[Review] Death of Kings by Bernard Cornwell
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Publisher: Harper Collins January 2012
Genre: Historical Fiction
Theme: As King Alfred is near death, a battle for his successor and for the safety of England and for a hope of a unified England, has begun.
Rating: 4 Stars
The 9th century is ending and King Alfred of Wessex is sick and near death. His appointed successor is his son Edward. Others are waiting to over-take the appointed successor and seize the throne, this includes a Viking. A battle hardened savvy man named Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg (the narrator) is the "king's warrior". Uhtred was born a Saxon, but raised a Dane. He understands both languages and cultures. As a "kings warrior" on oath he obeys King Alfred. Uhtred has the training and experience to command a battle. In Deaths of Kings several battles will come about as Alfred's death brings plots to undue the dream of a unified England.
I am new to this era of British History. I'd heard about Bernard Cornwell's historical fiction books and I could not wait to begin reading one. The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman,
The Lords of the North, are considered excellent reads.
The strongest reason in giving a 4 star or very good review, is the authors ability to describe what England was like in the 9th century.
1. References to Roman forts and roads and stone pilings.
2. Thick forests of England.
3. Coastline and view of sea.
4. The city of Lundene, later named London.
5. A divided nation of England: Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia.
6. Men fought for their land, title, family, country, king.
7. Women were bartered, to remain silent and obedient, pleasing.
A secondary reason. The carnage and death left by the Vikings was horrendous. I cannot imagine living in an age where I feared evil marauders taking the lives of my family and destroying all that I'd worked for. Reading about what the Vikings did gave me a perspective on how people in England felt and lived each day, under the weight and fear of the Vikings.
Deaths of Kings, is not a pretty love story. It is a realistic view of life, especially for men, in the 9th century of England.