Death of Kings. Bernard Cornwell (The Warrior Chronicles)

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9780007331802: Death of Kings. Bernard Cornwell (The Warrior Chronicles)

The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation. Alfred, the great king, is said to be dying. Rivals for his succession are poised to tear the kingdom apart. The country Alfred has worked thirty years to build is about to disintegrate. Uhtred, the King's warrior, Viking born but Saxon bred, wants more than anything else to go and fight to reclaim his stolen Northumbrian inheritance. But he knows that if he deserts the King's cause, Alfred's dream - and indeed the very future of the English nation - will very likely vanish. Death of Kings is an outstanding novel by a master storyteller of how England was made - and very nearly lost.

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Review:


George R.R. Martin Interviews Bernard Cornwell

George R.R. Martin sold his first story in 1971 and has been writing professionally since then. He spent ten years in Hollywood as a writer-producer, working on The Twilight Zone, Beauty and the Beast, and various feature films and television pilots that were never made. In the mid '90s he returned to prose, his first love, and began work on his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire. He has been in the Seven Kingdoms ever since.

George R.R. Martin: It has long been my contention that the historical novel and the epic fantasy are sisters under the skin, that the two genres have much in common. My series owes a lot to the work of J.R.R. Tolkien and the other great fantasists who came before me, but I've also read and enjoyed the work of historical novelists. Who were your own influences? Was historical fiction always your great passion? Did you ever read fantasy?

Bernard Cornwell: You're right--fantasy and historical novels are twins--and I've never been fond of the label 'fantasy' which is too broad a brush and has a fey quality. It seems to me you write historical novels in an invented world which is grounded in historical reality (if the books are set in the future then 'fantasy' magically becomes sci-fi). So I've been influenced by all three: fantasy, sci-fi and historical novels, though the largest influence has to be C.S. Forester's Hornblower books.

Martin: A familiar theme in a lot of epic fantasy is the conflict between good and evil. The villains are often Dark Lords of various ilks, with demonic henchmen and hordes of twisted, malformed underlings clad in black. The heroes are noble, brave, chaste, and very fair to look upon. Yes, Tolkien made something grand and glorious from that, but in the hands of lesser writers, well ... let's just say that sort of fantasy has lost its interest for me. It is the grey characters who interest me the most. Those are the sort I prefer to write about... and read about. It seems to me that you share that affinity. What is it about flawed characters that makes them more interesting than conventional heroes?

Cornwell: Maybe all our heroes are reflections of ourselves? I'm not claiming to be Richard Sharpe (God forbid), but I'm sure parts of my personality leaked into him (he's very grumpy in the morning). And perhaps flawed characters are more interesting because they are forced to make a choice… a conventionally good character will always do the moral, right thing. Boring. Sharpe often does the right thing, but usually for the wrong reasons, and that's much more interesting!

Martin: When Tolkien began writing The Lord of the Rings, it was intended as a sequel to The Hobbit. "The tale grew in the telling," he said later, when LOTR had grown into the trilogy we know today. That's a line I have often had occasion to quote over the years, as my own Song of Ice and Fire swelled from the three books I had originally sold to the seven books (five published, two more to write) I'm now producing. Much of your own work has taken the form of multi-part series. Are your tales too 'growing in the telling,' or do you know how long your journeys will take before you set out? Did you know how many books Uhtred's story would require, when you first sat down to write about him?

Cornwell: No idea! I don't even know what will happen in the next chapter, let alone the next book, and have no idea how many books there might be in a series. E.L. Doctorow said something I like which is that writing a novel is a bit like driving down an unfamiliar country road at night and you can only see as far ahead as your somewhat feeble headlamps show. I write into the darkness. I guess the joy of reading a book is to find out what happens, and for me that's the joy of writing one too!

From the Back Cover:

The latest chapter in the epic saga of the making of England, magnificently brought to life by "the reigning king of historical fiction" (USA Today), Bernard Cornwell.

As the ninth century wanes, Alfred the Great lies dying, his lifelong goal of a unified England in peril, his kingdom on the brink of chaos. Though his son, Edward, has been named his successor, there are other Saxon claimants to the throne—as well as ambitious pagan Vikings to the north. Torn between his vows to Alfred and the desire to reclaim his long-lost ancestral lands in the north, Uhtred, Saxon-born and Viking-raised, remains the king's warrior but has sworn no oath to the crown prince. Now he must make a momentous decision that will forever transform his life and the course of history: to take up arms—and Alfred's mantle—or lay down his sword and let his liege's dream of a unified kingdom die along with him.

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers, United Kingdom, 2014. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation. Alfred, the great king, is said to be dying. Rivals for his succession are poised to tear the kingdom apart. The country Alfred has worked thirty years to build is about to disintegrate. Uhtred, the King s warrior, Viking born but Saxon bred, wants more than anything else to go and fight to reclaim his stolen Northumbrian inheritance. But he knows that if he deserts the King s cause, Alfred s dream - and indeed the very future of the English nation - will very likely vanish. Death of Kings is an outstanding novel by a master storyteller of how England was made - and very nearly lost. Bookseller Inventory # AA89780007331802

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Book Description HarperCollins Publishers. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Death of Kings, Bernard Cornwell, The master of historical fiction presents the iconic story of King Alfred and the making of a nation. Alfred, the great king, is said to be dying. Rivals for his succession are poised to tear the kingdom apart. The country Alfred has worked thirty years to build is about to disintegrate. Uhtred, the King's warrior, Viking born but Saxon bred, wants more than anything else to go and fight to reclaim his stolen Northumbrian inheritance. But he knows that if he deserts the King's cause, Alfred's dream - and indeed the very future of the English nation - will very likely vanish. Death of Kings is an outstanding novel by a master storyteller of how England was made - and very nearly lost. Bookseller Inventory # B9780007331802

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