Sunday, January 17, 2021

Review: War Lord (Saxon Tales #13) by Bernard Cornwell

The 13th and final installment of the book series that inspired the TV show, The Last Kingdom, is a sad but necessary conclusion to such a great and epic tale. Uhtred is now in his 70s, and while that's not impossible even for the era (average life expectancy if one survived childhood in the Middle Ages was in the 60s), it is starting to get a bit unrealistic, especially as a warrior who still engages in combat. For the last few books, I've been wondering how long Cornwell could really stretch this out, but now that it's finally come to an end, I will miss it, of course. I think that's why I took so long to finish it, I didn't want it to end.

Uhtred's epic journey was such an enjoyable way to detail the turbulent establishment and unification of the country of England and it's monarchs and leaders who made it happen, starting with Alfred the Great, all the way through the reign of his grandson, Athelstan. While Uhtred's relationship with each of them was always rather grudging at best, I think he secretly wanted to believe in Alfred's vision, and it also brought a lot of humor to the series. 

In some ways, I wish the story could continue, following succeeding monarchs, perhaps through Uhtred's son's voice, but I know it wouldn't be the same. All good things come to an end, and this was a fitting and worthy ending to Uhtred's story.

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