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The Last Kingdom #11

War of the Wolf

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Bernard Cornwell’s epic story of the making of England continues in this eleventh installment in the bestselling Saxon Tales series—"like Game of Thrones, but real" (The Observer)—the basis of the hit Netflix television series The Last Kingdom.

His blood is Saxon
His heart is Viking
His battleground is England

"Perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today" (Washington Post), Bernard Cornwell has dazzled and entertained readers and critics with his page-turning bestsellers. Of all his protagonists, however, none is as beloved as Uhtred of Bebbanburg.

And while Uhtred might have regained his family’s fortress, it seems that a peaceful life is not to be – as he is under threat from both an old enemy and a new foe. The old enemy comes from Wessex where a dynastic struggle will determine who will be the next king.  And the new foe is Sköll, a Norseman, whose ambition is to be King of Northumbria and who leads a frightening army of wolf-warriors, men who fight half-crazed in the belief that they are indeed wolves. Uhtred, believing he is cursed, must fend off one enemy while he tries to destroy the other. In this new chapter of the Saxon Tales series—a rousing adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love and battle, as seen through the eyes of a warrior straddling two worlds—Uhtred returns to fight once again for the destiny of England.

352 pages, ebook

First published October 2, 2018

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About the author

Bernard Cornwell

333 books16.1k followers
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 name, Cornwell.

Cornwell was sent away to Monkton Combe School, attended the University of London, and after graduating, worked as a teacher. He attempted to enlist in the British armed services at least three times but was rejected on the grounds of myopia.

He then joined BBC's Nationwide and was promoted to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland. He then joined Thames Television as editor of Thames News. He relocated to the United States in 1980 after marrying an American. Unable to get a green card, he started writing novels, as this did not require a work permit.

As a child, Cornwell loved the novels of C.S. Forester, chronicling the adventures of fictional British naval officer Horatio Hornblower during the Napoleonic Wars, and was surprised to find there were no such novels following Lord Wellington's campaign on land. Motivated by the need to support himself in the U.S. through writing, Cornwell decided to write such a series. He named his chief protagonist Richard Sharpe, a rifleman involved in most major battles of the Peninsular War.

Cornwell wanted to start the series with the Siege of Badajoz but decided instead to start with a couple of "warm-up" novels. These were Sharpe's Eagle and Sharpe's Gold, both published in 1981. Sharpe's Eagle was picked up by a publisher, and Cornwell got a three-book deal. He went on to tell the story of Badajoz in his third Sharpe novel, Sharpe's Company, published in 1982.

Cornwell and wife Judy co-wrote a series of novels, published under the pseudonym "Susannah Kells". These were A Crowning Mercy, published in 1983, Fallen Angels in 1984, and Coat of Arms (aka The Aristocrats) in 1986. (Cornwell's strict Protestant upbringing informed the background of A Crowning Mercy, which took place during the English Civil War.) In 1987, he also published Redcoat, an American Revolutionary War novel set in Philadelphia during its 1777 occupation by the British.

After publishing eight books in his ongoing Sharpe series, Cornwell was approached by a production company interested in adapting them for television. The producers asked him to write a prequel to give them a starting point to the series. They also requested that the story feature a large role for Spanish characters to secure co-funding from Spain. The result was Sharpe’s Rifles, published in 1987, and a series of Sharpe television films staring Sean Bean.

A series of contemporary thrillers with sailing as a background and common themes followed: Wildtrack published in 1988, Sea Lord (aka Killer's Wake) in 1989, Crackdown in 1990, Stormchild in 1991, and Scoundrel, a political thriller, in 1992.

In June 2006, Cornwell was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours List.

Cornwell's latest work, Azincourt, was released in the UK in October 2008. The protagonist is an archer who participates in the Battle of Agincourt, another devastating defeat suffered by the French in the Hundred Years War. However, Cornwell has stated that it will not be about Thomas of Hookton from The Grail Quest or any of his relatives.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 894 reviews
Profile Image for Petrik.
664 reviews41.2k followers
November 5, 2021
The beginning of the end started with a bang.

