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Sword Song (The Saxon Stories #4)

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4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  19,659 Ratings  ·  653 Reviews
The fourth installment of Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit BBC America television series.

The year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the sout
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Audio, Abridged
Published January 22nd 2008 by HarperAudio (first published September 2007)
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Bookdragon Sean
Uhtred is in his prime; he has name and reputation, and he also has the youth and energy to complete his goals. He is beyond tried and tested; he is the master of his craft; he is the mighty Uhtred and he is now a war lord to be feared. I pity the man that crosses swords with him.

The shield itself, rimmed with iron, was painted with a wolfs head, my badge, and at my left hung serpents breath and at my right Wasp-sting, and I strode towards the gate with the sun rising behind me to throw my lo
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Athena Shardbearer

"So long as there is a kingdom on this windswept island, there will be war. So we cannot flinch from war. We cannot hide from its cruelty, its blood, its stench, its vileness or its joy, because war will come to us whether we want it or not. War is fate, and wyrd bið ful ãræd. Fate is inescapable."



The one thing I love most of this series is the beautiful writing. Cornwell has such a way with words, how to twist them together to make these beautiful scenes even when its a horrible killing. Thes
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Scott  Hitchcock
As good as book one of the series. I really like the story line and villains in this one.
Lucia
Jan 22, 2017 Lucia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
I am in love with Uhtred of Bebbanburg's story! Sword Song was another great book by Bernard Cornwell and I can't wait to read more. Full review to come
Nate
Aug 09, 2012 Nate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-ages
Cornwell still hasn't let me down with this series. The villains are still easy to hate and there were even characters I wholly liked (Pyrlig is great.) The relative lack of major events in Lords of the North made it a slower read for me than The Pale Horseman, and although this one seemed still primarily focused on the smaller stories of Uhtred and Æthelflæd there was a ton of action and purposeful movement.

I have to say that I'm proud of Uhtred. A whole 300+ pages and he didn't commit a single
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Rob
Executive Summary: Another great entry in this series, that seemed to be over before it started. How can you not like Uhtred of Bebbanburg?

Full Review
I've never really been a big historical fiction fan before discovering this series. I'm not enough of a history buff to know what elements are true, and which are fictional. Regardless this series continues to be fascinating and engrossing.

Compared to many of the doorstopping fantasy books I tend to read, these feel minuscule by comparison. So mu
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Terri
How frustrating. After all the glowing reviews I have left on goodreads for the other books in this Saxon series (the books that precede Swordsong), I find myself in a painfully awkward situation.
I had a genuine love-hate relationship..wait!...love-hate is too strong..let's go with...like-dislike....so, I had a genuine like-dislike relationship with this book. I liked it, yes indeed, but I didn't like all of it and I didn't always like the way it made me feel. I want to try and expound on this,
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Vagner Stefanello
Apr 19, 2014 Vagner Stefanello rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: physical
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Após ver a sua rixa com Kjartan chegar ao fim, Uhtred acha que poderá retomar Bebbanburg do controle de seu tio traidor. Isso acontece nesse livro? Mas é claro que NÃO! O autor Bernard Cornwell sempre nos reserva muitas surpresas e desta vez não foi diferente. Cinco anos se passaram desde a batalha em Dunholm e nosso protagonista é levado à Londres, onde os dinamarqueses, agora comandados pelos irmãos Erik e Sigefrid Thurgilson, ameaçam invadir toda W
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Graham Crawford
Jul 11, 2013 Graham Crawford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It is a testament to Cornwell's craftsmanship that I enjoy hanging out with Uhtred. I know I should dislike him, he's vain, sullen, petty, often foolish, mostly brutal, and very occasionally, kind. And yet I am fond of him. I grimace when he falls for stupid tricks & when he is vicious without cause. I shake my head and smile when he tries to hide his real motivations from me with low cunning. Uhtred is a very clever, very flawed and very human creation.

So many writers of historical fiction
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Laura
Feb 12, 2017 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, sagas
Cornwell no decepciona.
Mucha acción con trozos de historia. Un libro que se lee rápido y es muy entretenido, como los tres anteriores.

No tengo claro lo que opino sobre Alfredo; a veces me parece un buen rey y otras veces lo mataría. Lo que no podemos negar es que es un gran personaje en esta historia.
A los Aethereld, Asser y esa gente los odio bastante; estoy deseando que mueran. A manos de Ragnar si puede ser.

