“The rumor was believed because truth is ever feeble against passionate falsehood.”
Bernard Cornwell is my favorite author of historical fiction, but he was off his game with this eleventh installment of his Saxon Stories. All the well-loved elements were there: skilled melding of fact and fiction, conflict, eucatastrophe–all mediated by Uthred’s snarky inner voice.
“Bravery is overcoming fear,” I said. “and I don’t know how you do that. Duty helps a little, and not letting down your comrades helps a lot, but really bravery is a kind of madness.”
But it’s heavily laden with backstory and repetition. Needed another editing to reduce the duplication. Starting near the end of this series is not recommended, but a new reader would have appreciated all the repetition; those who have read the preceding ten, not so much.
“I didn’t say anything like that!” I told the poet. “Well, lord–” “It’s a poem, I know.”
Saved by a smashing closing battle and the happy inclusion of a poet. The dialogue involving the latter recovered a star of rating.
“The world of glory was gone and we were sinking into a darkness of smoke, fire, savagery, and blood.”