Read Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell Online


"Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction....This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred's adventures." -USA TodayThe year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispos"Bernard Cornwell ranks as the current alpha male of testoterone-enriched historical fiction....This satisfying tale leaves you hungry for more of Uhtred's adventures." -USA TodayThe year is 885, and England is at peace, divided between the Danish Kingdom to the north and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex in the south. Warrior by instinct and Viking by nature, Uhtred, the dispossessed son of Northumbrian lord, has land, a wife and children-and a duty to King Alfred to hold the frontier on the Thames. But a dead man has risen, and new Vikings have invaded the decayed Roman city of London with dreams of conquering Wessex...with Uhtred's help. Suddenly forced to weigh his oath to the king against the dangerous turning side of shifting allegiances and deadly power struggles, Uhtred-Alfred's sharpest sword-must now make the choice that will determine England's future....

Title : Sword Song
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007219711
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 318 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Sword Song Reviews

  • Bookdragon Sean
    2019-01-21 01:22

    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 long shadow on the filth-strewn street. I was a warlord in all my glory, I had come to kill, and no one at the gate knew it." This book opens with a gory hanging that is just another necessity of war. Uhtred has learnt that a man must be brutal if his enemies are to fear him; he has learnt that in order to maintain his warrior reputation he must be merciless. Men must fear him or his reputation as a dangerous foe wouldn’t exist. The fear is part of his persona; it is part of his character, and a necessary facet of being a successful general. If his enemies can’t predict his actions or understand the way he conducts his business, then half of the job is done before Uhtred has even drawn his sword. He’s already won. It took Uhtred a while to catch on, through serving Alfred he will never receive the deserved glory for the services he has rendered to him. The king is thankless and views Uhtred’s success on the battlefield in a different light. He can never fully trust him or allow him too much power. He fears that his dog may turn round and bite him, which is a shame because for all Uhtred’s savagery he still possesses a degree of honour and loyalty. He quite easily could have been Alfred’s man if he, in turn, treated him with respect. The king has ordered him to be an advisor to his cousin, which means Uhtred will do all the thinking, and all the killing, whilst his weak cousin will get all the rewards. Such is the life of Uhtred. The familiarity of these novels really gives the series a sense of cohesion. When you pick up the next instalment, there is absolutely no doubt as to what you are going to get: more Uhtred. You’re going to get another chapter of his life; you’re going to get the next stage of his development; you’re going to see the narrative change as he comes closer and closer to the retrospective Uhtred that is telling the tale. Uhtred must bide his time in service to Alfred because one day he will be able to reclaim his family home by himself. It’s only a matter of time.The Saxon Stories 1. The Last Kingdom- A fine five stars2. The Pale Horsman- A brilliant five stars3.Lords of the North-A vengeful four stars4.Sword Song- A familiar four stars5.The Burning Land- A loyal five stars6. Death of Kings A mighty five starsI don’t think I’ll ever get tired of reading this series; I could read twenty books on this character. You’re more than likely to get tired of seeing my reviews of the Saxon Stories before I get tired of reading the series. It will be interesting to see how it all ends.

  • Athena Shardbearer
    2019-01-28 20:12

    "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. These warriors are warriors, I want to get up and fight and drink with them! This book was much slower than the last three and I think it has a lot to do with Uhtred growing up....a little. I hate Aethelred, love Aethelflead, Gisela and Alfred is growing on me. I guess I can see reason now with him and all he does.I feel like if I say anymore I will give away more than I want to. There are so many things that have happened that now I think I'm with the Saxons....WHAT...NOT THE VIKINGS????? I know?! But it makes sense...right? I can't wait to get into the next book.

  • ScottHitchcock
    2019-01-23 20:32

    As good as book one of the series. I really like the story line and villains in this one.

  • Lucia
    2019-01-25 20:11

    „Wyrd bið ful ãræd.“ – „Fate is inexorable.“I had a super long review written for this series but I deleted the document accidentally so 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 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 10 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!Moreover, I loved author’s note at the end of every book where author explained which parts were based on historical facts and which parts of his novel he made up. RECOMMENDED!

