Graham's Reviews > The Pale Horseman

The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell
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Oct 01, 09

bookshelves: anglo-saxon, historical, viking, war, favourites
Read in September, 2009, read count: 2

This follow-up to THE LAST KINGDOM is another tremendous novel by Bernard Cornwell and another of my all-time favourites. As usual it starts off small, re-introducing the reader to violent protagonist Uhtred and his life, before throwing both him and his Saxon allies into the deep end with a crushing Viking invasion. What follows is almost a story of guerrilla warfare as Uhtred and Alfred fight back from the confines of a swamp against their oppressors.

I think I liked this one so much because I enjoy the detail of small-scale action. I'd rather follow skirmishes than the somewhat overwhelming massive battles that Cornwell tends to close his books with. Saying that, this does finish with a humdinger of a fight that captures the ferocity of battle perhaps better than any other book I've read yeat.

Cornwell's prose is typically engaging and his characters well formed and unique. It's the only Cornwell book I've ever been in tears during and in addition Iseult is my favourite of his love interests, a pale, fragile and spellbinding beauty. The action is grittier and more violent than ever which suits this brutal period perfectly. I followed this book up by reading WARRIOR OF ROME, but there's no comparison. Where the author of that work lumps in a ton of unnecessary description that slows the story down to a snail's pace, as usual Cornwell is pacy, engaging and overall brilliant.

Here's to THE LORDS OF THE NORTH!
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