The Burning Land (Last Kingdom Series #5) (Saxon Tales)

The Burning Land (Last Kingdom Series #5) (Saxon Tales)

by Bernard Cornwell

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The fifth installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling Saxon Tales chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit television series.

At the end of the ninth century, with King Alfred of Wessex in ill health and his heir still an untested youth, it falls to Alfred’s reluctant warlord Uhtred to outwit and outbattle the invading enemy Danes, led by the sword of savage warrior Harald Bloodhair. But the sweetness of Uhtred’s victory is soured by tragedy, forcing him to break with the Saxon king. Joining the Vikings, allied with his old friend Ragnar—and his old foe Haesten—Uhtred devises a strategy to invade and conquer Wessex itself. But fate has very different plans.  

Bernard Cornwell’s The Burning Land is an irresistible new chapter in his epic story of the birth of England and the legendary king who made it possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061966095
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/02/2010
Series: Last Kingdom (Saxon Tales) Series , #5
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 27,375
File size: 1 MB

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell is the author of the acclaimed New York Times bestsellers 1356 and Agincourt; the bestselling Saxon Tales, which include The Last Kingdom, The Pale Horseman, Lords of the North, Sword Song, The Burning Land, Death of Kings, The Pagan Lord, and, most recently, The Empty Throne; and the Richard Sharpe novels, among many others.

What People are Saying About This

Margaret Flanagan

“Cornwell, a master of martial fiction, makes history come alive with his rousing battlefield scenes.”

Robert Conroy

“Cornwell (Agincourt) has been described as a master of historical fiction, but that may be an understatement. Cornwell makes his subject material come alive. Better, his major protagonist is totally believable and human.”

