“Then I drew Serpent-Breath and I saw that Hild had looked after the blade well. It shone with a light coating of lard or lanolin that had prevented the patterned steel from rusting. I raised the sword to my lips and kissed her long blade. “You have men to kill,” I told her, “and revenge to take.”
This the third in the Saxon Tales series by Bernard Cornwell, see our hero Uhtred, after helping save the Saxons of Wessex, yet again given less than satisfying rewards for his efforts. In the words of Mel Brooks, “It’s good to be the king”. The other side of that is that it’s not so good to not be the king. Uhtred finds himself with little reward and again sets of toward his goal of reclaiming his land. He runs across an old nemesis and yet another “king” who needs his help.
“We were going to Lundene, for in Lundene all roads start. It was fate that drove me. It was the year 878, I was twenty-one years old and believed my swords could win me the whole world. I was Uhtred of Bebbanburg, the man who had killed Ubba Lothbrokson beside the sea and who had spilled Svein of the White Horse from his saddle at Ethandun. I was the man who had given Alfred his kingdom back and I hated him. So I would leave him. My path was the sword-path, and it would take me home. I would go north.”
I really love this series! Mr. Cornwell’s scenes are crisp and not overly drawn out. Fortunately for me, he has a number of books for me to devour over time. If you love adventure and are a bit tired of reading about the caliber of weapons, try this series.