Bernard Cornwell never disappoints, and his latest historical fiction, The Pagan Lord, is no exception. Part of his excellent Saxon Tales series, the book covers the lead up and importance of the battle of Tettenhall in 910. The Saxon Tales series is set during a very interesting time in British history when the Saxons and Danes were struggling to achieve dominance over the island and Christianity was making inroads against pagan beliefs on both sides. I find it fascinating to read about how cultures clash and change, and how those changes are usually layered and iterative rather than something that happens all at once.
Because it’s part of an ongoing series, readers will be familiar with the main characters in the book, and setting those familiar faces in the context of an otherwise little remembered battle helps to give a sense of perspective and a flavor for how war and politics affected real people in those days.
If you’re a fan of historical fiction (especially if you like battle scenes, because Cornwell is a master of those) I’d highly recommend this book, but start at the beginning of the series if you haven’t read those first.
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