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The Pale Horseman (The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories #2)

4.23 of 5 stars 4.23  ·  rating details  ·  14,440 ratings  ·  546 reviews
Uhtred is a Saxon, cheated of his inheritance and adrift in a world of fire, sword, and treachery. He has to make a choice: whether 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. The rest have fallen to the Danish Vikings, a story told in The Last Kingdom, the
ebook, 384 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins e-books (first published 2005)
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Bookworm Sean
The Pale Horseman, the second instalment in the Saxon stories, is every bit as good as the first. This, again, feels like another chapter of a man’s life. Uhtred has grown up a little and is more resolute in his ambitions since we last saw him. He has fought in his first shield wall and has completed the transformation from boy to man: he is now a proven warrior and, more importantly, he now has a growing reputation but, not necessarily a good one.

His glory has been stolen by the coward Odda th
THE PALE HORSEMEN is the second book in the Cornwell series focusing on England before it was England. Unlike the first book, there's less fighting and more political maneuvering and focus on relationships.

HISTORY: at this time England was something of a bunch of Saxon Kingdoms. Seven, if memory serves. The Saxons had actually taken most of the Kingdom from the Britons & Welsh and had held a good chunk for several hundred years. Now, it's the late 800s and the Danes are seriously beating th
Jason Koivu
"REINVIGORATE, MAN!" I shouted, then calmly began my review.

Cornwell always does a decent job of adding in just enough historical detail, both physical and immediate, to the story as well as historic and atmospheric for the background. Then he layers on his stock, misunderstood hero regardless of time or place and serves up another entertaining action/adventure story. Hard to argue with a winning recipe, other than the argument that the palette desires something new sooner or later, and that th
Oh Bernard, how do you do what you do?
If I could write like this man, well, I'd be one very happy chick. And I do not want to write like this to make money, or make fans, or make myself famous, I just want to have this skill for myself, to know that I can do it, to know that I can create magic on paper, although, Bernard Cornwell, in this series at least, is more than merely skilled, he is an absolute master.
Would it be presumptuous of me to say that I think that he is a writer's writer? or mo
This was a brutal read. I love historical fiction when it gets real like this. The characters were vivid and realistic. The author understands the era and how to bring us into it.
All of the basic themes are present, betrayal, revenge, cruelty, heroism etc. The story never really slows down- it's pace is consistent with a building sensation towards the end. This was a good, brutal read. So far this series is a go-to consistently good read that I will return to from time to time.
I have read all the books so far in Cornwell’s Saxon series, and this is my favorite book so far. Of course, since I loved “The Last Kingdom” so much, I almost couldn’t wait to get my hands on it, and then read it in two days.

What can I say; I just adore mean old Uhtred, despite his flaws and his sometimes unethical behavior. I do believe one of Cornwell's flaws is he doesn’t write the best female characters, but I find his male characters so interesting and fun, it doesn’t bother me much.

I th
"One more defeat and there would probably never have been a political entity called England. We might have had a Daneland instead, and this novel would probably have been written in Danish."

That was actually a quote from the authors "historical note" listed at the books end.

 photo 50AAFF22-BE26-4039-B522-A8972B00DC1F_zpsoxva9obw.jpg

I'm always nervous to read a second book in a series as I'm usually always disappointed. But, I loved book one so much and wanted to continue with Uthreds story. I happy to report that book 2 was all and more then I ever e
The Pale Horseman gets a solid 4 stars. BC is a very good writer but I’m not feeling like he is stretching himself here. Not that his writing is flawed, no way. I could not put this book down and just raced through it. I thought his battle scenes were as bloody and chaotic and good as ever. His characters were likeable or despicable and you do care about them. But it seemed too much of a template to get 5 stars. His main character, Uhtred, is a young rebellious youth, much like the main protagon ...more
Wow! That last 50 pages or so were awesome...That's just an estimate, since I listened to the audio and didn't have the page count right in front of me.

After several disappointing endings in books lately, this was refreshing. The finish actually brought my rating up, instead of the opposite as some have done recently.

I've long heard that Bernard Cornwell is the best at describing battles. If I wasn't convinced already, I am now.
Lance Greenfield
Yet again, Cornwell has cracked it! This is exactly as historical fiction should be: bring that history to life.

