Series: The Warrior Chronicles,
Published by Harper Collins on January 17th 2012
Genres: War & Military, Historical, Fiction, Action & Adventure
Reading Challenges: 2015 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, 2015 TBR Pile Reading Challenge
Buy on: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks
The latest chapter in the epic saga of the making of England, magnificently brought to life by "the reigning king of historical fiction" (USA Today), Bernard Cornwell.As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his lifelong goal of a unified England in peril, his kingdom on the brink of chaos. Though his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne—as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Torn between his vows to Alfred and the desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands in the north, Uhtred, Saxon-born and Viking-raised, remains the king's warrior but has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Now he must make a momentous decision that will forever transform his life and the course of history: to take up arms—and Alfred's mantle—or lay down his sword and let his liege's dream of a unified kingdom die along with him.
“Every day is ordinary, until it isn’t.”
― Bernard Cornwell, Death of Kings
Like the other battle heavy books, Death of Kings doesn’t move the story forward that much. Alfred dies, Edward takes the throne, and enemies attack. That’s basically it, but the battle scenes are so spectacular that it’s like watching an episode of Game of Thrones. However, despite the minimal forward movement, readers get treated to lots of exposition and character development that will hopefully set up the seventh book, and propel the story forward as we near the conclusion. This will be important since there’s like a 10-year time jump in the next novel.
Do I Recommend?
Can’t you tell? Of course, I do! The rich imagery the battle scenes create, the engaging relationships among the characters, and the political intrigue alone makes Death of Kings a worthwhile read. Even though the story probably only took place over the course of a year, or two, readers learn more about the political landscape of what we know call England, and how it came to be. Since the story was mainly a few big battles, and not much happened in the greater landscape of Uhtred reclaiming his birthright, or settling old scores against Haesten and Aethelred, I give Death of Kings 4 out of 5 stars.