1300 187 187
 
The Pale Horseman : Saxon Chronicles Series : Book 2 - Bernard Cornwell

The Pale Horseman

Saxon Chronicles Series : Book 2

Paperback

Published: 22nd May 2006
In Stock. Usually ships in 1-2 business days
RRP $19.99
$15.80
21%
OFF

Uhtred is a Saxon, cheated of his inheritance, and adrift in a world of fire, sword, and treachery. He has to make a choice: to fight for the Vikings, who raised him, or for King Alfred the Great of Wessex, who dislikes him.

In the late ninth century, Wessex is the last English kingdom. All the rest have fallen to the Danish Vikings, and the Vikings want to finish England. They assemble the Great Army, whose sole ambition is to conquer Wessex. Yet fate, as Uhtred learns, has its own imperatives. When the Vikings attack out of a wintry darkness to shatter the last English kingdom, Uhtred finds himself on Alfred's side.

The Pale Horseman is an enthralling story, a novel of divided loyalties and desperate heroism, featuring a range of fully realized characters, from a king in despair to a beguiling British sorceress. And always, beyond the spearmen and the swordsmen are the folk who suffer as the tides of war sweep over their farmlands. The Pale Horseman is yet another masterpiece of historical and battle fiction that gives life to one of the most important and exciting epochs in the history of England's people and culture.

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed Richard Sharpe series, set during the Napoleonic Wars; the Nathaniel Starbuck Chronicles, about American Civil War; the Warlord Trilogy, about Arthurian England; and, most recently, Stonehenge 2000 B.C.: A Novel and The Archer's Tale.

Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC TV for seven years, mostly as producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television's Thames at Six. Mr. Cornwell lives with his wife on Cape Cod.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
The Pale Horseman
 
5.0

(based on 1 review)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

Reviewed by 1 customer

Displaying review 1

Back to top

 
5.0

Cornwell is the best !

By Anton

from Sydney

About Me Casual Reader

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Page Turner

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Travel Reading
    • Younger Readers

    Comments about The Pale Horseman:

    For those who love historical fiction, this series is brilliant !

    My son and I share books and this series is awesome !

    Comment on this review

    Praise for The Pale Horseman: 'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail 'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer 'It is stirring stuff, and few writers are better qualified than Cornwell to do justice to the excitement of the times...Ninth-century Britain and a master of storytelling - it is a marriage made in heaven.' Sunday Telegraph 'Cornwell's mastery of historical sources and his aptitude for battle scenes is well established...the language, and particularly the dialogue, is raw and unarchaic, rich in insults and Anglo-Saxon expletives.' Times Literary Supplement

    Chpater One

    These days I look at twenty-year-olds and think they are pathetically young, scarcely weaned from their mothers' tits, but when I was twenty I considered myself a full-grown man. I had fathered a child, fought in the shield wall, and was loath to take advice from anyone. In short I was arrogant, stupid, and headstrong. Which is why, after our victory at Cynuit, I did the wrong thing.

    We had fought the Danes beside the ocean, where the river runs from the great swamp and the Saefern Sea slaps on a muddy shore, and there we had beaten them. We had made a great slaughter and I, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, had done my part. More than my part, for at the battle's end, when the great Ubba Lothbrokson, most feared of all the Danish leaders, had carved into our shield wall with his great war ax, I had faced him, beaten him, and sent him to join the einherjar, that army of the dead who feast and swive in Odin's corpse hall.

    What I should have done then, what Leofric told me to do, was ride hard to Exanceaster where Alfred, King of the West Saxons, was besieging Guthrum. I should have arrived deep in the night, woken the king from his sleep, and laid Ubba's battle banner of the black raven and Ubba's great war ax, its blade still crusted with blood, at Alfred's feet. I should have given the king the good news that the Danish army was beaten, that the few survivors had taken to their dragon-headed ships, that Wessex was safe, and that I, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, had achieved all of those things.

    Instead I rode to find my wife and child.

    At twenty years old I would rather have been plowing Mildrith than reaping the rewards of my good fortune, and that is what I did wrong, but, looking back, I have few regrets. Fate is inexorable, and Mildrith, though I had not wanted to marry her and though I came to detest her, was a lovely field to plow.

