Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell

The fourth volume in Cornwell’s series based around the career of Alfred the Great, Sword Song continues in the best tradition of Cornwell’s writing. It is a great piece of historical action writing. Well told, with a good plot and (critically) lots of period detail it conforms to the best of the Cornwell formula without being formulaic. While I am a great fan of the Sharpe novels, the later ones have become somewhat predictable.  The same plot elements would reoccur, the same character types would re-appear and so on. That is not the case with this series. I also like the way that Cornwell takes the uncertain history of the times and plays with it, especially with the gap between recorded history (somewhat sparse for the period of the book’s setting) and “actual” events. This is a recurring theme in this series and serves as an allegory (in reverse!) for the fictional task of writing about historical events. Recommended.

Rating: 4/5.

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~ by Doug Newdick on March 2, 2008.

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