Saturday, April 14, 2007

Lords of the North, by Bernard Cornwell

This audiobook was obtained from the Alachua County Public Library, was 13 hours and 8 minutes long, and was narrated by Tom Sellman.

This is the third in the series about the times of King Alfred the Great, as told through Uhtred, a dethroned Lord who was captured and raised by Vikings as a youth. This latest installment introduces us to Guthred, a slave who becomes king of his own small realm. He want to be a good king, and is always wondering, "What would Alfred do?" Guthred is a good man, but a ruler of questionable judgment. He is single-minded enough to be dedicated to preserving his kingdom, but weak-willed enough to let powerful men into his confidence only to betray him later.

This is still very much Uhtred's story, however. He is a pagan who detests the Christians, is endlessly critical of the duplicitous priests, and amazed at the way they all revere the bones and teeth and hair of saints and near-saints. Uhtred reminds me of King David's warrior, Joab, who was always looking out for the King's interest, but did not seek the Lord. Uhtred is effective as a warrior, intuitive as a politician, and not afraid to frame someone with a throw-down piece if he needs to.

The first two books have been relentless in their attack on the Medieval church, but there are some Christians who actually distinguish themselves heroically in this story. Just like today, there are some blithering idiots in th spotlight, but the poor are still made rich in faith. (James 2:5)

In the author's epilogue, he reveals that he is actually descended from a man named Uhtred who lived in those times. And he further reveals that this saga is not over yet. I am glad and look forward to it. This one got 4 stars.

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