War Lord (The Last Kingdom #13) by Bernard Cornwell

‘The wheel of fortune turns slowly, Lord Uhtred, but it does turn.’

He’s an old man now: Lord Uhtred of Bebbanburg,looking for a peaceful life, and once again he has to fight. England is under attack, and Northumbria is threatened by armies on all sides.  King Æthelstan is slowly tightening his grip on England, Constantine of the Scots is looking to expand his territory south and then there is Olaf Guthfrithson, the claimant of the kingdom of York.  Uhtred is torn between his sworn oath and his loyalty.  But if he wants to hang on to Bebbanburg, he is going to have to fight.

This is the final book in Mr Cornwell’s ‘The Last Kingdom’ series, and events are set for the battle of Brunanburgh in 937. Along the way, we meet some of the characters from earlier books, including Uhtred’s estranged son and Hywel of Wales.  The battle is vividly described: the shield wall, the sounds and smell.  Uhtred has a significant part to play, naturally.

I finished the novel, sad to be saying good by to Uhtred for the last time but fascinated by the journey.  I have learned much about this period of history from these novels and from Mr Cornwell’s author notes.

What a journey!

‘Wyrd bið ful aræd (fate remains wholly inexorable)’

Jennifer Cameron-Smith

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