Monday, 10 April 2017

WARRIORS OF THE STORM by Bernard Cornwell



  It has been a long time between drinks for me and, after a couple years since the last time I had read a book in this series, boy, it sure was good to be back drinking from the well of Bernard Cornwell's Uhtred.

   I've missed the big guy, with all his scorching, sardonic quips and his unabashed mocking of just about anybody, he is a big personality to endure, and I endure him with such delight and immense gratitude.
   Rarely does a character, consistently, make me smile and laugh out loud as much as Uhtred Uhtredsson of Bebbanburg. He is a character to be enjoyed and can carry these books and their stories on his back alone. No other character can compete and, thankfully, Bernard Cornwell never lets them. His Uhtred takes centre stage at all times. And most especially so in this book. Number nine in the series.

  These books are stand alone. Cornwell always reiterates important back history so that people who are reading them as a stand alone, or who read the series but need a refresher, can follow along fairly seamlessly. If you do read the series, however, this book has a lot of closing chapters in it. With characters you have known for many, many years, leaving the series for good. I will not tell you who they are, so as not to spoil things, but like or loathe them, it is always a little sad to see characters that we have gotten to know over many years, finally become no more.
We even learned a thing or two about Finan in this book. His storyline was fascinating to follow and it felt like another loose end tied up. But, Uhtred is on to new chapters in his life, including, in maybe only a few more books, the end of his own story and the passing of an era, so it is expected to see some loose ends come together. It makes no sense to weave them to their conclusions in the last two books. That would be rushing it.

  Warriors of the Storm turned out to be one of my favourites of the series. I loved it from start to finish. It could be because the leave taking of a few lingering characters from earlier books left me feeling sentimental. It could be because I did have a break for a couple of years and completely forgot how much I enjoy these books. Or, it could simply be because the book was a bloody good read. I am thinking it is all three, but in saying that, without the first two, I would still regard it highly and recommend to others based on nothing more than it being that good read. The former two matter little when it comes to me thinking of recommending it.

  With battles and strategies, twists and turns (that you may or may not see coming), short journeys, some seafaring, some nostalgia, Christians who were tolerable for a change and Danes like we love them, brutal, blustery and bombastic, this was an entertaining, well paced read, that made me want to read it all over again as soon as I'd finished it.

5 out of 5 stars.

-MM