Death of Kings was published in 2011, and I just got around to reading it. It is the sixth novel of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales series, a series that I have enjoyed immensely. The story continues to follow the Saxon warlord Uhtred of Bebbanburg who keeps fighting against a new Danish invasion of Wessex and Mercia. All of the tales are historical fiction, researched by the author.
This story is to me a rehash of previous plot, just with the change of King Alfred the Great is dying and we have Viking Warlords threatening once again. The previous novels in the series are much better than this one, but I still enjoyed the book and it still has the interesting characters that I have grown fond of. If you have not read any of the Saxon Tales, the novel is written as a first person narrative told by Uhtred the main character who is reflecting on his life story, a very violent tale, as basically the sword that is wielded by Alfred and eventually his son who becomes king. Uhtred is one of those Saxons who likes the Danes and their religion, dislikes Christianity, and struggles as a pagan in the Christian Saxon world, almost always being mistrusted by Alfred’s followers.
The novel was also published with a family tree of Alfred the Great and a historical note from the author regarding his research of the period. I must say that I did not know a lot about this period until I started reading this series of novels, the very first of which really hooked me. Since reading them in order, I’ve developed a desire to further study the period and especially the Vikings that invaded what was then England from that period. In the past I’ve generally been someone only really interested in the Roman periods and the Crusades. This has also lead into my current army build of Danish Vikings, and I am glad for that has been a tremendous amount of fun, and something that I will definitely be expanding upon in the future with some Gripping Beast Saxon Thegns and with their forth coming plastic Dark Ages miniatures.
So if you are like me and you are looking for some good historical fiction novels to read, I suggest giving the Saxon Tales a try.