No puedo evitar tenerle cariño a los vikingos, no a todos claro; pero estoy segura de
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Steve
Aug 07, 2010 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An absolutely fascinating era in English history; one where the tides could so easily have turned and left England as Daneland. The historical place names and character names are pretty much real and add to the whole feel of the 9th century. Where a sickly, extremely pious, but sharp witted prince becomes not only a king, when he was not directly in line to take the throne. But becomes known as King Alfred The Great, despite his frail body and constant illness, and despite (or maybe, because of) ...more
Suzanne
Apr 10, 2016 Suzanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. This was another solid entry in the Saxon series. It was the first I listened to instead of read, and I thought Jonathan Keebles did an excellent job (although I see they change narrators after this book, so I will probably go back to text format).

We saw a lot more of Uhtred's compassionate side in this book, and I liked his interactions with some of the women characters. The battles were exciting. I just really enjoy this series.
Georgina Ortiz
Jan 08, 2015 Georgina Ortiz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many things to like about Mr. Cornwell's "Sword Song," but what stood out for me was (decidedly "pagan" and Thor devotee) Uthred's unlikely friendship with two priests: the fierce Welsh warrior Father Pyrlig and King Alfred's adviser and scholar Father Beocca.

Uhtred on choosing Father Pyrlig:
"On one side a kingdom, Viking friends and wealth, and on the other a Briton who was the priest of a religion that sucks joy from this world like dusk swallowing daylight. Yet I did not think. I
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Tammy
Feb 28, 2017 Tammy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a book! Amazing. This was Uhtred at his prime, if not then close to it. The third book still remains my favorite and I thought this was a bit slower paced but Sword Song has probably the best ending so far in this series. This book kept me up many a night but its worth it because I really love reading these books.
Billy
Jul 04, 2012 Billy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Uhtred is one of the GREATEST literary figures ever created!,

The Saxon Chronicles, panned from the outset as Cornwell trying to return to his British roots, has proven to be a juggernaut that cannot be stopped by bad and, in this case, off-base, press reviews.

Book 4, 'Sword Song: The Battle for London', continues the story of Lord Uhtred, Saxon born, Dane raised, sworn man of King Alfred the great. In this installment, Uhtred fights to take London back from the invading Northemen, the Vikings.
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Alex Telander
Jan 08, 2008 Alex Telander rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
SWORD SONG: THE BATTLE FOR LONDON BY BERNARD CORNWELL: We last left Uhtred, in Lords of the North, apparently an ally with King Alfred, while the Vikings were making a very successful takeover of England, making it seem like there was little hope left for Alfred and his Saxon people. But Alfred has God on his side, and feels he will be ultimately victorious; Uhtred on the other hand, a pagan, cares little for this Christian religion, but is still a little unsure of where his allegiances lie.

Whi
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Alicja
rating: 5.5/5

Ah, Cornwell, you did it yet again. Love, love, love this series!

Uhtred is a little less, uh, murderous in this one (which only means he doesn't kill unarmed -priests- in cold blood). It still has the humor brutality of war, vivid descriptions of life, Uhtred's spontaneous actions, and some new wonderful (and easily hated villainous) characters. A solid novel, highly enjoyable, that had me loving every single word.

And then *bam*, Cornwell actually managed to surprise me with a plot
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Samantha
In this fourth installment in the Saxon Warriors series, we find Uhtred continuing to struggle with his loyalties, faith, and destiny. While he feels more of a connection to the Norsemen, he remains paired with Alfred for inexplicable reasons. Uhtred is a mystery wrapped in an enigma, and he is a cruel one. Or, as my husband's short review summed up once I convinced him to read the first few books in the series, "Uhtred is kind of a jerk."

I still found myself amused by Uhtred's witty irreverence
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Férial
Jan 15, 2016 Férial rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars. I still love Uhtred and I even wonder if I'll ever get enough of him. I love seeing how England is slowly being built and Mr Cornwell is a master story-teller.

My only complaint is that I'm starting to see a recurent pattern in the books (hence the 4.5 stars instead of 5) : Uhtred, whose biggest dream is to have his fortress and lands back, keeps giving unwilling oaths to king Alfred (because there's always a good reason) and keeps fighting for him against the Danes (among whom Uhtred
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Rebecka (is hilarious, shut up)
"I touched Serpent-Breath again and it seemed to me that she quivered. I sometimes thought that blade sang. It was a thin, half-heard song, a keening noise, the song of the blade wanting blood; the sword song."

The only negative part about this book was that it made me want to curl up in a corner, reading, and hiss when someone from the real world comes around and tells me that I have to do something productive now and, no, you can't go to England and be a Viking, no, you can't have your own lon
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Chris
Feb 29, 2012 Chris rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
This was a solid entry in the Saxon Series, by Bernard Cornwell. While not as enjoyable as the second and third books, I liked this one. It kept me engaged for the most part, and wanting more story. So I’ll move on to The Burning Land soon enough, I hope.

