The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
England is at peace and Uhtred is unwanted after he kills a priest. His eldest son is accepted into the priesthood and is now known as Father Judas. Uhtred leaves to go Viking and hopefully reclaim Bebbanburg. Uhtred fails to reclaim Bebbanburg but kills his Uncle (AElfric) and takes his cousin's wife and son hostage. Alfred's bastard Osferth falls in love with her and Uhtred gives Osferth the boy.
Meanwhile Cnut has devised a scheme to usurp Mercia from Aethelred (Aetheflaed's husband). Uhtred hurries back to foil his plot. He finds where Cnut hide, his wife and children and takes them hostage. He then pretends to kill Cnut's daughter. Cnut follows Uhtred and eventually corners him. Just when all looks lost Pyrlig shows up with his Welsh warriors. Still outnumbered Uhtred's forces are managing to hold when King Edward shows up and Cnut and his men start to flee. Uhtred challenges Cnut to a duel. Cnut is killed and Uhtred is in a coma.
The ending of the book makes it sound as if Uhtred died, but in the Historical Notes Cornwell reveals that Uhtred will live.
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