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The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
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I loved this series, and really find The Flame Bearer to be a satisfying finish to the Uhtred saga. Cornwell's characters are likeable and multi-dimensional throughout. ( )
  decaturmamaof2 | Nov 28, 2018 |
"The Flame Barer" didn’t match up to the excitement of the previous book in the Saxon series, nor with most of the others, but I still enjoyed thee past-paced narrative with its vivid imagery.

Uhtred is in my opinion Bernard Cornwell’s best character creation. I never tire of the scenes when some cocky youth fancies his chances in a duel, only for the “old man” to announce his identity, thus quashing any boldness from young challengers. In short, they pee themselves.

The author’s depictions of battle scenes are vivid and believable in all his works, but more so in the Saxon tales because Uhtred’s personality helps the reader – this one at least – to feel part of this charismatic warlord’s fights.

Any confrontation, be it physical or verbal, is expertly portrayed. The typical humour, especially Uhtred’s conversations with priests, is as entertaining as ever.

In my view, what prevents Mr Cornwell from being an even better writer than he is already, is his dialogue attribution. The actual dialogue is excellent, but for 90+ per cent of the time he interrupts the flow by needlessly reminding the reader who’s speaking, more often than not inserting this pointless information – pointless because it’s obvious who’s speaking – in the middle of sentences.

Mr Cornwell maybe doesn’t realise that the strength of his characters make it clear to the reader who’s talking, just as he fails to grasp how irritating it is to have his believable dialogue swamped with superfluous attribution, which sometimes includes unnecessary adverbs.

I dislike the author’s elements of English style in the most part, especially his overuse of the word “then” – arguably the laziest choice for moving a story forward – and the amount of long-winded sentences he uses. Some of his books are worse than others for these annoying traits.

He tends to overuse “and” too much as well, as though determined to make his sentences as long and clunky as possible. Like with using “then”, repeating “and” in this way changes Uhtred’s strong warrior voice to that of an excited child.

Anyway, style aside, Mr Cornwell’s done a good job with the story side of "The Flame Barer" ( )
  PhilSyphe | Sep 18, 2017 |
Too short at 300 pages. Feels very much like a money spinnner while BBC are showing the Uhtred series. 400 to 500 pages would have been better value and it's getting tiresome with authors stretching what should be one novel into two or three novellas. ( )
  DorianG | Apr 24, 2017 |
I found this book pacier and more entertaining than some of the recent editions in this series. I was glad that Uthred was focused on the Northumbrian situation chiefly. Is this the near end of the series? ( )
  thegeneral | Mar 7, 2017 |
With The Flame Bearer Bernard Cornwell brings the tenth entry in his vivid Last Kingdom series (once known as the Saxon Chronicles). In it Lord Uhtred continues to focus his energy and his followers on retaking his ancestral home, the fortress at Bebbanburg. The action continues apace, with vivid, expertly done battle scenes, and theatrical set pieces where Uhtred holds center stage at court, adroitly turning the tables on ambitious nobles and venal churchmen. Yes, all the usual thrills are here for your delectation.

While the campaigns with their vivid 10th Century battles do not come as frequently as in other Last Kingdom novels, Flame Bearer makes up for it with its climax. Uhtred must lull his usurping cousin into a false sense of security (through use of strategically placed misinformation) while running a blockade set by a fierce Norseman. Throw into the mix a third enemy, no less than the feared army of Scotland, led by its King Constatin, and you have unusually long odds, even for Uhtred. Suffice it to say the final battle scene makes up for the occasional - and comparative - calm that precedes it. Excellent stuff.

This is an escape I savor every time a new Uhtred of Bebbanburg book comes out. Cornwell excels at this writing, and is widely admired for it. It isn’t just every series that is made into a Netflix series - I was deeply interested to start watching it, but with my schedule that’s all I could manage - just the start. I am glad and proud that others have noticed the quality of the thrills, plots, characters, and yes, the truth of these tomes. Cornwell puts into his hero’s mind and speech the consciousness of war’s horrors, the plain if covered-up truth of men’s fear on the eve of battle, the honest and frank description of shit, and blood, and guts, and screams, and stench of it all. If these are things to escape to, let Cornwell be your guide. I have no idea now how many more books he will bring out in this series. I feel like I’ve been on borrowed time for a couple of books now, anything else has been and will be a bonus.

Escape to 10th Century Britain. You couldn't find a finer time machine. ( )
  LukeS | Jan 23, 2017 |
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With Britain in an uneasy state of peace, Uhtred of Bebbanburg at last has the chance to take back the home his traitorous uncle stole from him so many years ago -- and which his scheming cousin still occupies. But he will need all the skills he has learned in a lifetime of war to make his dream come true. --… (more)

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