Lords of the North

by Bernard Cornwell


Reviewed by Coral

Now that he has helped Alfred keep his kingdom, Uhtred is very happy to leave Wessex and Alfred behind. The only part he hates is that he must leave behind his foster brother Ragnar, who is still kept hostage to King Guthrum's good behaviour.

So Uhtred heads north, where he has unfinished business with Kjartan the Cruel - the man who killed his foster father - and with his uncle, who stole his lands from him.

Along the way he rescues a slave, Guthred, who claims to be king of Northumbria. He is a Dane who has Christian priests backing him. If Guthred can be made king, then Uhtred will have won an ally in his war against his enemies in the North, so he sets about helping Guthred get and keep his throne, against some of the most powerful Danish armies in all of Britain.

This story was enjoyable, but not as good as some of the author's other books.

I felt like there was no drive to the story. Uhtred has a bunch of enemies that he wants to go after and wrongs of the past to avenge, but it doesn't seem to be his main goal. Most of the novel just seems to happen while he keeps his goals in the background to move him forward when he is at his lowest.

There was also too much of the omniscent narrator voice in this story. Okay, so the narrator is Uhtred in the future, which removes some of the tension from the story right there, because you know he won't die - well that and the fact that there two more books in the series. But he hints at things all the time, "I should have known", "this is when I reliazed", "that's what he wanted me to think at the time." It gets a little annoying.

I am grading it a B, because I did enjoy it. But it's a very low B.

Grade: B