The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles by Bernard Cornwell
by Adam Smith
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles is a set of five historical novels by British author Bernard Cornwell set before and during the reign of King Alfred the Great.
The first book in the series, The Last Kingdom, begins with a raid of Danish Vikings, who capture a northern English city and slaughter most of the residents. One of the Englishmen to survive is the ten-year-old son of the local English Earl. He is captured and raised by one of the Dane leaders, and grows to love the harsh, drunken, violent ways of Danish life. Uhtred is really a remarkable character - headstrong & wilfully ignorant, he is eventually coerced into siding with the pious King Alfred, who he despises but grudgingly respects.
These books give a brutal & honest view of what ninth-century Anglo-Saxon England must have been like. The beauty of the landscape, the harsh lawlessness of the land, the pious natives and land-hungry raiders in their serpent-prowed longships.
Bernard Cornwell is one of the best historical writers around, and these are some of his very best books. How he manages to churn out such well-written and researched historical novels every nine months boggles the mind. Very few writers can capture the brutality and heart-thumping adrenaline rush of hand-to-hand battle as well as Cornwell, who is best known for his series of "Sharpe's" novels set during the Napoleonic Wars.
Check out this fantastic group of novels that comprise The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles: The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, The Empty Throne, Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer. You won't regret it.
Below, I have posted listings to the books in order on amazon UK. Bernard Cornwell's Anglo-Saxon Chronicles are also available from amazon.com, where they are called The Saxon Tales
. You can check out Bernard Cornwell's Author Page with all the book listings here.