I ended up taking a break of almost a year between the fourth book in this series, Sword Song, and The Burning Land, and I’m not quite sure why it was so long. I was pulled back into it by the new BBC adaptation, The Last Kingdom. Having read the book in about two days, I’ve been trying to work out why I stopped, coming to the conclusion that it was certainly not for lack of enjoyment. I’m a massive fan of Uthred as a character, as he is repeatedly put in seemingly impossible situations.
I was delighted to discover the usual fantastic blend of action and dialogue, and as a history student I’m always keen on books remaining fairly accurate. In terms of historical fiction, Bernard Cornwell is certainly up there with Conn Iggulden in terms of juggling a fantastically written book with a high degree of historical accuracy.
The plot moved along at a fantastic rate, and the progression of the wider story continues to keep the reader guessing about where Uthred might eventually end up. The characters are all realistically imperfect, meaning that most have moments where you can empathise with them at least to a certain degree.
‘The Burning Land’, by Bernard Cornwell is the fifth in the Saxon Stories.