The Pale Horseman is the compelling sequel to the best-selling The Last Kingdom. Uhtred, Northumbrian born, raised a Viking and now married to a Saxon, is already a formidable figure and warrior. But at 20 he is still arrogant, pagan, and headstrong, so not a comfortable ally for the thoughtful, pious Alfred. But these two, with Alfred's family and a few of Uhtred's companions, are apparently all that remains of the Wessex leadership after a disastrous truce.
It is the lowest time for the Saxons. Defeated comprehensively by the Vikings who now occupy most of England, Alfred and his surviving followers retreat to the trackless marshlands of Somerset. There, forced to move restlessly to escape betrayal or detection, using the marsh mists for cover, they travel by small boats from one island to another, hoping that they can regroup and find some more strength and support. They seek refuge in Athelney, a tidal swamp to which Alfred's kingdom has shrunk. Uhtred finds himself torn between his Danish foster brother and the winning Vikings, and his growing respect for the stubborn leadership of Alfred. He must decide whether to rebuild the Saxons' strength from his watery base and help them to take on the Vikings once more.
The Pale Horseman is a splendid story of divided loyalties and desperate heroism, with a wonderful range of characters from Vikings to British kings in their Cornish fortresses, from political but passionate priests to enduring fishermen and farmers desperately striving to survive as the battle sweeps over them. Uhtred and Alfred, Vikings and Saxons, are a winning combination for Bernard Cornwell.
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©2005 Bernard Cornwell (P)2005 HarperCollins Publishers
Retired Probation Officer filling my time with gardening and listening to books in-between metal detecting looking for links to our history!
My only regret is not getting the unabridged edition. This is another great book from a wonderful author. looking forward to the next one!!
This book took me back in time as this is my type of subject. I couldnt put it down so to speak. The fact that the narrator sounded like Sean Bean was even better for me, I will be getting the rest of the books in this range even though this one was not the first in the series, I think that i could carry on with the story even if the order is not correct. As this is the first of this series that I have read i call these books historical fantasy - some fact some fiction. A great read.
Great story line and sequel to the Last Kingdom. For me it was well read, however a little to short in the unabridged version and misses out a lot of the 'flavour' and 'atmosphere' of The Last Kingdom.
If you like the shorter book and enjoyed 'The Last Kingdom' (abridged)you will not be disappointed with this selection.
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