If you don't like history but like Vikings, you'll still enjoy this book series. It does a great job of getting the reader in the mindset of what the Dane's were like and what they wanted from their raids. It also helps explain why Uthred would still like those guys after they killed his family and took him away from his precious home, making it so he would have to fight to reclaim a home that was rightfully his to begin with.
History aside, that sounds compelling right? Because it is. But if you do like history, this series is a lot of fun if you know your stuff. Several times I got excited when a character or place or battle I recognized would show up and Cornwell does each justice. In this book, the victories of the first book are almost completely undone when the Dane's capture 3 of England's 4 kingdoms, leaving Uthred to save a king he doesn't believe in once again. If Uthred didn't need Alfred to get his home back and not just be a puppet of the Dane's you can bet he would have left the Christians behind and been a happy pagan for the rest of his days. The fact that Cornwell tells Uthred's story from the first person past perspective makes it extremely juicy as he introduces characters you know will be significant later but not when or why. It tells me that even though Uhtred is a pagan now, he doesn't stay that way but does not tell me what ultimately succeeds in converting him when years of living with Christian's hasn't been able to do that It does a great job of making me want to speed through the book to find where these characters pop up again and in what context.
It's this perspective that has me read these books rather than watch them, which you can do but I haven't done. The writing style does take a little getting used to though, which is why I rated this book higher than the first in the series (4 out of 5 stars). That and as more pieces fall expertly into place on why a reluctant Uthred stays by King Alfred's side it becomes more and more irresistible! it'll be interesting to see what happens next now that Alfred has reclaimed his kingdom's but has no unified England yet to propel the next attack from the Dane's, as there are always more attacks by the Vikings, I mean Danish.
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