The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
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The Burning Land (The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories #5)

4.25 of 5 stars 4.25  ·  rating details  ·  8,570 ratings  ·  380 reviews
In a clash of heroes, the kingdom is born.

At the end of the ninth century, King Alfred of Wessex is in ill health; his heir, an untested youth. His enemy, the Danes, having failed to conquer Wessex, now see their chance for victory. Led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair, the Viking hordes attack. But Uhtred, Alfred's reluctant warlord, proves his worth, outwi...more
Paperback, Large Print, 560 pages
Published January 19th 2010 by HarperLuxe (first published 2009)
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Terri
5 stars. It has to be. 5 stars for Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and 5 stars for his creator, Bernard Cornwell.
It has been far too long between books in this Saxon series for me. I have had an Uhtred drought. So I hungered for this read when I came to it. And I am pleased to admit that it gave me everything I wanted and missed.
If there are flaws in The Burning Land then I do not see them. That's not saying that there are none, but if there were, I failed to notice. I'll leave the flaws for others to p...more
Mike
I am sad to report I can only give this one 3 Stars...I really had high hopes for my return to the world of Uhtred of Bebbanburg and England of the late 9th Century.

The good points: 1) no one does a better battle scene than Cornwell and the battles here are pretty good; 2) Cornwell really paints a grim picture of life and it always seems accurate; 3) Cornwell skewers treacherous royalty and Christian priests with such skill (yet also portrays some as brave and likeable).

The bad: 1) Uhtred is pi...more
Graham
A great entry in the Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell. This is the fifth book and a return to the quality of the initial three after the slightly sub-standard SWORD SONG. This one's so great because it sees Uhtred finally breaking away from Alfred (hurrah!) and setting up power on his own.

Once again, the story is dominated with powerful descriptions of England's lands and peoples. Cornwell has great fun with a fictional villain - Harald Bloodhair, a man who lives up to his name before each batt...more
Kate Quinn
Alfred the Great, in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Stories, has a love for order, peace, and Christianity. He has always been dismayed by his reliance on Uhtred, a pagan warrior who represents everything Alfred hates, but a reluctant bond of need held them loyal to each other. That bond snaps in "The Burning Land," when Alfred's punishing zeal is finally too much and Uhtred abandons his cause. Grieving for the death of his beloved wife, he flees north with thoughts of re-taking the fortress of his bi...more
Nate
5 books into this series and I'm still not feeling any burnout, which is somewhat rare for me with a (relatively) long series like this one. All the stuff that I assume that Cornwell fans like is still here in spades; thorough research, vivid painting of the British landscape, memorable characters, and insane battle sequences. Seriously, I can't believe those poor people had to live through such brutal fighting. I've never been in any kind of combat situation, but I have to imagine that fighting...more
Steve
This is one of the best books in the Alfred/Saxon series (IMO), two others being The Last Kingdom and Sword Song. Lord Uhtred, raised a pagan warrior amongst the Viking Danes from the age of nine, has not had a boring life. In fact, although a mixture of what may be good and bad fates, he probably has never had a boring day!

But now Uhtred still serves the pious King Alfred, a sickly but sharp minded man, as Alfred's Lord of Battle. Though Alfred sees Uhtred as a dangerous, but useful, saxon who...more
Rusty
In the latest (5th) installment of The Saxon Chronicles Uhtred (once again) finds himself torn between his love for the Danes, and his allegiance to King Alfred. He experiences a reversal of fortunes, and must decide where his duty lies, and how best to go about taking Bebbanburg (sp). His enemies and allies include some colorful characters. Some are historical, and some were plucked from Cornwell’s vivid imagination, among them Harald Bloodhair, whose battle ritual involves eviscerating a horse...more
Chad
I'm really getting kind of tire of this series, maybe reading 5 of them in a row was a mistake. I really can't stand how fickle Uhtred is in this series. He can't pick a side or cause and remain loyal to it, instead he is constantly bouncing back and forth between serving the Danes or the Saxons.

And if I have to read the phrase "Fate is inexorable" one more time, I'm going to swear off Bernard Cornwell forever. Other than that it was an okay book.
Dawn
This is my least favorite of the Saxon series so far.
While Ragnar and Brida make an appearance and Edward is a good addition to the cast, Uhtred spends most of the book feeling sorry for himself and thinking about what to do instead of actually doing something.
It is still a great book and an even better series but I'm happy to move on.
Gui
This was so good. Uhtred is making Kings now and my love for him only grows.