I’m not too sure what magic Cornwell used here. I’ve mentioned in my review of The Flame Bearer that Cornwell might be running out of ideas to prolong this series. I’ve even mentioned that the previous book should’ve been the final book of the series. Maybe it’s because we’re so near the end of the series now. Or maybe it’s really because this one was just so enthralling. But War of the Wolf, the eleventh book in The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell, is a return to form to what made the series great.

“When your grandfather was dying… he told me the crown of Wessex was a crown of thorns.”
“If it’s worth anything… it must be a crown of thorns.”

The story takes place after the previous book, and Uthred is now more than 60 years old. Similar to the previous books, there aren’t many things I can say regarding the plotline that’s not in the spoiler territory. Even the storytelling structure remains the same this long into the series. You know the drill; Uthred is called to protect someone or swear an oath against his will, then Uthred mocks self-righteous Christian priests, then a new enemy appeared, and then there’s a struggle with the new enemy, and finally, Uthred wins the day. It’s not even a spoiler to say this; this has been the pattern of each book in the series since the beginning of the series, and Cornwell retains this structure again here. But unlike some of the previous books, Cornwell did it so well here, just like the early books of the series.

“Christians like to dream of the perfect world, a place where there is no fighting, where sword-blades are hammered into plowshares, and where the lion, whatever that is, sleeps with the lamb. It is a dream. There has always been war and there will always be war. So long as one man wants another man’s wife, or another man’s land, or another man’s cattle, or another man’s silver, so long will there be war. And so long as one priest preaches that his god is the only god or the better god there will be war.”

One of the things that annoyed me so much about The Flame Bearer is the lack of appearance from pivotal side characters of the series. The Last Kingdom may be a series about Uthred and his role in the genesis of England, but to me, the series won’t be as good without Uthred’s interaction with important supporting characters of the series. I do understand that we’re near the end of the series now, and the majority of the characters we know from the first few books are either dead or too old to do anything, but still, they’re really part of the whole essence of the series for me. And speaking of a character’s death, I am not a fan of major characters being killed off-screen. Unfortunately and surprisingly, that’s a big part of the series; if you expect this to be similar to the TV series adaptation, you’ll be disappointed. For example, in War of the Wolf, two major characters were killed off, and their deaths felt incredibly anti-climactic. All that said, the appearance of two major supporting characters in Uthred’s life in this book was enough to enhance this book for me. Plus, I loved Uthred’s interaction with Aethelstan, and we get a lot of that here.

“I have fought many battles. I have stood in shield walls and heard the sound of axes biting willow boards, I have heard men howling, heard them screaming, I have heard the butcher’s sound of blades cleaving flesh, the heart-wrenching sound of grown men weeping for heir mothers’ comfort. I have heard the grating breath of the dying and the lament of the living, and in all those fights I have fought for one thing above all others. To take and to keep Bebbanburg.”

My issue with the way Cornwell kill off his characters aside, War of the Wolf is one of the finest installment in the entire series. Uthred’s dialogues and interactions with other characters were engaging, and Cornwell’s battle scenes remain great as always. War, valor, faith, reputation, family, life, and death are key themes of the entire series, and War of the Wolf has some of the best presentations of it. I have only two books left to read now. I am both sad and happy that I’m so near the end. I hope the next and last two books, Sword of Kings and War Lord, will be even better than this.

“War is bitter. The poets give battle a splendor, extolling the brave and exulting in victory, and bravery is worth their praise. Victory too, I suppose, but the poems, chanted in mead halls at night, give boys and young men their ambition to be warriors. Reputation! It is the one thing that outlives us. Men die, women die, all die, but reputation lives on like the echo of a song, and men crave reputation, as they crave the heavy arm rings that mark a warrior’s victories.