  • Nate
    2019-02-11 00:25

    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 brutal murder of a defenseless person. Either he's getting soft in his old age of twenty-eight or that spark of developing character I saw in the other books is slowly coming to fruition. Either way it definitely makes me like him a lot more and thusly I get a lot more invested in his story and ultimate fate.Cornwell's writing still surprises me with not only its vivid depiction of day-to-day life and war in 10th century Britain but its devotion to describing the beauty and detail of the island. I never thought that I would enjoy in-depth descriptions of estuaries and inlets and that kind of thing but I definitely did while reading this book. He obviously has a strong affection for Britain and it shows with these books.After four books in a row I'm still enjoying them a lot and I'm excited to start the next one but I have to say I'm not sure how Cornwell's going to keep them so entertaining. I enjoy his formula but only because he manages to mix up the situations, characters, areas, etc. within that formula. With each passing book I'm sure this is going to get harder and harder, but he hasn't let me down yet. Onto the next one and I'll see how he pulls it off.

  • Rob
    2019-02-06 18:36

    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 ReviewI'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 much happens in so few pages though. I love to see just what crazy thing Uhtred might do next in his quest for glory.However it's not just Uthred that endears this series to me. He's once again surrounded by a great supporting cast of characters. Some I love, some I hate, and then there is Alfred who I love to hate. I've always disliked Alfred, but after this book he became a total piece of shit. I won't say why, but if you read this book and don't agree with that, I'll be shocked.For a "brutish" warrior, Uthred shows a lot more heart and compassion for people in his life than the pious and cunning Alfred, the man who would be king of all England. It makes for a great contrast.I'm already looking forward to the next book in this series. It's going far too quick for my liking though. Before I know it, I'll be out of books to read, and then what will I do? (Well probably read another of the 100 or so unread books I already own, but that's besides the point).

  • Terri
    2019-01-30 22:15

    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! is too strong..let's go, 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, but it is kind of against my grain to say anything negative about the Saxon series, however (yes, there is a however), I have never been scared of going against the grain, so let's rush on.I have read another reviewer of this series on goodreads who mentions the anti-Christian sentiment that Bernard Cornwell imparts upon Uhtred's tale. I didn't really feel it most strongly until this book and it was actually so unpleasant in Swordsong that I found myself loathing characters too much. As a reader, this puts you on dangerous ground...or should I say it puts the writer on 'a slippery slope'? If a writer makes his characters too abhorrent, it is certainly a slippery slope and they will lose favour with his or her readers. In Cornwell's case, he creates a plethora of abhorrent characters and then flogs you over the head with them for page after page. Most of these loathsome characters are religious zealots, monks, priests and overtly religious, annoying, incompetent, asinine nobles and rulers. Alfred is painful to read about, but he always has been. Now you have his new son in law who is ten times more excruciating to read about. Add in every unsavoury, slimy, irritating religious character that has ever appeared individually in the Saxon series to date, and you have yourself a big pot of steaming, religious zealot stew served up over 400 or so pages. Mmmmmmmm......a tempting concoction? No, I don't think so.Usually, these loathsome creatures take a backseat position in the Saxon series and while they do annoy me in all the other books, it is because of that backseat position and a limited presence, that I have been able to tolerate them and still love the books. This time, ah, not so much.But hateful characters were not my only problem with Swordsong (I wish that it were the only one).Uhtred has become a subdued, old married man with kids. I miss the old Uhtred and hope for him to return in The Burning Land. I like the character written in as his wife, but having him find love and marriage and kids has also resulted in Uhtred becoming a respectable, dull husband and father.Now, after reading back through my review here so far, I hear you wondering about what it is I exactly I liked about Swordsong, after all, did I not say I had a 'like' -dislike relationship with it?And I did not lie, I did like half of this book also. The last half. More of the trademark brutality, more of the Danes and Uhtred's interaction with them. And he always interacts well with the Danes.Uhtred gets out from underneath the skirts of his wife, and the skirts of Alfred's robes, and remembers that he is a warrior capable of great warrior things. That is the Uhtred I love to read about.Still, despite liking the last half of this book, I didn't love it enough to go straight into The Burning Land. I had to have a break from these horrid, hateful characters that make my skin crawl.I decided to read Julian Rathbone's The Last English King instead. Once I have finished this, and distanced myself from the Saxon series for a spell, then I might be better prepared for dealing with Bernard's more repugnant characters.

