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The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

The Pale Horseman

Part of the The Last Kingdom Series Series
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Sarah Broadhurst's view...

Wow, he is good. This is the second in a trilogy starring a young warrior, Uhtred, who was born British, captured and brought up by Vikings and now back fighting for Alfred the Great. He is a fascinating character torn between two cultures. A bit of a ‘wide boy’ and very much a lad of the time with a ruthless streak which he uses to further his own means, he is loyal in his own way, clever and very much a fighter. This is terrific stuff which I really would recommend to both genders. He created Sharpe but his big historical trilogies are broader in appeal.

Similar this month: None but try Simon Scarrow.
Comparison: C C Humphreys, Steven Pressfield, Juliet Marillier.

If you like Bernard Cornwell you might also like to read books by M. C. Scott, Simon Scarrow and Wilbur Smith.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

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The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell

It is the lowest time for the Saxons. Defeated comprehensively by the Vikings who now occupy most of England, Alfred and his very small group of surviving followers retreat to the trackless marshlands of Somerset. There, forced to move restlessly to escape betrayal or detection, using the marsh mists for cover, they travel by small boats from one island refuge to another, hoping that they can regroup and find some more strength and support.

Only Uhtred remains resolute. Determined to discover the enemy's strategies, he draws once again on his Viking upbringing, and attempts to enter the Viking camps. His plan is to become accepted by their leaders, and to sit in their councils and uncover their plans. But once there, the attractions of his many friends among the Vikings coupled with his disillusion with the Saxons' leadership and anger at Alfred's criticism of his own conduct, draws him back again to his allegiance to the Vikings.

The Pale Horseman, an even more powerful and dramatic book than The Last Kingdom, brings both Uhtred and the Saxons' dilemmas vividly to life.


Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail

'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer

It is stirring stuff, and few writers are better qualified than Cornwell to do justice to the excitement of the times...Ninth-century Britain and a master of storytelling -- it is a marriage made in heaven. Sunday Telegraph

About the Author

Bernard Cornwell

Born in Essex in 1944 Bernard Cornwell was adopted at the age of six weeks by two members of a strict fundamentalist sect called the Peculiar People. He grew up in a household that forbade alcohol, cigarettes, dances, television, conventional medicine and toy guns. Not surprisingly, he developed a fascination for military adventure. As a teenager he devoured CS Forester’s Hornblower novels and tried to enlist three times. Poor eyesight put paid to his dream, instead he went to university to read theology. On graduating, he became a teacher, then joined BBC’s Nationwide, working his way up the ladder to become head of current affairs at BBC Northern Ireland, then editor of Thames News. In 1979, his life changed when he fell in love with an American.

"Judy couldn’t live here, so I gave up my job and moved to the US. I couldn’t get a green card, and for 18 months the only thing I could do was write novels." The result was his first book about 19th century hero, Richard Sharpe, Sharpe’s Eagle.

In addition to the hugely successful Sharpe novels, Bernard Cornwell is the author of the Starbuck Chronicles, the Warlord trilogy, the Grail Quest series, the Alfred series and standalone battle books Azincourt and The Fort.

Bernard Cornwell owns houses in Cape Cod and Florida and two boats. Every year he takes two months off from his writing and spends most of his time on his 24 foot Cornish crabber, Royalist.

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Book Info

Publication date

22nd May 2006


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Harpercollins Publishers


Paperback (b Format)
464 pages


Action Adventure / Spy
Books for the Boys
Historical Fiction
eBook Favourites

Historical fiction



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