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Douglas G.





Joined: 30 Mar 2004

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Wed 14 Feb, 2007 7:33 pm    Post subject: Lords of the North         Reply with quote

Well I broke down and bought Bernard Cornwell's latest in the Saxon Stories in hard cover last Saturday
while at Borders on a magazine run. I intended to make it last, reading no more than a chapter a go
but finished in three very satifying reads. Cornwell's craft gets better with each book he writes imho, even if
the Saxon Stories are sort of a War Lord series redux. With a few twists and the expectable plot line I
thoroughly enjoyed the book. If I have any complaint it would be the Nimue/Thyra similarity and it would be
only a small quibble at that. Oh, and that Cornwell was a bit stingy with the number of pages he provided the
reader to enjoy!

Best,

Doug Gentner
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Martin Wilkinson





Joined: 05 Mar 2006

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu 15 Feb, 2007 5:15 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I got Pale Horseman and Lords of the North for Christmas, within 4 days they were both finished and i want more, and i want it now...

I love this series, i agree that he gets better with every book.

I can't wait for the next in the series.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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Jim Adelsen
Industry Professional



Location: WI
Joined: 28 Dec 2005

Posts: 137

PostPosted: Thu 15 Feb, 2007 5:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I agree. I too finished the books very quickly. That is always a good sign. Now the first book by this Severin guy is going really slow for me....

Martin Wilkinson wrote:
I got Pale Horseman and Lords of the North for Christmas, within 4 days they were both finished and i want more, and i want it now...

I love this series, i agree that he gets better with every book.

I can't wait for the next in the series.

www.viking-shield.com
www.thevikingmuseum.com
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Thu 15 Feb, 2007 7:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just finished Lords of the North and, as usual, I was impressed with Cornwell's storytelling and his grasp of the history involved, or most of it. I do wonder just what it is that he has against Christianity. In The Pale Horeseman, we of The Lonmgship Company got considerable amusement out of his name for Uhtred's longship, the Fyrdraca, which is the same as the name for the longship that we had for years and years until we replaced it with the Sae Hrafn and sold the Fyrdraca to a re-enactment group in Missouri.

Fyrdaca means "Fire Dagon" and Sae Hrafn means "Sea Raven".

Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Martin Wilkinson





Joined: 05 Mar 2006

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Thu 15 Feb, 2007 11:36 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh Fuller wrote:
I just finished Lords of the North and, as usual, I was impressed with Cornwell's storytelling and his grasp of the history involved, or most of it. I do wonder just what it is that he has against Christianity. In The Pale Horeseman, we of The Lonmgship Company got considerable amusement out of his name for Uhtred's longship, the Fyrdraca, which is the same as the name for the longship that we had for years and years until we replaced it with the Sae Hrafn and sold the Fyrdraca to a re-enactment group in Missouri.

Fyrdaca means "Fire Dagon" and Sae Hrafn means "Sea Raven".


For the anti-Christian stand please see this thread: http://www.myArmoury.com/talk/viewtopic.php?t...d+cornwell

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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George Hill




Location: Atlanta Ga
Joined: 16 May 2005

Posts: 614

PostPosted: Thu 15 Feb, 2007 12:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have no opinion on those leanings, but I have noticed Cornwell has a serious axe to grind on the class war.

IE, In both Sharpe and the Grail Quest, the main Charater is of low birth...... Even when he isn't, as in the Grail Quest. Technically of noble decent, he's a bastard, and chooses the life of a low archer/superman over that of the higher status Men at arms, when it becomes an option.


Does the class war issue exist in the other books?

To abandon your shield is the basest of crimes. - --Tacitus on Germania
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 8:11 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Martin, I was the person who first raised the anti-Christian attitude in the thread to which you refer. I will note that Cornwell's position makes a great deal more sense from an historical perspective in his "Last Kingdom" series than it did in his "Warlord" series. I appreciate that Uhtred was the son of an Anglo-Saxon lord who had died fighting the Danes and whose inheritance had been stolen by his uncle. Uhtred was raised by pagan Danes and his religion is that of those who raised him, not Christianity. And we see the story through his eyes. I find the portrayal of Alfred as a priest-ridden weakling rather different and very interesting when compared to the usual hagiogrphies of him. It leads me to wonder just how much Cornwell is engaging in iconoclasm for shock value only or how much historical support he has for his portrayal of Alfred.