    So, in that late spring of the year 877, I spent the Saturday riding to Cridianton instead of going to Alfred. I took twenty men with me and I promised Leofric that we would be at Exanceaster by midday on Sunday and I would make certain Alfred knew we had won his battle and saved his kingdom.

    'Odda the Younger will be there by now,' Leofric warned me. Leofric was almost twice my age, a warrior hardened by years of fighting the Danes. 'Did you hear me?' he asked when I said nothing. 'Odda the Younger will be there by now,' he said again, 'and he's a piece of goose shit who'll take all the credit.'

    'The truth cannot be hidden,' I said loftily.

    Leofric mocked that. He was a bearded squat brute of a man who should have been the commander of Alfred's fleet, but he was not well born and Alfred had reluctantly given me charge of the twelve ships because I was an ealdorman, a noble, and it was only fitting that a high-born man should command the West Saxon fleet even though it had been much too puny to confront the massive array of Danish ships that had come to Wessex's south coast. 'There are times,' Leofric grumbled, 'when you are an earsling.' An earsling was something that had dropped out of a creature's backside and was one of Leofric's favorite insults. We were friends.

    'We'll see Alfred tomorrow,' I said.

    'And Odda the Younger,' Leofric said patiently, 'has seen him today.'

    Odda the Younger was the son of Odda the Elder who had given my wife shelter, and the son did not like me. He did not like me because he wanted to plow Mildrith, which was reason enough for him to dislike me. He was also, as Leofric said, a piece of goose shit, slippery and slick, which was reason enough for me to dislike him.

    'We shall see Alfred tomorrow,' I said again, and next morning we all rode to Exanceaster, my men escorting Mildrith, our son, and his nurse, and we found Alfred on the northern side of Exanceaster where his green-and-white dragon banner flew above his tents. Other banners snapped in the damp wind, a colorful array of beasts, crosses, saints, and weapons announcing that the great men of Wessex were with their king. One of those banners showed a black stag, which confirmed that Leofric had been right and that Odda the Younger was here in south Defnascir. Outside the camp, between its southern margin and the city walls, was a great pavilion made of sailcloth stretched across guyed poles, and that told me that Alfred, instead of fighting Guthrum, was talking to him. They were negotiating a truce, though not on that day, for it was a Sunday and Alfred would do no work on a Sunday if he could help it. I found him on his knees in a makeshift church made from another poled sailcloth, and all his nobles and thegns were arrayed behind him, and some of those men turned as they heard our horses' hooves. Odda the Younger was one of those who turned and I saw the apprehension show on his narrow face.

    The bishop who was conducting the service paused to let the congregation make a response, and that gave Odda an excuse to look away from me. He was kneeling close to Alfred, very close, suggesting that he was high in the king's favor, and I did not doubt that he had brought the dead Ubba's raven banner and war ax to Exanceaster and claimed the credit for the fight beside the sea. 'One day,' I said to Leofric, 'I shall slit that bastard from the crotch to the gullet and dance on his offal.'

    'You should have done it yesterday.'
    Bernard Cornwell

    Bernard Cornwell was born in London in 1944 - a 'warbaby' - whose father was a Canadian airman and mother in Britain's Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted by a family in Essex who belonged to a religious sect called the Peculiar People (and they were), but escaped to London University and, after a stint as a teacher, he joined BBC Television where he worked for the next 10 years. He began as a researcher on the Nationwide programme and ended as Head of Current Affairs Television for the BBC in Northern Ireland. It was while working in Belfast that he met Judy, a visiting American, and fell in love. Judy was unable to move to Britain for family reasons so Bernard went to the States where he was refused a Green Card. He decided to earn a living by writing, a job that did not need a permit from the US government - and for some years he had been wanting to write the adventures of a British soldier in the Napoleonic wars - and so the Sharpe series was born. Bernard and Judy married in 1980, are still married, still live in the States and he is still writing Sharpe.

    Visit Bernard Cornwell's Booktopia Author Page


    ISBN: 9780007149933
    ISBN-10: 000714993X
    Series: The Warrior Chronicles
    Audience: General
    Format: Paperback
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 464
    Published: 22nd May 2006
    Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
    Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 13.0  x 3.0
    Weight (kg): 0.33