One thing that did detract a little was the reader. For some reason, they changed narrators in the series with this book. I like the new reader, but he does pronounce several of the names differently than the previous reader. I often found mysel
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Krista Baetiong Tungol
“I sometimes thought that blade sang. It was a thin, half-heard song, a keening noise, the song of the blade wanting blood; the sword song.”

Only Bernard Cornwell can liken a deadly sword to a sweet, chaste melody, and soften the gore of battle (which practically littered in this book) with a sprinkle of humor.

I thought I was a squeamish person. But as Uthred’s sword happily sings next to the flying heads or the gouged eyes or the spilled guts, I found that I could still eat my sandwiches with d
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Mike
I can usually depend on Mr. Cornwell to provide a good read whenever I am unsure where I want to go next. Sadly, Sword Song barely measures up. Uhtred remains bound by his oath to serve King Alfred, is told to capture Lundene (London) and other tasks. The book pretty much plods along in a straight line, nothing surprises. Meh.
Maria_Love_For_Books
Saxons and Vikings are fighting and the story of Uhtred becomes more complicated and fascinating... I have a weird feeling about the future of many of his beloved ones, but I will wait and see... Wyrd bið ful aræd...

Until then, enjoy the fight!

Michela
May 30, 2015 Michela rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favoritos
“Toquei Bafo de Serpente de novo e me pareceu que ela teve um tremor. Algumas vezes eu achava que a espada cantava. Era um canto fino, apenas entreouvido, um som penetrante, a canção da espada que desejava sangue; a canção da espada.”
Mark
Mar 13, 2015 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to enjoy this series. In the 9th century of what's now England, our rather unloveable, but still somehow endearing, rogue Uhtred of Bebbanburg continues the great conflict of his life. He likes the Danish invaders and yet continues to find himself aligned with the Saxons and King Alfred, with his dream of unifying the land into one greater kingdom, rather than just several disparate realms.

While reading this fourth volume it occurred to me that I have read some similar books before, a
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Veronica
May 23, 2016 Veronica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sword Song is the fourth in Cornwell's Saxon Tales series and it picks up the threads of Uhtred's life roughly eight years after the events of the last book. Those eight years have seen a tentative peace settle between the countries of Wessex, East Anglia, and Mercia. King Alfred of Wessex, his end goal of a unified England ever in his mind, has been working on shoring up the defenses in Wessex and has tasked Uhtred with a part in making a more secure Wessex a reality. But new players have arriv ...more
Linda
Sep 12, 2014 Linda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This series of historical novels is set in 9th and 10th century Britain and focus on Alfred the Great and the creation of modern England. There are currently 8 books in the series, with the 9th due out in September 2014.
The story is told by Uhtred Uhtredson, the son of Saxon nobility in the North of England. Uhtred is a wonderful character, strong, forthright and honourable. He is captured by the invading Danes when he is just a child and is brought up by them. He then becomes a warrior for Kin
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Chuck
Jan 03, 2015 Chuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.75-stars This wasn't as good as the previous installment, but it was still good; it's just the last one was REALLY good--I mean the last one had me welling up at the end: "Father! Father!" Ha-ha, I get into these books like a ten-year-old kid. Bring on number 5!
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  • The White Raven (Oathsworn, #3)
  • Sons of Thunder (Raven #2)
  • The Eagle's Conquest (Eagle, #2)
  • The Death of Kings (Emperor, #2)
  • King's Man (The Outlaw Chronicles, #3)
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who 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 birth mother's maiden n ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

The Saxon Stories (10 books)
  • The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
  • The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)
  • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3)
  • 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)
  • Warriors of the Storm (The Saxon Stories, #9)
  • The Flame Bearer (The Saxon Stories, #10)

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“Love is a dangerous thing. It comes in disguise to change our life... Lust is the deceiver. Lust wrenches our lives until nothing matters except the one we think we love, and under that deceptive spell we kill for them, give all for them, and then, when we have what we have wanted, we discover that it is all an illusion and nothing is there. Lust is a voyage to nowhere, to an empty land, but some men just love such voyages and never care about the destination. Love is a voyage too, a voyage with no destination except death, but a voyage of bliss.” 26 likes
“Priests come to my home beside the northern sea where they find an old man, and they tell me I am just a few paces from the fires of hell. I only need repent, they say, and I will go to heaven and live forevermore in the blessed company of the saints.

And I would rather burn till time itself burns out.”
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