War of the Wolf (Saxon Tales)

Written by Bernard Cornwell
Review by Jeff Westerhoff

In the early 920s, Edward, King of Mercia, wishes to fulfill the dream of his father, King Alfred, and unite all the kingdoms of England. Uhtred of Bebbanburg, who lives in the kingdom of Northumbria, and territories in the west under control of the Danes, remains independent of Edward’s control. There is also a scramble within Mercia as to who will succeed Edward. Uhtred, a legendary warrior of both Dane and Saxon heritage, remains a pagan rather than convert to the growing Christian church.

Uhtred learns that his daughter, the Queen of Northumbria, has been killed in a battle with a Norse army of “wolf warriors” led by Sköll, who wants to become the King of Northumbria, a position held by Uhtred’s son-in-law.

This is the 11th book in the Saxon Tales series, and I can never get enough of Bernard Cornwell. In my opinion, he is the master of adventure novels. His writing is exceptional because of his use of dialog and his ability to bring tenth-century England alive, packing his narrative with a wealth of well-researched detail. His writing is a wide ambitious sweep that follows Uhtred and his supporting cast of characters through turbulent years in English history. The battle scenes are exciting, authentic, and suitably gruesome. Prepare to be immersed in this novel.