The flame bearer by Bernard Cornwell

The relative peace between Wessex, Mercia and Northumbria makes that Uhtred sets his hopes on reconquering his family castle of Bebbanburg. But the cunning King Constantin of Scotland forces him south, where lord Aethelhelm tries to persuade Uhtred’s son-in-law Sigtryggr to a fight.

This is the 10th book in the series and we are nearing the end (only three more to go after this one). Uhtred finally begins his lifelong quest to conquer Bebbanburg since Aethelflaed and Sigtryggr have signed a peace treaty that also king Edward of Wessex is willing to respect.

The previous book in the series ‘Warriors of the storm‘ killed off some of Uhtred’s bitter enemies. So ‘The flame bearer‘ introduces us to a few new characters and foes. Such as Lord Aethelhelm, who we already knew from the previous books but now takes a stand against Uhtred to support his grandson Aethelweard’s claim against that of Aethelstan. There’s also the Scottish king Constantin of whom we’ll see more in the next books I hope. And then there’s the mad and cunning bishop Ieremias. He was a Dane before he started to believe in Christian miracles and now wants to take hold of the holy island of Lindisfarne to build a church for -the nailed- God. A character only Cornwell can come up with.

This is one of the best books in the series because it’s full of intrigue and cunning tactics. And the book ends of course with a phenomenal battle scene on the walls of Bebbanburg (better known as Bamburgh Castle). This means that there’s less time for character development, but you can’t have everything. And ‘The flame bearer’ certainly has enough allure and offers pure entertainment. Up to the next one.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Have you read these books or seen the television series?