One cannot help but be swept along as Uhtred recalls his adventures in Wessex and the south west of England. He questions King Alfred and the Christian ideology of the early Saxons, when one could only find favour with the King through demonstrating complete commitment to God. Consequently, his greatest enemies are the priests of Alfred's court. His enemies in battle, no matter what th
Joe Francis
This is the second Bernard Cornwell book I've read. I do like historical fiction and the book is quite a good read but I seem to detect a hint of anti-religiousness in his works. The main character is a pagan, so that may be the reason, but the priests and clergy that inhabit his stories tend to be mostly interested in silver, or they spout useless platitudes that draw scorn from the main character Uhtread. I tried to begin Cornwell's first Arthurian book but put it down for the same reason. I a ...more
Writing a sequel to an amazing novel can be a bit hard. Bernard Cornwell fulfilled that task with style, and in the process created my personal favourite Uhtred novel and proved himself a master of historical fiction.

Uhtred must fight the hardest duel of his life against a truly formidable opponent, a strong Danish invasion catches the people of Wessex completely by surprise, and Alfred must hide in a swamp to avoid falling with his kingdom. All appears to be lost, including the fight to retake
Snowed in (again) and still seeking free yet instant gratification from the library's e-reader app, I find the second book of The Saxon Stories - well, that worked out pretty good the last time so I went ahead and ran it again, which was a good decision. The Pale Horseman is not a complicated book, but it's a fun one.

We return to 9th century England, where Uhtred the Northumbrian exile is in the orbit of Wessexian king Alfred, whom history tells us is the one who fights off the Danish and sets i
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

Uhtred son of Uhtred’s adventures continue, with the wily English (but a bit Viking) warrior becoming more deeply enmeshed with King Alfred, the Wessex king he despises but whose interests he always ends up serving. (view spoiler)
Georgina Ortiz
Winning lines from the book:

On Vikings (Danes) as "savage pagans":
"When folk speak of the Danes these days they have an idea that they were all savage pagans, unthinking in their terrible violence, but most were like Svein and feared losing men. That was always the great Danish fear, and the Danish weakness." (p.79)

On reputation:
"And that too was the truth, that a man cannot step back from a fight and stay a man. We make much in this life if we are able. We make children and wealth and amass lan
Beth Cato
This is the sequel to The Last Kingdom, which I reviewed a few days ago. I had problems with that book because the protagonist, Uhtred, was an unsympathetic jerk. The historical detail was great, but I'm not too keen on reading about drinking, whores, and swordplay, even if it does play to accuracy. However, I still pressed onward with the trilogy...[return][return].. and almost stopped a few chapters in. Uhtred, torn between being a Saxon by birth and a Dane in spirit, decided to masquerade as ...more
Alex Telander
THE PALE HORSEMAN BY BERNARD CORNWELL: In The Pale Horseman (sequel to The Last Kingdom), Bernard Cornwell surges on with his series on the life of Alfred the Great, but not simply with a furthering of the plot, but some clear development in both story, character, and the whole point Cornwell is trying to make with this series.

In Pale Horseman we now learn that our hero from the last book, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, while just as skilled in his knowledge of languages, way with words, as well as his a
I've seen great praise for Cornwell as a historical novelist, and so, when I saw this series surrounding the age of Alfred the Great, I was excited and ready to see something good. I found something mediocre. The protagonist is Uthred, a fictional dispossessed Saxon lord, raised by Danes, in the midst of their greatest effort to conquer England. It's a good premise, to give a perspective from both sides of the story. And the story-telling, done by an omniscient, older Uthred, commenting on his m ...more
I am a big fan of all Bernard Cornwell (Author) work and have read many of his books. I loved the first of this series The Last Kingdom and was looking forward to this but I didn't enjoy it as much as the first. I still admired the main character Uhtred and thought the story was an excellent one, the detail as intricate and well researched as ever, but I thought the plot lacked impetus, it didn't career along like the first book did. I will still read the third book in the series The Lords of th ...more
Dinah Küng
Ploughing on with this series, to try and understand what so entranced my two teen sons. Our protagonist Uhtred still can't make up his mind whether he likes anybody but the rather homoerotic Ragnar Older/Younger duo and the objective of getting his real estate in Northumbria back by any means. On a day to day basis, he is still mostly interested in mindless slaughter, (what he calls the dance of war or joy of death or glee of slaughter or miracle of massacre or some variation thereof.) By my ca ...more
This is the second in Cornwell’s Saxon series but you didn’t have to read The Last Kingdom (the first in the series) to enjoy this one.