You can order the book from: Blackwells (Free International shipping)

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Profile Image for John Gwynne.
Author 25 books9,597 followers
October 19, 2018
Bernard Cornwell has done it again. Another gripping, page-turning read that I didn't want to put down, and I found my mind drifting back to the story during my day, which is always a sign that a book has done its job and gotten its hooks into me.
I'm liking old Uhtred so much - he doesn't suffer fools but has a streak of kindness that he tries hard to hide.
The mix of historical detail, heart-felt characterisation and edge of your seat battle scenes strike a perfect blend. Eleven books in and the momentum just keeps on building, I loved it and can't wait for book 12.
Profile Image for Thomas.
712 reviews172 followers
August 24, 2021
4 stars for another rousing historical fiction book by Bernard Cornwell. This is the 51st book that I have read by Cornwell and I enjoyed all of them. I recommend that you start this series with book 1, The Last Kingdom. It is the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. In this book, Uhtred faces a new enemy, Skoll, a Norseman, defeated by Celtic warriors in Ireland and now living in Northumbria. He kills one of Uhtred's family and Uhtred swears revenge. I think that Cornwell writes the best battle scenes of this period--about 9th to 10th century. They are so vivid that you can imagine yourself watching the battle in real life.
This series has been adapted into a miniseries, available on Amazon Prime, called The Last Kingdom. The miniseries is pretty faithful to the books.
One quote: Uhtred on god: "The men who fought for me worshipped a dozen gods and goddesses, The Christian god among them, but if a man believes the nonsense that there is only one god then there's no point in arguing because it would be like discussing a rainbow with a blind man."
I read this library book book in 5 days.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,062 reviews200 followers
October 17, 2018
It is hard to believe Uhtred is just as interesting in this 11th book of the series as he was in the first. Well, almost. One of my my favorite scenes in any book comes in the first book of the series when he and King Alfred and what we know as England now comes down to a fight in a marsh with the Vikings. One of the most truly captivating pieces of writing I have ever read. But I digress, Uhtred although aging has plenty of tricks up his sleeve and battles left to fight in this latest entry.

I really like how Cornwall has let him grow and mature and yet remain himself. He will never turn his back on Thor. He will always love Bebbanburg. He will always enjoy the company of women and never pass up a fight. Still he is aging and learning his limitations. In this book, he proves he is human and yet is still admired and feared.

There is a very sad death in this book and I appreciated in the author's notes on how he lamented the death but had to do it to make it match history. Darn, I hate it when facts get in the way of what I want to happen. I love how well researched these books are and how much I have learned just from reading them. Frankly I knew next to nothing about King Alfred until I read this series.

This was a pleasure to read but it presented a dilemma for me. Should I read it slowly and savor it or should I read it at the fast speed the writing demanded? Of course, I read it rapidly. I can't get enough. This can be read as a stand alone but why deprive yourself that way? You will miss so much if you don't start at the beginning and watch Uhtred evolve.

I had happy that Netflix is putting out Season 3 of the series. Maybe that will tide me over to the next book. I doubt it. If you have not read this series, do yourself a favor and get started.
Profile Image for Uhtred.
254 reviews11 followers
January 1, 2021
I waited almost 2 years for War of the Wolf to be released in Italian and I must say that, all in all, I was satisfied. However, this is the eleventh book in the saga of the Saxon Stories and it is perceived, in the sense that one begins to feel that Bernard Cornwell's inspirational vein is running out; the book has 416 pages, but only a hundred have the epic depth of the first 5 or 6 books of the saga. In this War of the Wolf, Uhtred is now 60 years old, but more than the aging of his body (which can be expected) what I didn't like is the aging of his spirit, as throughout the book we hear of sorcerers, shamans, prophecies and curses, and an Uhtred who believes in these things is not the Uhtred that I have known and liked, that is, the one who believed only in the Mijollnir around his neck and in the fact that Fate governs everything. In this book there is Snorri, the sorcerer of Skoll, and there is Ieremias, the mad fake bishop of Uhtred, and the two have more space than Uhtred's and Finan's fighting skills, and that disappointed me a little. However, the book recovers in the last 50 pages, which finally return to give some emotion related to the battles. I give 4 stars on trust, but I hope that the next book will make me find the ruthless and cheeky Uhtred that I know well. Bernard, I hope you have put more effort!
Profile Image for Rob.
511 reviews103 followers
September 2, 2020
Book 11 in The Last Kingdom series published 2018.

