Dare to Read

April 22, 2008

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 9:03 pm
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Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, Uhtred—and Britain—Struggles for Survival


I must confess I owe my introduction to Bernard Cornwell, the writer, to Sean Bean’s debonair performance as captain Richard Sharpe in the screen version of his Sharpe’s novels. And for that I will forever be in debt to Mr. Bean, because Bernard Cornwell’s writing is a rare, most satisfying treat.


Uhtred, the protagonist of his on going saga The Saxon Tales, is again a young warrior. Strong, handsome, fearless, and impetuous, Uhtred is nevertheless a devoted friend and a passionate and faithful lover.


Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, he is like his country (Britain in the ninth century AD) torn between two peoples, two cultures, two gods.

Raised by Ragnar the warrior Dane who killed his family and destroyed his village when he was ten, Uhtred grows to love his adoptive father and his Viking ways. But, as Uhtred reminds us repeatedly, the three sisters under the Tree of life spin the threads that are our lives and the boy’s world is again turned upside down when his new family is also killed and he, left to wander in the warring landscape that was England at the time.


Circumstances force Uhtred to swear his alliance to Alfred, the only Saxon king still fighting the Danes. Bound to him by honor now, he must help this king he despises, even as he knows that Alfred’s victory will impose a religion and a new order that will eventually destroy the world he loves.


Action packed, and terribly amusing, this is historical fiction at his best.

April 16, 2008

Book Review

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 12:44 pm
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The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner


Clever and Cunning, The Thief is King


No one said marriage is easy. The one between Eugenides, the spy/thief of Eddis and his sworn enemy the queen of Attolia seemed doomed from the start, a marriage of political convenience, imposed on Attolia by their rival kingdom. For how could the thief possibly love the queen responsible for the loss of his hand?


But Eugenides is anything but predictable and has married the queen for love, even if by doing so he must leave his beloved Eddis behind.


As the third book in this excellent series starts, Eugenides is stranded in the Attolian palace. Ridiculed by the Attolian courtesans, despised by the Queen guards and his own attendants, he endures their daily pranks, pretending to be a guileless idiot while weaving a web of intrigue to gain his queen’s heart and bring his enemies to their knees. If only he lives long enough.


Cleverly plotted and beautiful written, the story moves at a fast pace to a satisfying conclusion that answers many questions while posing new ones, 


Is the Queen pregnant as her fainting may suggest?

Where is Sophos, the heir of Sounis? Would he marry the Queen of Eddis?

Would the political situation in a not distant future set Eugenides against his cousin, the queen of Eddis?


The only thing I know for sure is that I’m impatiently waiting for the King’s return.