Saxon Chronicles Index

Ten years ago, having just discovered Bernard Cornwell and gone absolutely mad over him, I made it my mission to read everything I could of him. That included a new series called the Saxon Chronicles, following some dude named Uhtred as he fought to reclaim his family land from the Vikings. I had no interest in Vikings or the Anglo-Saxon period whatsoever, but it was sort of medieval and that I could appreciate. Swords, horses, big castles: what more do you need? Uhtred won me over immediately, and through him I developed a new fascination with the North cultures and pre-Norman England. Although the series grew long in the tooth after a while, it’s reliably entertained me like few others.

  1. The Last Kingdom. Introduces the story, and introduces the reader to those lovable heathens, the Danes, who as Uhtred said, “are not afraid of life”.
  2. The Pale Horseman. The last Saxon kingdom, Wessex, has fallen to the Norse, though a defiant king Alfred retreats to the marshlands rather than surrender. Uhtred sees the future of England through one of its darkest, most vulnerable moments.
  3. The Lords of the North. Spurned by an ungrateful king, Uhtred leaves Alfred’s service to pursue his own quest of killing Kjarten the Cruel and retaking his homeland. Cornwell delivers one shock after another, delivering Uhtred into his own darkest hour that will give him a lifelong friend and begin forging a lord’s soul of of a restless, angry warrior. Probably my favorite novel in the series!
  4. Sword Song. Alfred’s star is on the rise, but newly-arriving invaders mean that Uhtred must reclaim Lundene for the English.
  5. The Burning Land. This is classic, quintessential Saxon Stories: Uhtred has killed a priest for calling his wife a whore, and forced into exile rather than accept humiliation at the hands of a king he has to serve despite not liking. His hopes of continuing his quest to reclaim the castle are delayed when a woman and friend who he’s sworn an oath to pleads for his help. (Uhtred’s castle quest delayed by his oath-loyalty to friends is going to become almost a running joke in this series.)
  6. Death of Kings. Alfred lies on his death bed and needs Uhtred’s help to keep the peace.
  7. The Pagan Lord. I just have to quote from my review: “[to] lead the Saxons to triumph will involve a ship,  borrowed children, and a dead priest on a stick. That’s life in Anglo-Saxon Britain, and the tale of The Pagan Lord.”
  8. The Empty Throne. Aethelflaed, for whose love Uhtred spends many books scheming and killing folk, needs some more schemin’ and killin’ done on her behalf.
  9. Warriors of the Storm. Uhtred is THIS close to invading Northumbria and taking back his damn castle when there’s an invasion.
  10. The Flame Bearer. Uhtred is THIS close to invading Northumbria and taking back his damn castle when one of his friend needs him.
  11. War of the Wolf. Wessex’s growing ambition makes it a threat to Uhtred’s well-deserved gains, but he is bound by oaths to take his place yet again in the battlefield on the southerners’ behalf.
  12. Sword of Kings. Uhtred finally has his castle back and deserves a break, but Alfred’s successor is dying and there’s something rotten going on in the city of Lundene. Sword saw the welcome return of naval action, and genuine threat to Uhtred.
  13. War Lord. One last time, Uhtred must choose which enemy he trusts more.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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7 Responses to Saxon Chronicles Index

  1. Mudpuddle says:

    has cornwell ever said how historically accurate these novels are? i just ask because i’m contemplating getting into them but am reluctant if they don’t have some basis in actual knowledge… for some reason…

    • Cornwell follows each with a historian’s note to identify his sources, and to explain where he took liberties. In the case of his last novel, for instance, the battle locale is not firmly known, so Cornwell chose the site whose argument was the best. Many of the characters are historic, even minor lords, and as far as I remember Cornwell always admits when he has someone in a place where they wouldn’t have been, for the sake of the story.

  2. Cyberkitten says:

    I was thinking that I need to read more Historical fiction but then again I’ve read 11 so far this year. Not so many in the Viking/Saxon period though….. Like I said I have at least the first 3-4 of this Cornwell series plus a handful of others….. Next year, I guess! [grin]

    • You may knock those three out back to back — I zipped through the first few books fairly quickly. Not like my book-a-week takedown of the Harry Potter series, but the chronicles are absorbing!

  3. These sound quite interesting. I’ve read some historical fiction, but never tried anything by Cornwell. The novels of Hilary Mantell may be the closest I have come to anything like Cornwell.

  4. Sharon Wilfong says:

    I was going to ask the same question Mudpuddle did, but I see you answered it. I love this kind of history, but shy away from fiction because I’m not sure how accurate they are. I’m glad this author includes his references.

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