  • Vagner Stefanello
    2019-01-20 22:14

    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 Wessex."... E enquanto houver um reino nesta ilha varrida pelo vento, haverá guerra. Portanto não podemos nos encolher para longe da guerra. Não podemos nos esconder de sua crueldade, de seu sangue, do fedor, da malignidade ou do júbilo, porque a guerra virá para nós, desejemos ou não. Guerra é destino, e o destino é inexorável."Qual é o poder de um juramento? Antigamente, um homem que quebrasse um juramento era visto como um traidor da pior espécie, pois a vida é feita de juramentos, ainda mais com guerreiros como Uhtred, que agora tem 2 filhos e um juramento a Alfredo. Como vocês já viram nos outros livros, nenhuma fortaleza (cidade) é impossível de ser tomada, e dessa vez Uhtred terá que se desdobrar em dois para livar a cidade do controle dinamarquês."... 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."Confesso que estou chegando ao ponto de considerar As Crônicas Saxônicas a melhor série que eu já li em toda a minha vida. Os livros são ótimos e só melhoram conforme o tempo passa. Dessa vez, a revisão do texto foi mais minuciosa e eu encontrei bem menos erros de ortografia do que nos anteriores. Era muito comum achar uma letra faltando, uma palavra meio apagada, mas agora a revisão está praticamente impecável.No 4º livro da série, encontramos até mesmo uma pitada de romance entre dois jovens apaixonados, mas não irei contar quem são eles para vocês ficarem com aquela imensa vontade de saber mais. Também não posso esquecer de falar que, a partir desse livro, Alfredo tem em mente a criação de um novo reino: a Inglaterra que conhecemos hoje."... Um país é a sua história, bispo; a soma de todas as suas histórias. Somos o que nossos pais fizeram de nós, suas vitórias nos deram o que temos."Pontos fortes: aah, a guerra. O autor conseguiu me transportar para o campo de batalha como nenhum outro jamais fez. É de se arrepiar...Pontos fracos:não gosta de batalhas? Não gosta de reviravoltas? Então fique longe de Bernard Cornwell e Uhtred, pois você verá muito sangue e, principalmente, palavrões.

  • Graham Crawford
    2019-01-31 17:29

    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 feel the need to modernize their protagonists - all those perky girls who ride astride and hate embroidery, all the bleeding heart liberal heroes who fret over slavery and violence and all the other nasty period habits modern readers find unpalatable. Those sort of books might be populated by nicer folk, but they don't ring true. Uhtred feels like a real Saxon, and though I am fond of him - if I was on fire, he wouldn't piss on me to put it out - He'd probably throw another faggot on and warm his mead.Alfred is probably closest to our modern sensibilities, well maybe a evangelical Christian from the Bible Belt - and seeing him through Uhtred's eyes makes the king much more entertaining as a character. There is a layering & an irony of narrative that makes these books much more complex than they appear.The language is simple, though it does have the rhythm and stress of Anglo Saxon poetry - thankfully without the alliteration, but there are quite complex historical themes at work. Of particular interest in this book is the role of the oath and how Alfred uses this to slowly bind people to him and his notion of an emerging England. The oath of fealty was to become the cornerstone of Feudal control in the Medieval period, and it is fascinating to see the evolution of this type of government through the eyes of a warrior of the old school. You really get a sense of how manipulative Alfred must have been. No matter how hard Uhtred wriggles, he can't escape Alfred's hook - any more than he can escape his Fate.