Eleven books into the trials and tribulations of Uhtred of Bebbanburg and its still as fresh and exciting as book one.
Uhtred, after years of fighting and planning revenge on his hated uncle is once again lord of his ancestral home, Bebbanberg.
It has been no easy road to for Uhtred to achieve his life’s ambition and I have fought by his side from day one.
He is no longer the dashing hero of yesteryear but is now an old man in his sixties.
Be that as it may but when a Norse chieftain gathers a formidable army with the intention of taking Bebbanburg and calling himself ‘King of Northumbria’ Uhtred is the first to gather his horse, shield and sword in preparation for war.
And if this is not enough to contend with, King Edward, the late King Alfred’s son and the now would be king of all England, is nearing his death. This situation has Edward’s family at each others throats and when the kingdom is indulging in a deal of blood letting who you gonna call? Uhtred of Bebbanburg of course. So the poor buggers got a lot on his plate.
Before the end there will be a lot of pain and suffering on both side in this war of greed and pride.

This is yet another great addition to the Uhtred saga.

Highly recommended 4 star read.
Profile Image for Andy.
415 reviews67 followers
January 12, 2019
We’re upto book 11 in the series AND this time we also get an age for Uhtred, (we’re always told he’s “old” in the prior few books) he’s 60! He’s also still in the saddle & fighting at the head of his men. As I always say when I settle down to read ANOTHER book in the series..... I think this series needs to wrap up soon? I think i started saying that back at book 9?

It’s in 3 parts

I had three goes at this review having changed it after reading part 2 & then again after part 3.
Some outlay of the first part.... we start in Northumberland with Uhtred en route to the siege in Chester where rebellion has broken out amongst the men of Mercia which has led/involved action by Wessex. We have mercenaries (of the welsh variety) & we learn that the Norse have been kicked out of Ireland & settle on the land North of the Merse (Mersey), all re-laid to the reader in the opening pages so its no big reveal. The church (as usual) plays a role in the story as does Alfred’s grandson Athelstan who is now a man & a warlord in his own right. Most of the first part is a monologue; it seems for pages on end at some points before another character is involved.

I really did not enjoy the first part & if it was another book in a series I may well have thrown it in......

The second part sees Uhtred on a mission, there’s more action to the story & more importantly interaction with other characters. There is politicking & scheming aplenty, its a different paced story entirely than the first part of the book which at times was tedious....... To talk of the “mission” would spoil but it’s far livelier after the half way point & I’m warming to the tale.

The final part, as expected, is rip roaring.....? Well actually no, we go back to tedium & monologue in places before the final climax & big battle. Perhaps Uhtred is acting the part of a tired old man & it’s all deliberate in it’s style?

What do I think of it all then?

Originally I had included - A touch too much formulaic for me, a new priest/monk as an enemy, a new foe to be defeated, his home under threat, old adversaries to fight......... nothing really new leapt out & grabbed me.... ok a MC dies but really that’s jus yer lot when it comes to revelations. If you love the series I’m sure you’ll find no fault with it & jus smack those 5 stars against it...... if like me yer expecting summit a little more then you’ll be disappointed. The prior book would have made a good finality but I can see that the creation of a united England will be the end point, I can only hope that comes in the next book.

At journey’s end, the middle 1/3rd of the book & the change in pace of the story with the additional politicking plot has saved it & actually that part was one of the better reads in the series, however it was a slog to get to that point in the first 1/3rd which smacked of “cash cow” if ever i saw it, although some may say it was setting up for the long game..... to be fair I’d ere to the later conclusion. As to the final third, well again at times it was a bit of a slog as you wind yer way to the inevitable final battle (which you always get in these books) which seemed rushed & left me feeling non-plussed come the end.....

