Friday, April 3, 2009

Lords of the North

I just got finished with taxes (ugh!) and while I'm waiting for the printer to spit out all those pages of forms, I thought I'd post a review here.

Lords of the North by Bernard Cornwall is the third book in the Saxon series.  It is all about King Alfred the Great, even though Alfred is not the main character.  It is seen through the eyes of Uthred, a Saxon who was raised by Danes and has a different viewpoint on Christianity and what makes England England.  I've review the first book, The Last Kingdom, already.  It took me awhile before I picked the series back up, not because I didn't like the series - far from it.  It was because some ne'er-do-well checked out the second book and kept it out for a looooong time.  I finally checked out the LARGE PRINT VERSION SO I COULD CONTINUE THE SERIES.  MUCH TO MY DISMAY, THE LARGE PRINT WAS ACTUALLY PRETTY NICE ON MY EYES...  Anyway, I thought I would share with you a paragraph from this book which shows why that even though it is historical fiction, the interweaving of mythology and Christianity makes this book a must read for anyone interested in either Norse mythology or how the early Christians handled the taking over of England.    Keep in mind that the narrator here is more inclined toward the Danes and so does not like Christians very much.

     I am no Christian. These days it does no good to confess that, for the bishops and abbots have too much influence and it is easier to pretend to a faith than to fight angry ideas. I was raised a Christian, but at ten years old, when I was taken into Ragnar's family, I discovered the old Saxon gods who were also the gods of the Danes and of the Norsemen, and their worship has always made more sense to me than bowing down to a god who belongs to a country so far away that I have met no one who has ever been there. Thor and Odin walked our hills, slept in our valleys, loved our women and drank from our streams, and that makes them seem like neighbors. The other thing I like about our gods is that they are not obsessed with us. They have their own squabbles and love affairs and seem to ignore us much of the time, but the Christian god has nothing better to do than to make rules for us. He makes rules, more rules, prohibitions and commandments, and he needs hundreds of black-robed priests and monks to make sure we obey those laws. He strikes me as a very grumpy god, that one, even though his priests are forever claiming that he loves us. I have never been so stupid as to think that Thor or Odin or Hoder loved me, though I hope at times they have thought me worthy of them. 

Overall, I give this a 5 lightning bolts out of 5 rating.  A must read!

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