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Warriors of the Storm: Saxon Tales #9    by Bernard Cornwell order for
Warriors of the Storm
by Bernard Cornwell
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Warriors of the Storm is the ninth (following The Empty Throne) in Bernard Cornwell's exceptional historical Saxon Tales, which tell of the violent and fascinating life of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (born a Saxon but raised as a Dane).

Uhtred's dream is to reclaim Bebbanburg (treacherously taken from him by his uncle) but the impregnable Northumbrian fortress has long been surrounded by hostile Danes. At this point in the saga, Uhtred rules over northern Mercia (from Ceaster or modern Chester) in the name of Alfred's daughter AEthelflaed, whose brother Edward has succeeded their father Alfred as king.

Warriors of the Storm opens with an attack on Brunanburh (visible from well fortified Ceaster). The fort (led by Edward's bastard son AEthelstan) holds but Northmen (led by Ragnall Ivarson) destroy Uhtred's fleet. Ivarson has abandoned his Irish land and is after Britain, aided by Irish warriors.

As Uhtred tries to understand - and foil - the invaders' strategy and intentions, churchmen and AEthelflaed arrived at Ceaster for the enthronement of a new bishop, Leofstan, a good man whom Uhtred reluctantly finds he likes. And he's soon torn by urgent family matters, relating to his estranged elder son and to his daughter Stiorra who wed Ivarson's brother and is besieged in Ireland.

There are heroics and betrayals at every turn. There's sorcery from a woman scorned and even the injection of humor in the way Eostre, goddess of spring is celebrated and by whom. And Uhtred inches closer to his life goal. This series only gets better with each new episode.

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