Middle 3’s for me rounded down a 3 stars for a run of the mill read as it petered out in the final third
Profile Image for David Rubenstein.
801 reviews2,521 followers
June 23, 2019
This is the last book in The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. In this episode, Uhtred is an old man, but still a warrior at heart. It is an interesting story, where sorcerers take the center stage. Of course, the sorcerers do not have magical powers, but many people living in that age do not know that. So, when they cast a spell, some people believe in that spell and act accordingly, themselves bringing about the predicted doom. And in this story, there is a pagan sorcerer as well as a Christian priest sorcerer, who is a bit crazy--and lovable--but well intentioned. Uhtred sees through the magic as just poppycock, but many of his men--pagans and Christians alike--are strongly affected by the sorcery.

In each of the previous books, Uhtred comes up with a clever plan to overcome his adversaries. In this book, he does not conceive of a good plan, and his adversaries look overwhelmingly strong in a fortified position. So, the book cleverly held me in suspense. Will Uhtred come out of this battle alive? He cannot retreat--that would mean a slaughter. He cannot go forward; the unscalable walls have battle-hardened enemies on the ramparts. The ending--I won't spoil the ending here, I just want to emphasize that Bernard Cornwell really knows how to keep his readers in suspense.

As with the other books in this series, I listened to the audiobook, narrated by Matt Bates. He is such an excellent reader, his voice helping to bring the story to life.
Profile Image for William Gwynne.
344 reviews1,334 followers
July 12, 2022
After having a break for a good few months, I returned to Uhtred son of Uhtred, and dived back into the tumultuous land of England as Saxon and Dane still toil to gain dominion over the other. Uhtred is becoming an older man, and this offers a whole new type of story, which keeps the series fresh.

For me this was a return to the heights of the series. Some of the books have been quite repetitive, but War of the Wolf offered something fresh and exciting, with events the change the whole course of the books to come, and even more growth for our central characters in emotionally engaging and entertaining ways.

Full Review to Come
Profile Image for Bill.
893 reviews160 followers
October 14, 2018
Bernard Cornwell's eleventh entry in his Saxon/Last Kingdom series brings us a wealth of new characters & some old favourites too.
Uhtred of Bebbanburg is now over sixty years old, which even he admits isn't old-it's ancient. However, he is still a commanding figure & is supported by many loyal allies. Cornwell keeps the perfect balance (as always) between tragedy, comedy, action, plotting & decent characterisation. Of course Cornwell's Uhtred novels cannot go on forever. After all wyrd bio ful araed.
Profile Image for Donna.
3,880 reviews7 followers
October 7, 2018
This is the 11th book in the Saxon Stories series by Bernard Cornwell. I LOVE THIS SERIES. It really is in my top 5 of favorite series'. Uhtred is a dynamic character. He is getting up there in age, and physically he is starting to slow down, but his mind is what is getting him out of trouble. (Usually it is getting him into trouble.) Reading this one, makes me want to binge-watch the series on Netflix yet again. I just can't get enough. So 5 whole stars for this one.
Profile Image for HBalikov.
1,715 reviews638 followers
January 3, 2019
Warning: If you haven’t read The Flame Bearer read no further. Start with The Last Kingdom.

“Wyrd bið ful aræd”

This is a brutal book. Not a surprise for those of us who have followed these chronicles of Uhtred of Bebbanburg and the period in which the Saxons were able to repel the Norse and Danes and forge the beginning of England. But, even at this late date, that goal was still up for grabs and this book makes it clear that there was no peace in the land from the border with Scotland down to the English Channel.
“…They raid us, we raid them.”
“For cattle?”
“For cattle, sheep, slaves, for anything we can eat or sell…”
“You live well here,” I said.
“Few know we’re here. We keep to ourselves.”
“Except when you raid?”

