Rating: 4 out of 5
The ‘Saxon Stories’ seem interminable by now, and yet the author now states only a few books remain — this is more the pity as even though some of the previous books have felt like the same old, I found something new and enjoyable in this volume. Perhaps it’s that the “let’s stand in a wall and kill the bastards” routine has been off my list for so long it almost felt refreshing, but I’m not entirely sure…
This was also a rather nice volume as the setting was a tad bit further north and the author had borrowed heavily from the local landscape. As such, the main subject of the story — Ebiacum in Northumberland — now features in my next lists of British sites to visit, hopefully by the footpath that Mr Cornwell also mentions.
The action wasn’t really different to the previous books insofar as something happened and Uhtred had to take care of it. A beautiful introduction into these adventures sees the first few moves turn out a tad bit different than Uhtred thought — not commenting on how much the reader can divine of the author’s intentions here!– which also set a tone that was different to the previous books.
In the end, if one was this far down Saxon Stories, one would probably want to continue anyways. It might also prove to be the rejuvenating gem in the series, so I think the conclusion is that you should indeed pick it up!