is strong to enact some revenge when he realises his ships are being attacked by an old enemy he 's made an oath to kill. Heading South, with the news that King Edward is either dying or dead, while plague pushes its way ever northwards, there's a great deal of time spent on board ship. There's a battle on a ship, and then another battle, and then there's tides, rivers, currents, different boats, oars, sails and many other ship related activities. (It does get a little repetitive). There's the Farne Islands, Kentish coasts, London, rivers in Mercia, London once more and then a bridge as well as a wall.
The action is pretty full-on but somewhat repetitive. Uhtred makes any number of bad decisions, and then the quest for revenge drives him on, even though it probably shouldn't.
In effect, Uhtred turns the tide of 'history' once more, and not necessarily to his favour.
The old rivalries between paganism and Christianity continue, as does Uhtred's unease with the plans the new king has for Northumbria, and for him. It's these scenes that I find most tedious. I would like a little more nuance to Uhtred, but it seems his character will never develop more than it has. BC tries to make Uhtred appear as more than just a thug by adding a few women to the cast, as well as a host of orphans, and having his relationships with them testify that he isn't 'a 'bad man' just a righteous one who must abide by his oaths.' Essentially, if Uhtred likes you, then that's good, but if not, then you're in trouble. 
There are many elements to the story that I would change - the insistence on Anglo-Saxon place names being one of them, the ship 'lingo' another one - but hey, it's Uhtred. You know what you're getting from the start, and you won't be disappointed, although you might feel a bit seasick!
Here's to the next book.
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I have a little confession to make.  Even though I have got several of Bernard’s books on my ‘to be read’ mountain, I haven’t actually read one yet………….until now that is.  This Ginger Book Geek is a bit of a history nerd but admittedly I usually read historical fiction that is a bit more modern and recent than that featured in Bernard’s books.  That said my late father was a huge fan of Bernard’s work and we had a similar taste in books so I had an inkling that I would enjoy reading ‘Sword Of Kings’, which is actually the 12th book in ‘The Last Kingdom Series’.  Oh my, I wasn’t to be disappointed either because I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘Sword Of Kings’ but more about that in a bit.
I have to be honest and say that it took me a little while to get into this story.  I don’t mean that in a negative way.  It has more to do with the fact that I needed to get used to a different sort of story, a different style of writing and I had to get to know a whole different set of characters.  A kind of settling in period if you like.  Once I got into the story then that was it, I was away and I couldn’t put the book down.  It was as if the book had developed a hold over me and it was a hold that I didn’t want to break.  If I had to put the book to one side for any reason in particular then I would immediately look forward to being able to pick it up again.  I seemed to race through the story because I was enjoying it so much and then all of a sudden I reached the end of the book which I was disappointed about.  I wasn’t disappointed with how the story ended but I was enjoying the author’s writing style, the characters, the storylines and the time in which the book was set so much that I just didn’t want the story to end.  I soon cheered up when I realised I had the first eleven books in the series to catch up on.
‘Sword Of Kings’ is really well written.  Bernard has a writing style that is easy to get used to and easy to get along with.  He draws you into the story from the beginning and once he has your attention, he refuses to let it go until the end of the book.  He keeps the characters interesting, the storylines thrilling and he leaves each chapter on a bit of a cliff hanger which compels you (in the nicest possible way) to read on.  I initially picked up the book intending to read a chapter or two but I ended up reading far more than any two chapters.  Bernard writes so realistically and dramatically that I really did feel as though I had borrowed the Tardis from Dr. Who and I had travelled back in time.  I also felt as though I had become a character in the story and I was ‘living’ the story as if it were real.
In short Bernard has written one heck of a book that is sure to appeal to those who like historical fiction and those readers who like to read something different.  I can honestly say that my late father would have loved this book just as much as I did.  I can’t wait to read more of Bernard’s work in the future.  I fully intend to catch up on the first eleven books in ‘The Last Kingdom’ series.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 4* out of 5*.
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Volume 12 in Cornwell's long-running The Last Kingdom series and with Uhtred now older, though still a respected leader and warrior, we seem to be looking towards an end. A struggle for the throne of Wessex is rumbling ominously plus Uhtred has his own enemies, and a long-standing oath to fulfill...

Cornwell has done a tremendous job in bringing the so-called 'dark ages' to life in this series, and combines personal human interest with sweeping politics and gutsy battle scenes that carry the reader along effortlessly. 

The only thing I'd say is that this far into a long series, some of the initial momentum and excitement has dissipated, and there's the slightest feeling that things are being slightly drawn out beyond their natural life. The tightness of Cornwell's earlier Arthur trilogy is missing, for example. 

Still, that's just a slight misgiving - this is gripping reading, and no-one writes battle scenes like Cornwell.
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