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The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles…

The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles Series #2) (original 2005; edition 2006)

by Bernard Cornwell

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Title:The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Chronicles Series #2)
Authors:Bernard Cornwell
Info:HarperCollins (2006), Paperback, 384 pages
Collections:Read but unowned

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The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell (2005)




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Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
I finished this last night, and I'm still not really sure what I think. On the one hand, I am absolutely fascinated by historical fiction and how vastly different it is from our world today - and this novel seemed believably accurate. On the other hand, Uhtred and every single other man in this novel, except perhaps Alfred, were brutes. I know that's just the way it was, but still. There was none among the characters with much compassion, except the pious men for whom it was about staying in God's good books.

It was well written, but still don't think I enjoy reading this kind of brutality. No thanks! ( )
  crashmyparty | Mar 14, 2014 |
Very good book. ( )
  Philip100 | Dec 26, 2013 |
Wow! That last 50 pages or so were awesome...That's just an estimate, since I listened to the audio and didn't have the page count right in front of me.

After several disappointing endings in books lately, this was refreshing. The finish actually brought my rating up, instead of the opposite as some have done recently.

I've long heard that Bernard Cornwell is the best at describing battles. If I wasn't convinced already, I am now. ( )
  Texas_Reaver | Mar 31, 2013 |
Bernard Cornwell lives part of his year here in Charleston. If you time it right, you can walk along one of our Charleston streets, and hear a madman ranting in an attic room -- only it's not a madman, it's a literary wonder named Cornwell, ranting and raving in the creation of a scene for whatever novel he's working on. In fact, carriage tour guides look forward to driving by his house, as he sometimes throws things from the windows as he creates his scenes. You know it's been a first rate tour if your carriage is thus blessed.

Cornwell once again brought the sights, smells, and sounds to life from the days of Alfred the Great, when the land was torn by war. While I never particularly really liked the main character, or any of the others, I still followed the story with great interest. This is no dry history book, but vibrates with earthiness that I have no doubt is grounded in reality of the time. I remain amazed at Cornwell's amazing skill at depicting a battle, with accuracy and intricacy, holding this reader's interest for each slash and parry. I'm not a blood and guts sort of girl, but these battles are fascinating to me.

I've heard Mr Cornwell fo readings, and know that he is a skilled actor as well as a gifted writer. He also spends part of his year up in New England, where he participates in Summer Stock. Though I was initially disappointed he did not read this particular version of the book, the voice actor was really good. This book is is the second book in the Saxon series focusing on England essentially before it was England. It's a time in history that fascinates me. I wish that Cornwell had been writing back in the days when I was studying history at Uni, or when I was living in England for part of that course of studies. His writing would have been good course requirements for any History major. ( )
  bookczuk | Nov 6, 2012 |
‘The Pale Horseman’ is the sequel to the best-selling ‘The Last Kingdom’ and continues the tale of the great warrior Uhtred, born in Northumberland. Raised as a Dane, he is now married to a Saxon girl. He is a pagan and his alliance with the pious Alfred the Great does not sit easily on the shoulders of either man.

However, the Danes break a truce with the Saxons in Wessex and slaughter most of the Saxon leaders. Only Alfred's family, Uhtred and a small number of his companions escape from the Danes. They are driven deeper and deeper into a swamp, where they are helpless to try to gather forces to stand against their enemy.

The Danes now hold most of England and it has been a disastrous time for the Saxons. Uhtred finds himself torn between the growing respect he has for Alfred and the love he has for his Danish foster brother, Ragnor. He has to wrestle with his heart and decide whether to try and rally the Saxons and drive out the Danes, or change sides and go to stand with Ragnor.

Particularly convincing is Cornwell’s portrayal of the almost crippling effect on the Saxon war effort of King Alfred's belief that God alone will rescue England from the Danes. That contrasts and conflicts with Uhtred's warrior's instincts - and the tension between Uhtred and his king is cleverly written. Just as Uhtred slowly resolves his conflict of loyalty, so Alfred gradually changes from a king who refuses to do anything other than pray to a warrior who might be able to save his people. Even the supporting cast, notably the priest Asser (who wrote a life of Alfred), is well characterised.
The atmosphere is superb - there is a thick mist hanging around saxon times but Mr. Cornwell offers a set of fog lights. Yes, some bits are not strictly bound to the historical record; but it is downright believable. His characters are not bound to some higher cause, they are just normal people who make normal mistakes and have normal emotions.
There are some fascinating new characters that have an influence on Uhtred and the story. The mysterious Briton queen Iseult, and the excellent Father Pyrlig. We also get to find out what characters like Leofric, Beocca, Ragner, Brida and Aethelwold have been up to and their further adventures.

It's the kind of book that leaves you wanting much more! Roll on book 3! ( )
  Jawin | Jul 28, 2012 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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Information from the Portuguese (Brazil) Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to the English one.
Ac her forp berad; fugelas singid,

gylled groeghama.

Pois aqui se inicia a guerra, aves carniceiras

cantam e lobos cinzentos uivam.

The Fight at Finnsburth
The Pale Horseman is for George MacDonald Fraser, in admiration
First words
These days I look at twenty-year-olds and think they are pathetically young, scarcely weaned from their mothers' tits, but when I was twenty I considered myself a full-grown man.
Fate is inexorable.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061144835, Paperback)

The last unvanquished piece of England, Wessex is eyed hungrily by the fearsome Viking conquerors. A dispossessed young nobleman, Uhtred is tied to the imperiled land by birth and marriage but was raised by the Danish invaders—and he questions where his allegiance must lie. But blood is his destiny, and when the overwhelming Viking horde attacks out of a wintry darkness, Uhtred must put aside all hatred and distrust and stand beside his embattled country's staunch defender—the fugitive King Alfred.

The Pale Horseman is a gripping, monumental adventure that gives breathtaking life to one of the most important epochs in English history—yet another masterwork from New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:05:22 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Uhtred, a dispossessed young nobleman, born a Saxon but raised by the Vikings, forms an uneasy alliance with King Alfred the Great to fight for Wessex when the kingdom is attacked by the Danish Vikings in the ninth century.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 7 descriptions

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