  • Arnis
    2019-01-19 20:18

  • Steve
    2019-02-11 21:26

    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) his pious beliefs and surrounding himself with some dubious priests. But, Alfred needs warriors, he needs armies, he needs a Warlord that men will follow because he fights at their side and slaughters his enemies. It turns out that Lord Uhtred, a saxon born Lord, raised by the very pagans that Alfred needs destroyed, is the only man for the task. But, someone who is so renowned as a battle lord who also has a Lord's rights to land in the north of England, needs to be kept on a short leash. And Lord Uhtred, although loyal, is not a man to be tethered or dictated to. Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a brilliant character, well written and certainly well thought out. This book, and the Saxon series as a whole, has no shortage of really well written characters. Diversity, amnity, and alliegence are done with skill in the main and supporting characters. The real bonding between Lord Uhtred and Lady AEthelflaed (King Alfred's daughter, married to a cowardly, abusive ass) is just starting to bloom in this book. Uhtred's old adversary Jarl Haesten is a slimey piece of work. And the two brothers Jarl's Sigefrid and Erik couldn't be much more diverse. Jarl Erik actually comes across as a decent man. There is a point, after one of the battles where Erik and his brother are retreating, where Erik asks who leads. One of Uhtred's friends, the warrior priest, Pyrlig, points out that Lord AEthelred (the abusive husband to King Alfred's daughter) commands, and Lord Uhtred disobeys. Lord Uhtred then gives Jarl Erik, and his men, their freedom. There is so much more to this book. And I believe it to be one of the best three in the Saxon series, so far. I await the next ;)

  • Laura
    2019-01-17 17:16

    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 que en el momento que se enfrenten a Ragnar, si es que lo hacen, desearé que pierdan los sajones.Y Uthred, me da miedo cuando tenga que decidir entre la cabeza y el corazón.

  • Suzanne
    2019-01-22 00:36

    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
    2019-02-17 00:36

    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 chose, or fate chose, and I chose friendship. Pyrlig was my friend."Uhtred on Father Beocca:"He had a club foot, a squint, and a palsied left hand. He was blind in his wandering eye that had gone as white as his hair, for he was now nearly fifty years old. Children jeered at him in the streets and some folk made the sign of the cross, believing that ugliness was a mark of the devil, but he was as good a Christian as any I have ever known."Funny repartees involving Uhtred and Beocca..."Too many people were talking in the church!" Beocca complained. "This was a holy day, Uhtred, a sacred day, a celebration of the sacrament, and people were talking as if they were at market!""I was one of them," I (Uhtred) said."You were?" he asked, squinting up at me. "Well, you shouldn't have been talking. It's just plain bad manners! And insulting to God! I'm astonished at you, Uhtred, I really am! I'm astonished and disappointed.""Yes, father," I said, smiling....and Uhtred and Pyrlig:"But I've known Aethelflaed forever!" I exclaimed."He fears you know her only too well," Pyrlig said, "and it drives him to madness.""But that's stupid!" I spoke angrily."It's jealousy," Pyrlig said, "and all jealousy is stupid." More favorite passages from the book:"It is strange what men talk about before battle. Anything except what faces them. I have stood in a shield wall, staring at an enemy bright with blades and dark with menace, and heard two of my men argue furiously about which tavern brewed the best ale. Fear hovers in the air like a cloud and we talk of nothing to pretend that the cloud is not there." —Uhtred, p.10"You never, ever, tell others of your crimes, not unless they are so big as to be incapable of concealment, and then you describe them as policy or statecraft." —Uhtred, p.36"Yet I was sworn to Alfred. I was sworn to defend Wessex. I had given Alfred my oath and without oaths we are no better than beasts." —Uhtred, p.55"Cowardice is always with us, and bravery, the thing that provokes the poets to make songs about us, is merely the will to overcome the fear." —Uthred, p.136"You live by obeying the rules. You make a reputation, boy, by breaking them." —Uhtred, p.149

