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The Burning Land

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The Burning Land is the fifth historical novel in The Saxon Stories by Bernard Cornwell, published in 2009. The story is set in the 9th-century Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Wessex, Northumbria and Mercia. The first half of season 3 of the British television series The Last Kingdom is based on this novel. Uhtred of Bebbanburg wins a victory against Danish invaders threatening Alfred the Great's kingdom of Wessex. When he unintentionally kills a Christian priest who insulted his dead wife, Arthur demands heavy reparations. Instead, Uthred breaks his oath to Alfred and sets off viking, but eventually returns to Mercia because of his oath to Aethelflaed, Alfred's daughter, and ends the (immediate) Danish threat. This novel, and the series of which it is the fifth part, has been well received. One reviewer remarks "Vivid descriptions of merciless battlefield slaughter, rape, and destruction are artfully related by a masterful storyteller." Another comments on the series and its viewpoint varying from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, saying "Historical novels stand or fall on detail, and Mr Cornwell writes as if he has been to ninth-century Wessex and back." Another again praises Cornwell's eye for historical detail, and "his capacity for pulling off deft reverses are still in place, which helps to keep the narrative turning briskly along."
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part of the series: The Saxon Stories
original title: The Burning Land
language: English
date of publication: 2009
genre: novel

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