Personally, I find it difficult not to enjoy a Cornwell novel. He has a gift of providing just enough history to satisfy the discerning while continuing the narrative at a nail-biting pace.

The Pale Horseman continues King Alfred’s struggle to preserve Wessex from invading Viking hordes. The story is told from the viewpoint of the fictional Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a
M.L. Falconer
Dec 08, 2010 M.L. Falconer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to M.L. by: Library
Absolutely amazing! Cornwell blends true history with fiction so well that, unless your a history major, it's difficult to tell them apart. I fell in love with every character, even the most dastardly ones.

Uhtred is the ultimate bad boy, not exactly sure where his alignment lies; captured very young and raised by the Danes he grows to fight for king Alfred even though he is somewhat appalled by the over religious piety that drives Alfred. Though Uhtred loves the Danes his unwavering loyalty to A
Bernard Cornwell is a master of historical fiction, taking his reader and flinging them right into another time - in the case of The Pale Horseman, into the blood, gore and violence of Saxon England. This book is the second of Cornwell's Saxon Stories, and it's obvious the author has done his research. The detail, including what the characters eat, creates a time travel experience. His facts are accurate and his descriptive writing is excellent. I was on the battlefield with Uhtred, the main cha ...more

In this second installment of his Saxon series, Cornwell gives us a grown-up Uhtred Uhtredson (although still in his 20s). Still torn between his upbringing by the invading Danes and his patrimony as an elder of Northumbria, Uhtred finds himself allied to the Saxon king, Alfred, hiding out from the Danes in the marshes of Wessex. The book slowly builds toward the real historical battle that gave Alfred his first significant victory over the Danes, and there is hardly anyone who writes a battle s
rating: 5.5/5

Tears are still falling down my cheeks after this one. This is the second novel in the Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories series and I love it just as much as I loved the first one, maybe even a little more.

Uhtred is now in 20/21 years old, he is foolish, hot-headed, impatient, and a smart-ass. It gets him into trouble but it also earns him a reputation, of sorts. We meet new characters and get to know old ones better. I don't want to give away the plot but it is filled with action,
In A.D. 878 the Danes occupied much of northern England, but their attempts to conquer Wessex were opposed by King Alfred, later named The Great.

Our protagonist Uhtred, who was raised by Danes, is still having trouble making up his mind whether he wants to be a viking or wants to claim his birthright as a Saxon. While he’s deciding, Alfred makes good use of him as a spy.

Despite pressure from his wife and from the extremely pious Alfred, Uhtred is still scorning Christianity. He’s pretty sure tha
Snoozie Suzie
I think I may have got to this too quickly after the first, and this have got a bit fed up of the fight side of it all. And also some of the vulgar language made me cringe a bit, although i understand this is how they probably would have voiced themselves. But, I enjoyed following Uthred in the next chapter of his life in which his loyalties change back to England and all this entails.

I do think the descriptive is very good and listening to this I could picture the muddy, bloody mess the men (a
The Pale Horseman picks up right where The Last Kingdom and keeps moving right along.

I thought this book was excellent. Had Cornwell not (view spoiler) Why can't Uhtred just find a woman to give him all kinds of mini-Uhtred's? Find a woman! Have babies! Create your own army, then maybe you wouldn't have to listen to Alfred! Sorry. The romantic in me has emerged. I imagine that kind of a story is just too easy. A romantic
This is SO much better than The Last Kingdom! I could hardly put it down, whereas its predecessor was a bit slow at points and took me a bit longer to get through. Bernard Cornwell had me on the edge of my seat for much of this one. A must-read for almost anyone.
Teri Heyer
Feb 08, 2013 Teri Heyer rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves great historical fiction.
I read 'The Pale Horseman' over the last couple days. This is the 2nd book in the Saxon series and is every bit as good as the 1st. This is historical fiction at its best.
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwe ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories (8 books)
  • The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
  • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3)
  • Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4)
  • The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
  • Death of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #6)
  • The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)
  • The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8)
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1) Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4)

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“Life is simple," I said. "Ale, women, sword, and reputation. Nothing else matters.” 6 likes
“Give me a nice dark Briton with hips like a pair of ale barrels and I'm a happy priest. Poor Hild. Thin as a ray of sunlight, she is, but I pity a Dane who crosses her path today.” 3 likes
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