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Carpe Librum

Reviews and bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.

If I am lost, you will find me in medieval England.

You can also find me - and my books - on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

Currently reading

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Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell

Lords of the North - Bernard Cornwell

Bernard Cornwell writes historical fiction at its best. You won't find any headless women on the cover wearing anachronistic dresses, only stinking lusty men who want nothing more than to die with a sword in their hand. Lords of the North is gritty, gory, and realistic without a romantic word uttered.

Our somehow lovable Uhtred is back with a twisting and turning adventure that one is only certain of his survival through because he narrates it as he is old enough to be embarrassed by his age. Uhtred and the reader are taken back to Northumbria where Uhtred is still considered by some to be Lord of Bebbanburg, though his uncle has usurped his position for a decade. Uhtred finds many enemies await him in the north, but it is a friend who causes his greatest downfall.

There is no shortage of battle, blood, and brutality in this novel, but it does not come across as superfluous. This is simply the way life was lived in the ninth century, especially for men like Uhtred who probably couldn't settle down on a comfortable estate if he were ordered to.

Despite the rough and tumble plot, character development is not ignored. Throughout his adventures, Uhtred discovers that most people are more than they appear to be and that he can deeply respect someone that he doesn't necessarily like.

I look forward to more tales of our favorite irreverent Saxon as I continue Cornwell's Saxon Stories.