That guy who wrote Game of Thrones, George R.R. Martin, says: “Bernard Cornwell does the best battle scenes of any writer I’ve ever read, past or present.” I can’t quarrel with that, but I will add that Cornwell does not write fantasy; he writes historical fiction. He helps dry historical names and dates become real for us. History is people making choices and doing things. There are few authors that have been able to convey the feeling of that better than he does.

Cornwell has his protagonist observe: "The gods are not kind to us, any more than children are kind to their toys. We are here to amuse the gods, and at times it amuses them to be unkind....Perhaps my conviction that I was cursed was false, but there were not birds in the winter sky, and that omen told me I was the plaything of cruel gods."

Uhtred finds himself more than once at the wrong place, and at the wrong time. This is what engenders his thoughts of being cursed by the gods (those being the Norse gods).

It isn’t just Uhtred who finds himself in a tight spot. His son-in-law, Sigtryggr, is King of Northumbria. [For those not familiar with this Kingdom, it was one of the four eventually melded into England. At this time, it is the only remaining non-Christian kingdom of any significance on the Island that now contains England, Scotland and Wales.] “If I fight Thurferth and his followers,” Sigtryggr went on, “I’m fighting King Edward. And I’ll get no help from the west, will I?” He meant Cumbraland, which was supposedly a part of Northumbria.
“No help,” I agreed.
“And meantime that bastard Constantin would love to take Bebbanburg’s land and make it Scottish. So,” he struck his fingers one by one, counting his enemies, “I have the Scots to the north, my fellow Norsemen to the west, and Saxons to the south, and fewer than two thousand men to fight them all. And that is why I’m here…being humiliated,” he added bitterly…”

“Eadgyth, Edward, Eadgifu, Aethelstan, Aefweard, and Aethelhelm made a tangle of love, loyalties, and hate, mostly hate, and that was difficult. The only thing that was simple was war. And Sigtyggr and I were going to war.”

Lest you think that this novel is simply plot-driven, Cornwell takes time to give us a full sense of daily life whether in town or in a steading. You will learn: what foods are available; how things are stored; the way one traveled; the elements of clothing and battle armor; etc. There are plenty of familiar characters including Uhtred’s “right hand,” Finan (who can tell Uhtred the truths he doesn’t want to hear) and Prince Aethelstan (who as a youngster was saved and protected by Uhtred). Those who have read the series will delight in the fact that Mus and Osferth reappear.

“Wyrd bið ful aræd” means “Fate remains wholly inexorable” and that is what Cornwell has chosen as his underlying theme for this book. Good news for fans of the series. From what the author has posted we can expect at least another two books in this series.
Profile Image for Scott  Hitchcock.
779 reviews221 followers
November 2, 2018
Maybe it's just because I hadn't read and Uhtred in a while but that was the best in some time. I thought book 10 was the perfect place to end it and had lamented the continuation of the series being more about not killing the cash cow. This book made it worth being wrong.
Profile Image for Sarah.
604 reviews145 followers
October 12, 2019
I had put off reading this book, scared the Saxon Stories were finally going to be over, but with another book scheduled for release it felt like it was finally time to put my fears aside.

I read a handful of other reviews on GoodReads when I finished, and multiple times I saw this series accused of being formulaic, and perhaps it is, but I'm not one to mind formulaic when the formula works.  What I love about these books is the characters.  This late in the game I do find myself missing some of the older characters, Alfred, Brida, Ragnar... and Aethelflaed, but aside from being Uhtred's story, this is really the story about the making of England, and in a story that epic the characters will inevitably change.

Uhtred is in his 60s for this book.  He's more cautious, superstitious, he's less impulsive, less confident, anger doesn't control him the way it used to.  I found myself missing some of his other qualities as a younger man, but his wit is still fully intact and there were several parts of this book that made me laugh out loud.

I found myself tripped up again and again by the names.  Specifically the Aethelhelms, Older and Younger, (or was it the Aethelweards? seriously I can't remember).  Then there seems to be a whole slew of other Aethel-somethings..  sigh.  I remember Svein of the White Horse and Ubbe Lothbrok, and the Ivars and Haesten and Odda... I can't remember where the heck the Aethelhelms came in.

