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Book Review: ‘The Red Knight’, by Miles Cameron

red-knightI finally got around to reading this, having heard a significant amount of hype for it. In the first few chapters I realised that it had a very accurate military side. My expertise lies about a century before that of Cameron’s, but the technical terminology was familiar enough. There was considerable jumps in point of view, which I normally hate, however I think Cameron manages to pull It off. I was unsure of how everything tied together after thirty pages, but was engrossed in the world nonetheless.

The shifting PoV within a chapter makes it feel a little chaotic, but moves the plot along very quickly, and aids in the exploration of a fascinating and enthralling world. A world which has enough similarities to history to be familiar in terms of world layout and the characteristics of the various nations. Around the first third, I was finding it very good and militaristic, but not quite epic yet, though there are hints of the direction the book was heading in. Having said that, there were some fantastic twists, and a huge climactic battle with amazing imagery to cap it all off.

My main gripe with this great book is the ending. It seemed like a odd place to finish: somewhere between too much and too little. To me it seemed a bit rushed and somehow simultaneously too obvious as an expositional set up for the next book and the series in general.

‘The Red Knight’, by Miles Cameron, is the first in The Traitor Son Cycle.

Book Review: ‘The Burning Land’, by Bernard Cornwell

The_Burning_Land_CoverI 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.