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Summary

The fourth in the best-selling Alfred series from number-one historical novelist, Bernard Cornwell.

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and Alfred's kingdom of Wessex in the south.

But trouble stirs, a dead man has risen and new Vikings have arrived to occupy London. It is a dangerous time, and it falls to Uhtred, half Saxon, half Dane, a man feared and respected the length and breadth of Britain, to expel the Viking raiders and take control of London for Alfred.

His uncertain loyalties must now decide England's future.

A gripping tale of love, rivalry and violence, Sword Song tells the story of England's making.

©2007 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Critic reviews

Praise for The Lords of the North:

“Beautifully crafted story-telling, complete with splendid set-piece battles and relentless derring-do, so gripping that it rarely stops to catch a breath. It demonstrates once again Cornwell's enormous skill as a historical narrator. He would have graced Alfred's court entertaining the guests with his stories” (Daily Mail)
“Cornwell takes the spectres of ninth century history and puts flesh back on their bones. Here is Alfred's world restored - impeccably researched and illuminated with the colour and passion of a master storyteller” (Justin Pollard, author of Alfred the Great)

Praise for Bernard Cornwell:

“Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.” (Daily Mail)
“Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched” (Observer)

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  • Overall
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incredibly vivid

really enjoyed the enthralling brutality of the book, without the epic battle scenes of the previous books, the smaller more detailed skirmishes, where just as good.

1 person found this helpful

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Can I finish it?

At the time of writing this review, I've read up to and including book 6 in the series and am now starting to tire a little of the main character, who seems to be rinsing and repeating.

I came to the series of books from the modern TV series, which I absolutely love and, to begin with, the books really did stand up to that and I loved them too. Whilst I'd like to see the series of books through, I don't think I will because they become too samey.

If you haven't read, I do recommend at least the first 3 books, which give you a great overall impression of Uhtred and his mates and are full of well written and enjoyable scenes.

1 person found this helpful

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Another excellent story in the series

Great book, another gripping episode of the story, with the best narrator of all, in my opinion

1 person found this helpful

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The most wonderful series

I have fallen in love with this story line, often listening for 4 or 5 hours at a time. Jonathan Keeble was an inspired and perfect choice. His execution of narration has been the best part of the series for me. If I'm right in thinking the next book won't be him I'll be very very disappointed.
The story it's self was full of battles, in all of their bloody detail.
The way in which the scenery, especially the light of night and day was beautifully described.
In conclusion this is by far my favourite series of books I've ever come across.

1 person found this helpful

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oh no!

I had to end the story half an hour into it. After the previous books I was eagerly waiting for the next installment.
It is all down to the narrator who has not got the warrior's voice of Utred.
And I notice the remaining books are narrated by this person.
Please get Jonathan Keeble back to re-read these books from book 5 onwards.

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Great book

I’ve read the paper books reread on kindle and now listened to the audio books. If you want a full on action packed great storyline that never gets boring read this series

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Loved the first four books - gave book 5 back

It's very worth listening to the first four books in this series - they are truly excellent and the narration is superb. Unfortunately, I had to give book 5 back - the change of narrator did not work for me at all. That said even with knowing that (and I was not canny enough to read the review beforehand), I am still very glad that I listened to the first four. Very enjoyable.

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A story of heroes.

Excellent story and some of the finest narration. Jonathan Keeble captures the true spirit of the book with fine accents and passionate story telling.

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sword song is true

loved it, twist and turns at every step, lots of blood, and quite some tender moments.

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Can't stop

Love this series I can't stop listening. The narrator is perfect, I'm totally hooked.

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  • K. A. Wolstenholme
  • 03-04-18

Loved it!

Once more I have been transported thanks to a great writer and brilliant narrator. Sadly, I have listened to a brief snippet of the next book and find myself torn because of the change in narrator. Jonathan Keeble brings a book and its characters to life for me, I think that a new narrator will be lacking and I will not enjoy the immersion as I normally do. Whatever the reasoning I feel it is poorly done to switch narrator part way through a series.
I may continue at a later date but for now I will savour what has come before and take a break.

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  • Ross Nevette
  • 16-08-18

Best narration I’ve heard!

Jonathan Keeble’s performance was superb! His ability to create subtle differences in character with his voice is amazing. I was amazed at the difference in his voice between the older and younger Uhtred.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Allan H. Langille
  • 11-08-20

Sadly, the 4th and last JONATHAN KEEBLE narration.

The first four novels in this series were simply OUTSTANDING thanks to Jonathan Keeble's stellar NARRATION. For reasons I'll never understand, Bernard Cornwall changed narrators for the 5th novel, and in so doing terminated the remainder of a 13 episode series (for me). I gave episode 5 a listen but failed to make it though the first hour as I so missed Johnathan Keeble's gift of such extraordinary passion..... I immediately started the 3 part WARLORD CHRONICLES (same author) narrated by no other than... JOHNATHAN KEEBLE👍👍👍

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-02-17

Keeble as narrator adds so much to the story

the story was good but Jonathan Keeble as narrator was great adding so much color to the story telling. I hope he knows how appreciated his efforts are. its amazing how much a great narrator can add to a good series.

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  • Rui Ribeiro
  • 08-05-16

Breathtaking

Another great book in a great series. Gripping story, perfectly narrated. Battles described with amazing detail in a lively manner. Highly recommended.

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  • justin aquino
  • 11-06-15

Awesome Performance and Story

I love the story and how it's told. Jonathan keeble is my favorite version of this.