Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.
You can also find me on my blog.
In this fourth installment in the Saxon Warriors series, we find Uhtred continuing to struggle with his loyalties, faith, and destiny. While he feels more of a connection to the Norsemen, he remains paired with Alfred for inexplicable reasons. Uhtred is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and he is a cruel one. Or, as my husband's short review summed up once I convinced him to read the first few books in the series, "Uhtred is kind of a jerk."
I still found myself amused by Uhtred's witty irreverence, and battle scenes were as vivid and gory as ever. However, I found the ongoing fighting seemed pointless and knocks on Christians wore a little on my nerves. I also didn't need to be reminded every time his name was mentioned that Guthred's Christian name was King Aethelstan. I blame David Pilling's Uhtred Shmutred post for taking some of the fun out of Uhtred's alpha male style.
Uhtred's adventures were certainly still enjoyable and fast paced, but I found that I began looking for him to form more of an objective than dying with a sword in his hand. Uhtred fights alongside the loyal Finan, who shared Uhtred's time in slavery. They fight anyone Alfred tells them to and a few that he doesn't. Not every battle is met with complete success, so there is still some suspense, and the plot is left ripe for the next episode.