  • Tammy
    2019-02-09 23:08

    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
    2019-02-01 18:25

    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. Uhtred, who loves the Vikings far more than he cares for the Christian religion of the king he is continually sworn to serve, now must fight to take back London and to save Alfred, and his family, from defeat at the hands of the Norse invaders.This book, beginning in the year 885, probably doesn't see the end of 886 before the final page is turned. Unlike the first 3 offerings in this series, this book covers a very short period of time, perhaps 6-8 months. It is a fast moving, blood-letting adventure as Uhtred overtakes Danish controlled London whilst his estranged cousin, Aethelred, marries King Alfred's daughter, Aethelflaed, in search of a kingdom of his own. Uhtred is ordered to produce that kingdom as a gift to the newly married couple. Aetheflaed, a young woman whom Uhtred has known and loved as a daughter since she was a child, marries Uhtred's cousin, Aethelred, a man who Uhtred respects little and whom Uhtred, thanks to Alfred's order, owes much; begining with the city of London.As we again hear Uhtred continue the story of his service to Alfred (All of the books in this series are told in first person), we find that a dead Dane skald (poet) is rising from his grave and announcing that Uhtred is to be King of Mercia. Uhtred witnesses this dead rising and follows the corpses instruction to meet with the Danish attackers who want to take the Saxon lands, present day England. Uhtred obeys the skald and travels to the Danish stronghold in London to meet 2 brothers, Erik and Sigefrid Thirgilson, and Haesten, a man who Uhtred once saved and who owed Uhtred an oath, which had been broken. Uhtred, if nothing else, is a man of his word, but he is tempted by the prophecy of the dead skald. He was tempted by the opportunity to fight along side the Northmen that he loved. He was desirous of seeing Alfred dethroned for he hated the pious nature of the king.Thus begins our journey with Uhtred. A journey that will lead to the battle for London, another war with the Danes, and a twist of fate (as Uhtred repeats throughout the book, 'Fate is inexorable') that will test Uhtred's oath like no other test has in his past.Uhtred is one of the greatest characters ever written. He was born a Saxon and rightfully the Lord of Bebbanburg, a county in Northumbria, a part of Saxon England. That birthright was stolen from him by his treacherous uncle earlier in the series. Uhtred longs to regain his birthright but, being a man of his word, he continues to fight for Alfred, and continually waits for his opportunity to return to Bebbanburg and avenge the loss of his birthright.This book, unlike 'Lords of the North', returns to the gory battle and grisly action of the first 2 installments. 'Lords' was as excellent as the other books in this series, but it lacked the battles and the carnage of the first 2 books and this latest installment; 'Lords' was still an excellent book and I recommend that each be read to truly appreciate and understand Uhtred's story.Thankfully, the end of this book is not the end of Uhtred's tale. Cornwell has promised more works about the displaced warrior. With all hope, I can only wait for the Saxon Chronicles to grow to a library the size of which Cornwell has grown his 'Sharpe' series. A continued focus on this man and his adventures in establishing England for Alfred is deserving of at least a large fraction of the number of books produced on Sharpe.If fate is inexorable, I hope against hope that Cornwell will be fated to continue to write Uhtred's tale for many years to come. There is no greater fictional warrior that I can think of that is deserving of a library of books.If you have read the first three books of this series, buy this immediately. If you haven't read the Saxon Chronicles, I strongly recommend that you start from the beginning (The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman and Lords of the North) and read all of the books in this series. Cornwell is the master of historical fiction and, with this latest installment, has proven that he continues to excel. But, as great as this book is, don't skip to book 4; read the entire series. I demand that you read the entire series!Highly recommended to anyone that enjoys Viking, Anglo-Saxon, or medieval/dark ages history or historical fiction.THIS ENTIRE SERIES IS PHENOMENAL!!!