Anyway- this book actually felt less formulaic than the previous 10.  I think it had a lot to do with Uhtred's character development, but also, this is the weakest he has ever been physically.  His victory in this book never feels guaranteed.  There are no last minute, evil genius save-the-day plans (like bee-bombs, although there is a hysterical smiting).  A looming dread blankets the whole book, from beginning to end.

The other elements of a Saxon Story are all there: the fun action scenes, the witty comebacks, the general disdain towards Christianity from Uhtred.  Most of all - the laughs.  It's what generally what keeps me coming back, so I'll end this review with a little pagan humor:

"You've got dirt on your forehead," I said, "so has he," I pointed to the other priest.
"Because it's Good Friday, lord.  The day our Lord died."
"Is that why they call it good?"
Profile Image for Lucia.
733 reviews798 followers
November 21, 2018
Another very enjoyable read by Bernard Cornwell. I love Uhtred's military strategic thinking!

Let me share with you at least some major points to explain my reasons for loving this series so much:

* Astonishing storytelling skills. Bernard Cornwell brought 9th and 10th century England alive for me.

* Unforgettable narrator. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is unapologetic and ruthless yet lovable and admiration worthy character with brilliant military strategic mind. He is a true hero!

* Complex and fascinating side characters that you will love to come back to.

* Constant philosophical battle between paganism and Christianity that depicts given period precisely.

* Well thought-out storyline and twists.

* War and fight scenes are chillingly realistic. I really felt like I was there with Uhtred, fighting every new enemy or being part of countless shield wars.

All in all, The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories series (all 11 available books) is spectacular story with spectacular writing. It is one of the best historical fiction stories I have ever read and it is the perfect example of how to write engaging historical fiction series that never get boring or predictable!
Profile Image for Markus.
470 reviews1,519 followers
March 12, 2021
Uhtred, despite his return to old stomping grounds, is more lost than ever.

The themes of War of the Wolf are in many ways beautiful. Here is an old and weathered warrior whose family and friends are mostly all gone with the wind. His old enemies, once legends of the sword threatening the very existence of the places and people we readers have come to know and love, are distant memories from days of yonder. When Uhtred's internal monologue considers his father, his brother, his wife, his children, his mentor, the kings who made him and who he made, his brothers-in-arms from countless battles, and now even the lost keeper of the oath who shaped him, the thoughts are simply glimpses of something that once was, and is no more.

Nor does the book lack fantastic detail. The saga scholar in me is overjoyed at the inclusion of Egill Skallagrimsson, who I had entirely forgotten would probably match up with Uhtred's timeline.

Then on the other hand, the contents of War of the Wolf are familiar, evocative and unfortunately somewhat stale. Northumbria is under threat. The kings of Wessex struggle to hold together Alfred's dream of England. New Vikings show up to ravage the land. The hero loses something important and requires vengeance. It is more of the same, and of course it's fun reading despite the advanced years of our protagonist, but it does not carry the same thrill as it once did.

After the waywards masterpiece that was The Flame Bearer, perhaps the best book in the series since the first three, War of the Wolf is the next-day hangover. The previous instalment was a nostalgic return to the glory days while still recognising the limitations of our aging warlord. But now, the picture becomes clearer. Uhtred is weakening, his motivations and wishes losing their old sharp edges, and it makes me anxious for the end.
Profile Image for Brittany.
844 reviews111 followers
April 17, 2022
5 Stars ✨

“War is bitter. The poets give battle a splendor, extolling the brave and exulting in victory, and bravery is worth their praise. Victory too, I suppose, but the poems, chanted in mead halls at night, give boys and young men their ambition to be warriors. Reputation! It is the one thing that outlives us. Men die, women die, all die, but reputation lives on like the echo of a song, and men crave reputation”

I’m honestly so impressed. I didn’t have a clue how Cornwell would follow the last book The Flame Bearer but The War of the Wolf was one of the best in the series. But like how?! What sorcery is this?? He did not disappoint. This felt like the beginning almost again in a new way and was very character driven.

