Book Review: Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell

Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell

Rating:  ★★★1/2

I’m a little depressed after finishing this.  I just realized I have to wait at least another year for a new Uhtred book.  Also – I think the tone of these books is getting darker.

In Sword of Kings, Uhtred is called upon for help from Edward’s queen, Eadigfu.  She believes Aethelhem and her step-son Aelfweard are plotting against her and her children.  She sends for Uhtred, seeking his protection against their mutual enemies.  And Uhtred, feeling restless, and also suspicious of a plot against him, against his better judgement and the advice of friends, comes to rescue her.  At which point, of course, things go terribly, horribly wrong.

Edward dies, leaving Mercia and East Anglia to Aethelstan, his true heir, and Wessex to Aelfweard, the recognized heir.  There’s also the matter of the oath Uhtred has sworn to kill Aethelhelm, and others.  (I mean really, is there any oath he hasn’t sworn at this point?)

We say goodbye to a couple old friends.  I was a little upset by the way those character deaths were handled, which seemed almost thoughtless.  It happens off page toward the end, and while Uhtred seems upset by one, he admits that he was relieved about the other, and it bothered me quite a bit.

He’s often painted as a sort of Knight in Shining Chain Mail (he literally saves like 13 orphans in London from misery in this book), and to have that line thrown in so carelessly toward the end felt like a disservice to his character.  I didn’t feel like it reflected who he really was or his past actions.  It’s hard to really say what it was without spoilers, but it wasn’t a good way to end.

Anyway- I did like some of the new characters (Beneditta).  And Finan received a lot of spotlight here, and his friendship with Uhtred is one of my favorite things about the Saxon Stories.  The battle scene at the end was fantastic.

Overall – well worth reading if you are a fellow Uhtred fan.  My hangups with this one were more personal than anything else.  Thank you to Harper Collins and Edelweiss for the eARC for review.

Sword of Kings releases on November 26, 2019 and can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

Can’t Wait Wednesday: Sword of Kings by Bernard Cornwell

Can’t-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted at Wishful Endings, to spotlight and discuss the books we’re excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they’re books that have yet to be released. It’s based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Title: Sword of Kings Sword of Kings by Bernard Corwnell

Author:  Bernard Cornwell

Publisher: Harper Collins

Genre: Historical Fiction

Length: 336 Pages

Release Date: November 26, 2019

Blurb: His blood is Saxon.

His heart is Viking.

His battleground is England.

Why I’m Excited for It:  ….

IT’S UHTRED.

Okay so I know that blurb is lacking… but honestly I’m just assuming it’s because Cornwell and Harper Collins don’t need to write them anymore to sell these books.

I’ll confess I haven’t read the last book in The Saxon Stories, War of the Wolf, despite the fact that it’s sitting on my shelf and has been since it released, because I was so scared Uhtred was going to die and I was going to be an emotional wreck.  But with a new book on the horizon it’s finally time to pick up War of the Wolf I think.  (And maybe re-read the rest of the series too.)

Sword of Kings can be found on GoodReads or preordered on Amazon.

What new books are you looking forward to?

 

Top Ten Tuesday: Audiobook Narrators I wish I Had

TTT-NEW

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

I might not make it to ten this week- but I’ll try.  This week’s topic was an Audio freebie.  To be honest, I’m a terrible listener.  Typically I save audiobooks for nonfiction or short stories.  That way if I miss a few things it’s not detracting from my enjoyment.  That’s all a very long way of saying: I struggled with this.

Before I figured out what a terrible listener I was, I considered an Audible membership.  As I was checking out what they had on offer, I discovered Sean Bean’s name as a narrator for an abridged version of one of the Richard Sharpe novels.  I would have been all over that book… if it had been the full version.  But it got me to thinking about how enhancing the audiobook experience would be if there was an honest to goodness actor behind the voices. Thus my topic: Actors I wish were readers.

Sean Bean Richard Sharpe

Sean Bean.  He narrated that first Richard Sharpe novel because he actually played Richard Sharpe in a miniseries (above).  I’ve yet to read or watch either.  But I would really, really love if he would narrate Cornwell’s other series- The Saxon Stories.

Roger Clark.  If you haven’t played Red Dead Redemption 2 yet: A) go play it! (what’s wrong with you?) and B) the voice acting is phenomenal.  Imagine my surprise when the cowboy extraordinaire got up to accept the award for best voice acting and his accent was… Irish.  (What?!)  I’ve never read Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West, but RDR2 made me want to read it.  Even better if it was narrated by Arthur Morgan himself.

Nolan North. Anytime I pop a new game into my PS4, fire it up, and hear North’s voice, it immediately puts a smile on my face.  I would recognize his voice pretty much anywhere.  To me, he will always, always be Nathan Drake, but I’d love for him to extend his talents elsewhere.  I think he’d make a fantastic Jackal of The Grey Bastards, even though it wasn’t my favorite book.  Otherwise I’d love him for him to read any book with Drake-esque characters.

Roger Craig Smith. If this name is not familiar, don’t feel too bad.  I had to look it up.  He is the voice actor for Assassin’s Creed’s Ezio Auditore da Firenze.  Revelations wasn’t even a good game, but it still managed to make me ugly cry.  If someone could go ahead and hire Smith to read the entire Greatcoats series to me… That’d be great.  Thanks.

Claudia Black.  She plays both Morrigan in Dragon Age 1 and 3, as well as Chloe Frazer in Uncharted, and her voice is heavenly.  It’s soothing and sultry and leant itself to two of my favorite female video game characters of all time.  As for books I’d like her to read, really anything, but I think she might be good for Circe by Madeline Miller or The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker.

Commodus

Joaquin Phoenix.  There are too many reasons to list here as to why I adore Joaquin so much.  Of course, my favorite performance will forever be: Emperor Commodus from Gladiator.  I’d love for him to read The Iliad or The Odyssey, or any of Shakespeare’s tragedies.  Hey- I can dream right?

Honorable mentions: Idris Elba (I wanted to add him, but I couldn’t think of a good book to pair him with, something punchy and hard hitting and set in London), Matthew McConaughey (probably any John Grisham novel ever written but I’ve never read Grisham), James Earl Jones because why not?, and Gideon Emery (the voice of Fenrir in Dragon Age 2).

What about you?  Do you have the perfect narrator for a book?