  • Alex Telander
    2019-01-20 01:11

    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. While the first three of the Saxon Chronicles gave little hope and direction for Uhtred, in Sword Song, he has more to fight for with a wife and child, and another baby on the way. The old Roman town of London, an important one with its link to the Thames, has been taken over by the Vikings. If Alfred gives them London, Wessex is next and soon there will be little left to defend and England will be a Viking nation. So Alfred charges Uhtred with this great task to use the Saxon army, as well as his own loyal men, and take back London.At this point Uhtred is an warrior and a great leader in a shield wall. But with the siege of London, he must mount an attack from the Thames, using ships and men. It will involve all his previous experience of battle, as well as appeasing both the Saxon army, and his own Northmen. His plan is to appear as an ally to the Vikings upon reaching London which, with his history, is a possibility, but then to spring the trap and take back the pivotal town. The question is whether Uhtred will live up to his side of the bargain, with his loyalty being challenged. Coupled with this is Aethelflæd, Alfred’s daughter, who has been recently kidnapped and is being held somewhere in London by a Viking lord; her life must be protected at all costs.Sword Song jumps the bestselling series one big step forward, with this pivotal battle in the creation of the nation of England and its people. Ending on a cliffhanger, Cornwell skillfully leaves fans having to wait another whole year until they can get the next important chapter in the story of Alfred the Great. For more book reviews and exclusive author interviews, go to BookBanter.

  • Alicja
    2019-01-24 21:13

    rating: 5.5/5Ah, 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 twist I didn't see coming. I should have seen it, the hints were all there but I was lulled to semi-predictability through the last three novels and then he goes and throws something like that in. I can't not love it! The ending had me in tears while cursing and yelling at the book. Fortunately it didn't respond (I'd be a bit worried at that). I am still baffled that Cornwell had the ability to shock me with a major plot twist despite his mostly formulaic writing. This was also probably my favorite ending to the Saxon Stories novels so far. It was bittersweet, emotional, but not as wrenching and soul crushing like the second one (that killed one of my favorite characters). This is another strong novel is a series definitely worth reading if you like sword battles, storming fortresses/castles/cities, mocking of Christians by a pagan, and general warrior brutality in a humorous package right out of the late 800s.

  • Samantha
    2019-02-06 20:12

    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, and battle scenes were as vivid and gory as ever. However, I found the ongoing fighting seemed pointless and knocks on Christians wore a little on my nerves. I also didn't need to be reminded every time his name was mentioned that Guthred's Christian name was King Aethelstan. I blame David Pilling's Uhtred Shmutred post for taking some of the fun out of Uhtred's alpha male style.Uhtred's adventures were certainly still enjoyable and fast paced, but I found that I began looking for him to form more of an objective than dying with a sword in his hand. Uhtred fights alongside the loyal Finan, who shared Uhtred's time in slavery. They fight anyone Alfred tells them to and a few that he doesn't. Not every battle is met with complete success, so there is still some suspense, and the plot is left ripe for the next episode.

  • Férial
    2019-02-15 18:36

    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 was raised and whom he loves), who always outnumber the saxons at first but who keep being defeated in the end, thanks to Uhtred. The same Uhtred who never receive thanks from the ungrateful king Alfred for repeatedly saving the day.Anyway. The story is fascinating. I love history. Bernard Cromwell has simply reminded me how much I do.

  • Rebecka (is hilarious, shut up)
    2019-02-13 18:18

    "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 longship and no, no, no, you absolutely cannot buy all the other books in the series on impulse. Well. A little too late on the last one, aren't we?As for the others...I've still got five books to go, you piece of turd. Just you watch me.

  • Chris
    2019-02-06 21:14

    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 myself wondering who someone was until I figured out the difference. A minor issue, but thought I'd mention it.

  • Krista Baetiong Tungol
    2019-02-13 23:16

    “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 delight while listening to Kodaline at the same time.