The battles were epic especially the last one. It was touch and go there for a minute and had me on the edge of my seat wishing I could grab a sword and dive in. Ieremias was a hoot , such a weird and quirky character. My heart also broke at one point … but I’ll just leave it at that.

I don’t know how Uthred is still crushing at 60 something years old, but he’s an absolute LEGEND and one of my favorite characters of all time, and Finan of course. 11 down 2 more to go ! I’m going to have the worst book hangover .

Destiny is ALL! ⚔️🛡
Profile Image for Rachael.
143 reviews88 followers
April 19, 2022
“Be ready for everything and you will still be surprised.”

Thanks for ripping my heart out… yet again, Bernard Cornwell.

But also, don’t threaten me with a good time.😏

“We'll all be Pagan's together, sacrificing
virgins at midnight" as Uhtred growls at a young priest. His humor just gets better with age!

From the warfare, battle scenes, revenge, Norse mythology, and STILL amazing character development (11 books in), this has to be one of my favorite series of all time.
Profile Image for Paul.
77 reviews42 followers
December 28, 2020
Loved it! I don't read voraciously like some folks, and I don't read fast. So two weeks to finish a novel, for me, is pretty quick.
Bernard CornwellBernard Cornwell engages me, and keeps me engaged, from start to finish in this series. War of the Wolf was no exception.
Already 150 pages into the next one.
Profile Image for Fiona.
818 reviews429 followers
December 21, 2019
It’s tragic. I would never have believed I would fall out of love with Uhtred. War of the Wolf, 11th in the series, has been half read for months now. I keep going back to it and trying to get back into it but I just can’t. I’ve been waiting for Uhtred to die for the last couple of books in the series but he’s still going strong. Now that yet another book has been published, I’ve decided to throw in the towel. Has Cornwell wrung this series dry? In my opinion yes, he has. Others will still be loving it. Lucky them.
Profile Image for Mark.
409 reviews65 followers
October 13, 2018
The best Uhtred book in a dog's age! I've lately been disappointed in Uhtred books but this one redeems the last few. Cornwell gets back to basics in this book telling a Uhtred tale with all of its Saxony goodness.

Profile Image for Vagner Stefanello.
119 reviews77 followers
August 31, 2019
Acho que esse é o melhor dos livros da série desde o 7º, que pra mim é o melhor dos já lançados. Lida bastante com a transição depois da morte da nossa Senhora da Mércia e como os reinos se movimentam a partir disso. Ansioso pelo próximo!
Profile Image for Hillary.
88 reviews40 followers
November 26, 2018
I love this book so much i wish that i could give it more than 5 stars . i can't wait to read the next book in the series when he writes it . i thought uhtred was going to die in the battle with king skoll but of course he can't die yet .because i want to keep reading about him in the next book . i love bernard cornwell writing style because he gives so much detail to the story. that it makes you feel you living the storyline with uhtred eyes. that is why i love this series so much . i will be sad when he ever stops writing this book series .
Profile Image for Javir11.
520 reviews155 followers
August 29, 2021

Después de un par de libros flojos en esta saga, ya iba tocando uno que volviera a recuperar el espíritu de los primeros. Eso, o que ya hacía un par de años que no leía ninguno y puede ser que sea el motivo por el que me ha gustado más que sus predecesores.

A su favor, pues lo de siempre en las novelas de Cornwell, mucha acción, buenos personajes y una narración fluida en la que siempre pasa algo.

En su contra, pues lo ya comentado sobre Uthred y su supermanismo, aunque es cierto que ahora que es mayor, el autor intenta que nuestro héroe no resuelva todo a mamporros, o al menos no sea siempre el protagonista principal de los mamporros, aunque le sigue costando conseguirlo.

Muchas ganas de seguir con la saga.
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