WAR LORD by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom Series, Book 13

From the publisher:

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

“I gulped it right down. Excellent, as always. . . . Cornwell brings battles to life like no one else.” –George R.R. Martin, Author of Game of Thrones

The final installment in Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling Saxon Tales series, chronicling the epic story of the making of England—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit Netflix series.

THE FINAL BATTLE AWAITS…

The epic conclusion to the globally bestselling historical series.

England is under attack. Chaos reigns. Northumbria, the last kingdom, is threatened by armies from all sides, by land and sea – and only one man stands in their way. Torn between loyalty and sworn oaths, the warrior king Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg faces his greatest ever battle – and prepares for his ultimate fate…

“Perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today” (Washington Post), Bernard Cornwell has dazzled and entertained readers and critics with his prolific string of page-turning bestsellers. Of all his protagonists, however, none is as beloved as Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and this thrilling historical novel continues the saga of his adventures and the turbulent early years of England.


Bernard Cornwell’s 13th book in his Saxon Tales series and the finale of the group which is a detailing of the making of England. Cornwell is a prodigious chronicler of historical detail with hallmarks of deep research and painstaking plotting. As in any great writer’s interpretation of history written in the form of a novel his books impart a picture of the period being discussed with literary license to interject supposed conversations between the characters as well as descriptions of major events taking place at the time. 

This novel can be read as a stand-alone although preceding events may not be alluded to. The lack of preexisting data does not detract from the enjoyment of a well-written book. Also, if critical a bit of research should turn up the missing facts.     

Lord Uhtred, King of Bebbanburg, a city in the province of Northumbria is caught between the quarrels of two men looking to annex the province and seeking him as an ally. Uhtred is getting on in years after a lifetime of war and would like nothing less than to spend his remaining life in the company of his lady and let his son take on the ruling of Bebbanburg as well as its wars. 

Unfortunately, he realizes that if he does not pick the correct side in the intercene battles between the two prospective rulers he could very well lose everything including his life.     

The reader is taken through the machinations of the opposing sides, including the reactions and plans of Uhtred. The era under review is rife with the growth of the Christian religion and taking the place of the Pagan beliefs of the peoples living then. Uhtred was a pagan but his lady, a former slave was a Christian. The book culminates in the battle of Brunanburh in 973 A.D. a little-known fight but claimed by Cornwell as the key event in the creation of England.  It took place almost a century before the battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D. which allowed the Norman French to conquer and become a part of Anglo Saxon England.     

Based on the long list of historical novels Bernard Cornwell has to his credit, it is certain that he will shortly present his next project and allow his readers to continue to enjoy his books.

1/2021 Paul Lane

WAR LORD by Bernard Cornwell. Harper (November 24, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062563293. 352 pages.

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2 Responses to WAR LORD by Bernard Cornwell

  1. LochanReads says:

    I only read parts of this because I’m still reading the series but it sounds exciting! I’m looking forward to it!

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