A warrior’s lifetime of experience of fighting, working out the politics and strategies of his friends, enemies and those who flex between, and the advantages of confident bluff and subterfuge all combine to get Uthred and his men inside the walls of the ancestral home he had been forced to leave as a child.
More battles with Saxon/Danish warlord, Uhtred, this time against Irish Viking, Ragnall whose brother Sigtryggr he (and we) met in Chester in The Empty Throne, and who eloped with Uhtred’s daughter Stiorra.
Stiorra is one of three strong women in the tale, alongside Queen Æthelflaed of Mercia and Uhtred’s former lover Brida.
And finally – FINALLY- it looks like Uhtred is in a position to return to reclaim Bebbanburg.
I thought this was the last in the Uhtred saga / The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories / Alfred The Great series, but I finished it and there are still a lot of loose ends…. Turns out book 9 is due to be published in October!
Read mostly on the train travelling up to Edinburgh – passing close to Bebbanburg (Bamburgh Castle) en route – and finished off by the light of our Premier Inn room…
In a daring seaborne raid, Uhtred tries to regain Bebbanburg – his home and birthright – but finds the Fates against him. Fleeing south he finds himself embroiled (willingly, of course) in the resumption of the war between the Saxons and Danes, with Æthelred of Mercia tempted to extend his power into East Anglia, only to find that it’s all a cunning plan by Cnut Longsword and Haesten of Chester. Lots of fighting, lots of familiar figures from Uhtred’s long life – 50 years is an old age for a pagan warrior – but most of all, The Pagan Lord is a book about family.
“… in which Captain Sharpe has to protect a philandering diplomat and, deserted by his ally, faces the enemy” (as the blurb says), with the part of the philandering diplomat going to Ambassador Henry Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington’s younger brother, and Colonel Henri Vandal being the enemy sought by Sharpe and his men during the surprise British victory over the French at the Battle of Barrosa.