5 very well-deserved stars.
Jim
The Vikings are nobody's idea of "the good guys." Therefore it's interesting to read something from the Norsemen's point of view, such as the great Icelandic sagas of the 13th century (especially Njals Saga, Grettir's Saga, and Egils Saga), Cecelia Holland's Two Ravens, and the splendid Saxon Tales of Bernard Cornwell, of which The Burning Land is -- at least at this time -- the latest addition.

Uhtred of Bebbanburg is an Anglo-Saxon lord who had been captured and raised by Viking raiders. As a r...more
N. Sasson
Bernard Cornwell delivers another action-packed treasure in The Burning Land, fifth installment in his paragon Saxon Tales, set in 9th century Britain. Once again, Uhtred of Bebbanburg rises to his reputation as King Alfred’s formidable warlord and snatches another great victory from the Danes, this time at Farnham. While his family grows and Gisela provides comforting familiarity, two other women – Aethelflaed,the fair daughter of Alfred, and raven-haired Skade, a cruel and enchanting Danish so...more
Jacqie
I always enjoy Bernard Cornwell. Whether he's writing about the Napoleanic wars, King Arthur, or this series, his Viking series, I can always expect a rip-roaring yarn with plenty of combat, political intrigue, and sly humor.
Burning Land contains all of these usual suspects. Uhtred still is fixated on getting back his ancestral home, Bamburg Castle, stolen by his treacherous uncle. Incidentally, Bamburg Castle is Cornwell's ancestral home as well, so the author has a personal attachment to this...more
Francis Gahren
The Burning Land is a novel based in the 9th century Anglo-Saxon kingdoms Wessex, Northumbria and Mercia. It is the fifth book in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales series, and starts where Sword Song left off.

Plot summary

The year is 892, when the second major campaign of Alfred the Great against the invading Danes began in earnest. The protagonist is Uhtred of Bebbanburg. A Saxon by birth, Uhtred was raised by Danes and finds their ways more congenial than those of his own people. Nevertheless, he...more
Michael
The only words Bernard Cornwell has ever written that I don't like are "The End." Cornwell is the absolute master of historical fiction, and his Saxon Stories--of which this is the fifth installment--are the literary equivalent of crack cocaine. The Saxon Stories chronicle the beginning of what we today call England: it's the Saxons against the Danes against the Mercians against the Norse against the...you get the idea. These are violent, bloody, fascinating stories which are incredible page tur...more
Mike
I love Bernard Cornwell's stuff. This book did not disappoint. It's the fifth installment in Cornwell's "Saxon Stories," chronicling the struggles of the nascent kingdoms of what would eventually become England against the Danes in the 10th century. Cornwell, with his usual verve and keen eye for historical detail, paints a vivid picture of the political and religious skullduggery navigated by Alfred the Great in his struggle to repel the Viking invaders and create a functional civil state, to u...more
Joyce Lagow
You just can't beat Cornwell in the historical fiction, blood-and-guts arena. This is the 5th book in The Saxon Tales, and it is every bit a good as the first ones if not better. By this time we know all about Uhtred of Babbenburg and what to expect; he does not fail us. The late 9th century England being what it was, there's plenty of conflict, treachery, and opportunity for battle. Arthur is dying, but he's not gone yet, and he still manipulates the pieces on the board.

There are two really fin...more
Bernie Charbonneau
WOW! I give the novel 4-41/2 stars but the "Saxon Series" is a solid 5 stars! This, the fifth book to be released by Mr. Cornwell in the epic tale of "England" is just as entertaining as the previous books. If you have any desire to read historical-fiction novels or a Bernard Cornwell series of books, then I strongly recommend spending a week or two hunkering down in your most comfortable place and crack open the first book and loss yourself in this early era of the forming of England. These nov...more
Pablos
“The Burning Land” to piąty tom cyklu na zachodzie zwanego Opowieściami o Saksonach, a u nas zupełnie odwrotnie: Wojnami Wikingów. Bernard Cornwell kontynuuje tu historię życia Uhtreda z Babbenburga, Pana Wojny, dzięki któremu Alfred zwany Wielkim położył podwaliny pod stworzenie państwa zwanego Anglią.