Customer Reviews

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Burning Land 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 185 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
As the ninth century begins to wind down, King Alfred of Wessex is old and dying. The Danes feel the opportunity to conquer Wessex whose great leader has foiled them before is now. Warlord Harald Bloodhair leads the Viking horde invasion by sea and land Mercia and Wessex. Alfred turns to his oath-bound loyal Saxon pagan warrior Uhtred of Bebbanburg; the warlord defeats Harald, but also breaks his pledge of fealty. Deciding enough of England and its treachery, the warlord and his warriors head home to reclaim his family land. They confront other war parties and a witch's curse only to take another spin back in the world of Alfred and his increasingly Christian nation as the he Danes from East Anglia and the Vikings from Northumbria head once again towards Mercia and Wessex. The fifth Saxon saga (see Sword Song).affirms once again that Bernard Cornwell is one of the best, if not the top writer, of pre William the Conqueror Dark Ages historical fiction. The story line is fast-paced and filled with plenty of bloody action. However, it is an ailing dying Alfred nearing the end of his "Great" reign and the Saxon pagan warlord Uhtred who bring the period alive as the barbarians are at the gate, but it takes a barbarian to prevent them from entering. Fans will relish this deep tale as The Burning Land is increasingly Mercia and Wessex as Alfred no longer can defend them. Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt like I was there read entire series twice, just couldn't get enough!
OToole More than 1 year ago
Cornwell's writing style matches that of James Michner. You read without realizing that you are reading and learning HISTORY! The fictional characters blend so well with the REAL characters that you feel they are ALL real. Scene setting is done with all aspects of the town, village, city made easy to visualize. Action scenes make you feel like you are experiencing it with the people involved. He makes you feel the cold or heat, smell the odors and hear the sounds. I have read all of his novels and it has gotten to the point that I buy his novels without regard to the title...just CORNWELL on the cover is enough to convince me to make the purchase. I have not been dissapointed yet.
LN_Adcox More than 1 year ago
The convention continues of a story told by Uhtred, a surly, ancient pagan warrior who was ignored in the official written depictions of history because he had been an embarrassment. However, his reputation as a cunning, ruthless, and terrifying warrior and his proven success makes him an indispensable embarrassment to King Alfred of Wessex and the Saxon English as they seek to retain and regain England. Uhtred's aversion to his overly pious and stingy liege only increases after Alfred declares him an outlaw for killing a priest that slandered his dead wife. Uhtred would rather fight with his Danish friend than for Alfred. However, there are three overpowering motivations in Uhtred's life - his reputation, his love of King Alfred's daughter, Aethelflaed, and his desire to reclaim his ancestral Northumbrian birthright stolen by his uncle. King Alfred manipulates Uhtred through the latter's love of and pledge to his daughter to thwart Danish attempts to add Mercia and Wessex to their Northumbrian and East Anglia domain by defeating them in the battles of Fearnhamme and Benfleet. This excellent series will continue and we can expect Uhtred to continue to be a puppet to the same motivations.
bookwormMC More than 1 year ago
Another superb saxon story from the best historical writer in the business. It treads some new ground, but keeps up with favorite characters also. A history lover would be hard pressed to do better.
TunaSF More than 1 year ago
Excellent story, I read it in a weekend. This series is fantastic historical fiction. Filled with love, war, God, swords, blood, disembowlement, castles, kings, and lords, and more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bernard Cornwell's Historic Fiction Series always leave a person impatiantly waiting for the next book to be published. The book finishes some plot lines from the previous books in the series and opens new plots. Though Cornwell uses the same recipe for the majority of his books, they are overwhelmingly entertaining and a refreshing change of pace from the over descriptive style that now seems to be commonplace. My Library contains the majority of Mr. Cornwell's body of work and it will continue to increase with every historic fiction novel he writes. Uhtred again faces his enemies across the battle line and behind. While pretty ladies have been his undoing and uprising in previous books the same happens here with his wife, a Dane, and Alfred's daughter. Meanwhile, Uhtred gets closer to his main goal of taking his home back from his Uncle.
JeffV on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In book 5 of the Saxon Chronicles, our hero, Uhtred of Northumbria, is once again manipulated to do the bidding of Alfred the Great. Now an ancient man close to death (he is "well over 40"), Alfred is conspiring to obtain Uhtred's oath to serve his son, Edward, who he hopes will succeed him as king. Uhtred, still upset with himself for swearing an oath to Alfred in the first place, avoids this, but Alfred uses a back-door, Edwards sister, Aethelflaed, who Uhtred had sworn to protect. In the midst of this political maneuvering of fealty, the Danes once again are getting ambitious, this time a chieftain called Haeston attempts to divide the strength of Wessex by enticing Northumbrian Danes to attack as well. A curious character in the form of a Frisian beauty named Skade, meanwhile, is playing her own games of treachery, self-interest, and proves as capable as any marauder when it comes to committing atrocities.
