On a recent visit to hospital I was advised that as well as having cancer I have a heart condition, such is life, and then I settle down to read the latest Bernard Cornwell offering, 'The Pagan Lord' featuring Uhtred of Babbenburg and Cornwell nearly kills me off along with the hundreds of Danish horde that his creation Uhtred dispatches throughout this latest in 'The WARRIOR Chronicles' as my heart is pounding almost from the opening paragraph to the very end. Dear Lord Sir, but you can write!
Uhtred is in trouble from the beginning, again when he sets of with son number two and a small band of warriors to retrieve son number one who has become mixed up with the Christians, them Christians will be the death of poor Uhtred one of these days.... Only to find that son Uhtred has converted to the faith and has become a priest.
In trying to retrieve his son from this folly Uhtred inadvertantly, for a change, kills of a Bishop and disowns his son renaming him Judas and promoting son No 2 up the ranks to be henceforth called Uhtred........
On returning to his hall he finds it burning and Sigunn his woman gone. Cnut Ranulfson has visited to exact his revenge, and while he and Uhtred are sworn enemies, on this occasion Uhtred has no idea what he has done, this time.....
Cornwell goes on to describe Uhtred's criss crossing the country and the seas to Frisia. It starts off on horseback crossing these green, pleasant and wonderful lands, at a trot and then into a full canter before galloping across blood filled fields and streams and rivers with Uhtred and his small force of loyal men attempting to reclaim his home of Babbenburg.
Once again and to save the Christians he so loathes but time and again saves from destruction giving them England from the massed armies that Cnut Ranulfson has been building, to finally take over Wessex and Mercia to once and for all create a Daneland and to consign the English to what they deserve, Slavery and Death.
No spoilers from me here suffice to say that Cornwell really is a master story teller spanning the 20th and 21st Centuries and his characters and stories pull you in from page one and get you turning page after page into the wee small hours gasping for air as another wave pounds over the longship as she fights the storms or gasping for breath through the blood and snot and sweat as you take up position in a shield wall with the blood lust screaming from every pore as you wait to kill or be killed .... you become part of the story, you are involved and you have a vested interest in it's eventual outcome. Cornwell has clearly mastered the art of making the reader feel all these things, making you cry out in despair when you get to the end and find that there is still more to come and you are left hungry waiting in anticipation for the next stanza in this epic tale of the birth of England and it's rescue from the Danish hordes.
Editing for Kindle: 5 out of 5
Reading Enjoyment: 5 out of 5
Plot: 5 out of 5
Overall Rating: 5 out of 5
Chapters: 13 (in 4 parts)
Page length: 321 but again not evident on Ipad or Kindle devices, sort it out folks for goodness sake