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The Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars
Series: The Last Kingdom (Book #3 of 13)
Genre: Historical fiction
Pages: 401 pages (Kindle edition)
Published: 22nd May 2006 by HarperCollins
This was a good but slightly weaker volume compared to its predecessors. It’s so good to finally meet Sihtric and Finan for the first time, though.
The Lords of the North is the third book in The Last Kingdom series by Bernard Cornwell. Uthred is now 21 years old, and the story in this one mostly revolves around slavery, a clash of faith, and the battle against Kjartan. A few new characters were introduced in this new installment, and the most notable ones were Guthred, Sihtric, and Finan. I’ve mentioned that Sihtric and Finan were my two favorite side characters in the TV series, and it felt good to finally see them starting to appear in the story of the books. But more on these two on further volumes, right now, the plot in The Lords of the North requires the appearance of Ragnar, and I enjoyed reading the friendship between Uthred and Ragnar so much.
“If a man can’t remember the laws,” Ragnar said, “then he’s got too many of them.”
Admittedly, though, despite how well-written the book was, I did feel that having watched the TV show—meaning I knew what would happen already—backfired on my reading experience this time. I’ve mentioned in my review of the previous two books that the first season of the TV show was inferior compared to the books, but I think it’s the other way around for the first half of the second season and this book. The pacing was often sluggish, and the fact that Cornwell’s paragraphs and chapters were relatively longer than usual made me spent 5 days finishing this 400 pages book. Honestly speaking, this is an extremely slow reading pace for me, and I hope this won’t be the case for future books in the series.
“I was just twenty-one and my name was known wherever men sharpened swords. I was a warrior. A sword warrior, and I was proud of it.”
The Lords of the North was another good continuation of Uthred’s story. I planned to read two books in the series per month, which would mean I would be done with the series by July. However, after reading this book, I realized that the episodic and repetitive format of the story might require me to alter this reading plan to read one book in the series per month instead. I loved Cornwell’s writing and storytelling style, and I don’t want to feel burnout by this series from reading through to it too quickly. So yeah, that’s my plan for now. Looking forward to reading Sword Song in March.
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