Thursday, January 24, 2008

10. Sword Song

by Bernard Cornwell
Rated: 4 1/2 Stars

Once more into another exciting breach, and this time, Uhtred has to defend the ancient and decayed Roman city of London against the rampaging Vikings, who aim to conquer England and enslave the native Saxons. Like the others before it's filled with bloodletting, battles, political schemes, and just a little romance. Ethelflaed, the daughter of Alfred is introduced as a character in this book and I am hoping that she will become a player in books to come. She had an interesting roll to play in the history of Mercia and I am taking this as a sign that Cornwell intends to explore it.

This book should have been an easy 5 star plus but Cornwell's portrayal of Alfred really annoys me. I am usually a pretty easy going reader and am not one to insist on total historical accuracy in a book of fiction. As long as the author keeps it somewhat plausible I am willing to go down almost any road. But to my mind, the man Cornwell is calling Alfred the Great comes off the pages as Alfred the Weak and Stupid. And once an author looses credibility with me if affects my enjoyment of a story as a whole. I feel like I am no longer reading Historical Fiction but have been pushed over into the Fantasy genre. It's like being invited out to eat hamburgers and being served hot dogs instead. Nothing wrong with hot dogs, it just wasn't what I was expecting.
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