Akcja książki rozgrywa się kilka lat po wydarzeniach znanych z “Pieśni Miecza”. I podobnie jak w tej właśnie książce, i tutaj cała historia przedstawiona jest przy pomocy częstych wycieczek do dn...more
Linda
Mr. Cornwell has, again, written a great novel. Uhtred is still pulled between Ragnar, a Dane, and Albert, King of a large portion of land that would one day become England.

Mr. Cornwell rarely ever describes, details and sexes the reader to death. I like that in a writer. Throughout this Saxon series Mr. Cornwell has kept a good pace while giving the reader a plethora of good reading.

In the end, bees allowed Uhtred over the enemy. Bees. Honey bees.

Thank you, Mr. Cornwell.
Anthony
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jessie Jacobs
As always the series delivers with incredible violence and the genial revelry among the pagans. Christianity is portrayed in an incredibly unfavorable light. It makes me want to string Thor's hammer around my neck, die with a sword in my hand, and fight and feast in Odin's warriors hall for eternity. Simply put; I love every damn thing about this series.

Oh and there's the whole educational bit about English history. That's pretty awesome too.
Ron
Maybe it's just me, but this didn't have quite the "edge" of previous volumes of Cornwell's Wessex series. On the other hand, the history moved forward--as opposed to sideways.

A good story well told and, while I normally dislike series which run on forever, I understand that historical fiction recounting the rise of Wessex must necessarily involve several decades and some rousing battles and reverses.
Justin
I love the Saxon Chronicles, and I love Bernard Cornwell's writing. The world is so vivid. Uhtred is such a fantastic character, despite his many failings. Cornwell does an amazing job of getting us into the mind of a 9th century Saxon, and he's unapologetic about it. This is why I read historical fiction. I highly recommend this book, though you have to have a stomach for gore and violence.
Bruce Black
This is one of the better books in the series. The relationship between Æthelflæd and Uhtred grows. Æthelred, Æthelflæd's husband, is again presented as opportunistic, but unworthy of the power he wields. Historically, Æthelred's depiction may likely be inaccurate. Cornwell addresses this issue in his historical notes. Several new adversarial characters are introduced who each meet an appropriate end; in particular are Harald and Skade. Harald is a powerful Dane leading the unsuccessful conquest...more
Darkpool (protesting GR censorship)
Good solid stuff. This felt a bit shorter than Cornwell's usual, but all the usual characters turned up: a super-neat ship, the fates, Serpent-breath, and so forth. I shall be sorry when this series reaches an end, as it inevitably must.
Tasha
Another 5 star read from Cornwell. This whole series has been amazing. When I close my eyes I can just picture the details, the battles, the landscapes, the characters, everything. Cornwell is an amazing storyteller.
Mike Gottert
The latest book in Cornwell's Saxon series. If you've read any of the others there's not much to say - Vikings, shield walls, axes, death, Thor, dismemberment... A good time. I continue to enjoy the series.
Brian J.
This is the best book of the series so far. Cornwell does a fantastic job of getting Uhtred out from under an Alfred-only perspective in this book. Seeing the Danes again, going a-Viking again, these were all missing from recent entries in the series. It's also a good idea to torture your characters, and Uhtred suffers quite a bit of distress in this book. The conflicts here are not just those of the Danes vs. the Saxons, but internal to Uhtred's beliefs in his family and his faith.

The battle s...more
Charles Berteau
Review carried forward from Facebook wall.

Just finished the first five books (all of the books that are out in paperback so far) of the Saxon Chronicles, by Bernard Cornwell. They are light fare but I am a sucker for historical fiction and enjoyed them all. The books so far are set in the 9th century and are focused on Alfred the Great's defense of Wessex against the Danes and other Northmen. I had previously, years ago, enjoyed Cornwall's Arthurian series and so expected to enjoy these also - a...more
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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...
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1)

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“‎"He sang the song of the sword, keening as he fed his blade, and Rollo, standing thigh-deep in the creek, ax swinging in murderous blows, blocked the enemy's escape. The Frisians, transported from confidence to bowel-loosening fear, began to drop their weapons.” 2 likes
“The gods are capricious, and I was about to amuse them. And Alfred was right. I was a fool.” 0 likes
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