George, in "The Last Kingdom" series, the heroes are hardly of the common peasant stock. Uhtred is the son of the Lord of Bebbansburg (now Bamburg Castle) and his best friend is Ragnar, the son of the murdered Danish Northumbrian lord who had raised him. Both are born leaders and of what were the aristocracies of their people. He becomes invloved with Gisela, sister to the King of Northumbria. I shan't say more of this for it would spoil the story for you, but take my word on it.

In the "Warlord" series, both Arthur and Guinevere are noble of birth but the person through whose eyes we see the story develop is af extremely low birth, so it is hard to say how he sees the classes in those books.

Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Martin Wilkinson





Joined: 05 Mar 2006

Posts: 155

PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 10:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Hugh,

Just a few more thoughts (possibly retreads, i haven't reread what i posted in the other thread) on Bernard Cornwell and Christianity:

In Sharpe it plays little or no part, there is no negative slant, that i have come across.

In the Grail Quest series, the negative slant against the Church is because the Church is out to kill him, and the real negative slant is against Thomas' uncle, the last of a dead sect, the Cathars, so it could be said that the Grail Quest could be pro-Church, because Thomas is doing the churches work by fighting his Uncle.

In the Alfred series (i can't remember the name he gives them) the anti-Christian slant is because Uhtred was raised pagan, having spent his early years being force fed Christianity, Uhtred, finds what he believes to be salvation in the Danes religion. The constant attempts to convert him, by Alfred, and other Christian major characters doesn't make Uhtred want to trade religions so to speak, it was also a time when the Church was forcing itself on others and began to do what it would do for years to come, kill those who believe something different.

The Warlord series, i don't remember any stance about the Church, akin to Sharpe.

The Starbuck Chronicles (possibly my favourite of his works) is full of Christians, and in no way are they portrayed as bad, yes Col. Swindon is at first portrayed as a fool after his conversion, it quickly becomes obvious that he's not a fool, and respect appears.

I don't know much of the history of any of the periods he writes about so i can't comment on the portrayal of Alfred. And i have personally never seen any agenda in his writing. This is just the way i see it.

"A bullet you see may go anywhere, but steel's, almost bound to go somewhere."

Schola Gladiatoria
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Hugh Fuller




Location: Virginia
Joined: 01 Oct 2003

Posts: 256

PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 1:26 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I cannot speak to the "Starbuck" series as I gave up in disgust about halfway through the first book. It occurs to me that foreigners should not try to write about white Southern Americans of that era as thay invariably mess it up. I cannot remember the details, but Cromwell is not alone in this. Thomas Keneally, author of the excellent Schindler's List also wrote a stinker called Confederates that I could not finish as it had such a distorted view of the white Southern Americans of the period. The culture was a very insular and very peculiar one that takes someone who has lived with it for a bit to begin to understand it enough to do justice to its members.

In the "Warlord" series, any and all Christians are presented as scheming, devius, and genreally untrustworthy sorts, either cowardly or manipulative or both. The second book in the series sums it up best in its title; Enemy of God. As I said before, if you wish to see how Chistianity in Britain in the middle of the 1st Millenium can be fairly portrayed, try Jack Whyte's "Camulod Chronicles". especially their portrayal of Germannus and of Pelagianism.

In "The Last Kingdom" series, the presentation of the Christians does not become too bad until the third book, Lords of the North, but that one portrays almost all of them as fanatical and evil with the exception of Beocca, who is simply shown as a sort of "Holy Innocent."

Hugh
Still trying to walk in the Light
Please see 1 John 1:5
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Douglas G.





Joined: 30 Mar 2004

Posts: 156

PostPosted: Wed 21 Feb, 2007 6:56 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I don't think the books are "anti-Christian" so much as "anti-hypocrite" or "anti-zealot". In the Warlord series,
Bishop Samsun is devious more than devout, and the shrine with it's fraudulent "Holy Tree" a cash cow
to swindle believers on pilgrimage. At the same time, Galahad is a Christian who loves and is strong in his
faith, wishing to gently share the good news with Derfel and others.
In The Last Kingdom I would take issue with the statement that Beocca is simple. He is brave and his efforts
to convert stem from his genuine concern for Uhtred's soul. In both series, the Christians who are shown in a bad light
are those who seek to evangelize through force and coercion or cynically extract offerings.

That's how I see it anyway

Best,

Doug G.
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