  • Mike
    2019-01-24 21:25

    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
    2019-01-27 17:25

    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
    2019-01-20 01:10

    “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
    2019-01-29 20:18

    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, although the setting was much different. I was reminded, rather strangely, of some books my dad was fond of that I remember reading when I was in probably the 12-16 range, which were books written by a former Navy SEAL by the name of Richard Marcinko. He turned his experience into some books in which he and his associates were just the ones who happened to uncover some plot and they had to do something about it. They battle incompetent generals and the CIA as much as any terrorist. One antagonistic general by the name of Pinkney W. Prescott III is brushed with the sobriquet "Pinky Da Turd". I was reminded of this, though I surely hadn't thought of those books in more than a decade (so much so that I haven't even shelved them on Goodreads) as Uhtred sparred verbally against a monk he calls Brother Asser, whom he hates. He hates all of the priests, and doesn't much like Alfred either, chafes against their orders and rules and on the whole any successful endeavor he has is one where he just goes and does his own thing and returns successfully. He lives by his own rules, gives deference to those above him only when it suits him, has no patience for those he deems weaklings...You know, back to a time when men were men and whatever. Except in Uhtred's case it's pretty clear this world sucks. Even he knows it as he frequently gets a glimpse of Roman ruins in modern-day London and elsewhere, as he realizes that man just no longer has the knowledge of doing things with stone and marble that it did before. They cannot rebuild what was made before. It was the Dark Ages for this part of the world. It's Alfred who wants to build something, while the Danes mostly want to take things. Not that Alfred is immune from taking in his way, as his pious nature leads him to turn a blind eye to the greed of some churchmen.Looking at the description of this book on Goodreads, the first bit is a quote from a review from USA Today which says "Bernard Cornwell is the current alpha-male of testosterone-infused historical fiction" ... which means it's probably stupid and I should feel bad for liking it, because I'm sure there are plenty of dopes out there (like whatever reviewer labeled this as testosterone-infused historical fiction) who are reading these books and thinking to themselves, "Man, it's too bad there's not more men like Uhtred these days." Except that would be a load of shit, because he's an asshole who has no place in civilization. That's the point. There's no civilization here. Does the world still need its Uhtreds? Some probably think so. It brings to mind A Few Good Men: "You can't handle the truth!" and "You need me on that wall!" Yet I think you can enjoy him in a way that isn't aspirational, in the same way that one can enjoy when there is a silly streaker at a sporting event without having any personal desire to be a streaker. I wouldn't want there to be an Uhtred now, nor would I care to meet him. But his inspired soldiering in 887 in battling the Danes for London, well, that's fun to read.

  • Veronica
    2019-01-24 00:19

    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 arrived and new alliances are threatening the fragile, political status quo and Uhtred is once again the linch pin on which the fate of England hangs. It's been awhile since I read the previous book in this series and I wish I had taken better notes on the different characters because I had some difficulty recalling just who everyone was in relation to Uhtred and Cornwell doesn't spend a lot of time or energy in rehashing old information. After I settled into the story however, things started to come back to me and once again I was swept up in the action. It's a well paced story and it's a sign of the quality of the writing and the storytelling that I can be so wrapped up in it despite the fact that I don't always like the main protagonist or the choices he makes. But Uhtred is now 28 years old and is showing signs that he's not the same, hot tempered youth he once was. Oh he's still arrogant, to be sure, a pagan surrounded by Christians, but he's less inclined to be as reactionary as he once was and that's been a welcome change in my opinion. His home life has settled into domestic contentment but that hasn't dulled his skill in battle and despite the fact that he and Alfred don't like each other, all, they nevertheless respect the skills of the other.As with the previous books, Sword Song presents a political chessboard, this time with the city of Lundene (eventually to become London) threatened with checkmate. Reading about all the political maneuverings and the battle strategizing makes this another page turner and no one writes a battle sequence quite like Cornwell.

  • Linda
    2019-01-19 22:32

    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 King Alfred who is fighting to evict the Danes from England and to unite the country. Alfred is also a committed Christian and is trying to impose Christianity on the country. Bernard Cornwell writes rattling good yarns full of fascinating historical detail, and these are no exception. I especially like the conflict between the rising religion of Christianity and the Old Gods. It is very interesting to see how one religion overtakes the other. The battle scenes and tactics are also well told. Recommended for all fans of historical fiction and adventure.

  • Dawn
    2019-02-10 19:21

    The fourth installment of this series sees Uhtred at 28, with a wife he loves and two children. Uhtred is as happy as he can be, considering his Uncle is still Lord of Bebbanburg and he's oath bound to Alfred.There are more pious priests than ever before, not as much war and fighting, Alfred is even more annoying but there are several good characters added to the Danes side and the story ends with a bang.This was a great book and it leaves me wanting to read more.