pmtracy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell is a work of historical fiction detailing the Saxon-Dane clashes during the Tenth Century over Northumbria and Wessex.I haven¿t read much in the genre of historical fiction before- if ever. However, I do read quite a bit of epic fantasy. I was surprised by how closely Cornwell¿s book resembled some of my favorite authors like George R.R. Martin. The only difference is that Burning Land¿s setting is within our realm of reality.The novel is full of detailed battle scenes and fast-paced action. However, Cornwell takes enough time to flesh-out his characters. By the end of the book, you fairly well understand Uhtred¿s motivations and why he was torn between keeping his oath and leaving to reclaim what had once been his family¿s home.One theme spread throughout the story is the corruption of the Catholic church during that time period. Conversions were used as political tools and ¿relics¿ were sold in limitless supply to enrich the church. Women¿s power over men, much to the dismay of the church, is also a focus. The book ends in a traditional good v. evil battle with Æthelflæd opposing Skade.This book was a bit of a ¿blind date¿ in that it was given to me by a co-worker to read. I was pleasantly surprised to find a new author to add to my reading list.
thegeneral on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fine edition to the Saxon Series. However, as this is now the fifth book in this series the parallels between Uthred and Derfel Cadarn of the Warlord Chronicles are becoming all the more apparent. Those remain my favourite books that Cornwell has written to date and I would personally rather that Derfel be left more as a stand-alone character. As this era of English history has been little examined in historical fiction more additions to the series are naturally to be sincerely welcomed.
hanque on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The saga of Uhtred,a Dane employed by King Alfred to defend Wessex from other Danes, continues. Cornwell has written another great work of historical fiction. This time, Uhtred abandons Alfred and travels north to visit his good friend, Ragnar. Alfred tricks Uhtred into returning to Wessex to defend it against a Dane named Haesten who has launched an invasion.My only problem with Cornwell's books is they come to an end and I have to wait for the next one to get published.four out of five stars for this book. Highly recommended.
ulfhjorr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent addition to the series from Cornwell. The Burning Land was a return, in ways, to the main thrust of the series after what seemed a departure in the fourth book. While there is much in this work that could be called the same as the previous installments, I think the sense of what we know is inevitable is closing in on Uhtred, causing him to become more of a sympathetic character even as he cleaves people's skulls.
derek85 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Good but not as good as usual lets hope the next on picks up
mojomomma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Uhtred, a Danish hired sword for King Alfred, fights against his own kind and trains the future King Edward to be a leader. Uhtred is a wise and wiley warrior who always find a way to turn long odds to his favor, using diversion, old sailcloth, bee hives, and his understanding of ambition to his advantage.
dougwood57 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Burning Land is Cornwell's fifth book in the Saxon Chronicles that take place during the reign of the ninth century English king, Alfred the Great. The stories' protagonist is Uhtred of Bebbanburg, a warrior born in Northumbria, but raised as a Dane. The devout Christian Alfred is trying to create "England" by melding together his Wessex with Mercia, East Anglia and, eventually Northumbria, but he repeatedly finds himself in need of aid from the pagan Uhtred.This book is more of the same. Uhtred is pulled between his Danish roots and his oath to the Saxon king. The book features numerous skirmishes and one big battle as the climax. Uhtred's perpetual inconstant attitude does grow a bit wearisome, but not so much as to turn me against the series. Cornwell gets the known historical details right (for example, Alfred's use of the `burh' system of fortresses), but the relatively sparse record also leaves much room for speculation.If you have enjoyed the previous books in the series, you will want to continue. If you are new to the series, you can enjoy this book as a standalone and then go back to read the previous installments (Of course, it is better to start at the beginning. The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles Series #1)) Cornwell rarely disappoints his loyal readers and The Burning Land is no exception.
SwampIrish on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Cornwell is keeping the action flowing, but the main character of this series seems to be invincible. I guess that is the point. Overall, a nice 5th addition to what is probably my favorite series. I wish Cornwell wrote longer books, but I am beginning to understand that if he did, we wouldn't be getting them every year. I guess I can hope to see another installment next January. If not, I'm positive whatever Cornwell writes will be added to my library. I am now a hardcore fan.
sgtbigg on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The latest book in Cornwell's Saxon series. If you've read any of the others there's not much to say - Vikings, shield walls, axes, death, Thor, dismemberment... A good time. I continue to enjoy the series.
BruderBane on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In his fifth book of the Saxon series ¿The Burning Land¿ Bernard Cornwell strikes gold once again. Chock full of all the candor and brutality I have come to expect from Mr. Cornwell, ¿The Burning Land¿ entertained me from vicious beginning to its bowel loosening ferocious bloody end. What I truly enjoy about Mr. Cornwell¿s stories are the modest vignettes he paints with his primary and ancillary characters. Such as when Uhtred gave the crying milkmaid a silver coin after she spilled the contents of her cans trying to bow to the warlord. According to his website, Mr. Cornwell is currently working on the next Saxon installment hopefully he can keep the streak going.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fast-paced and believeable, this story quickly became a most anticipated nightly engagement.
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strider190 More than 1 year ago
Outstanding historical fiction. Best I have ever read and I'm a historian.