The Empty Throne is one of Bernard Cornwell’s best. Uhtred is written so well here, and he has such a strong voice and personality, I am constantly chuckling to myself at his downright rudeness – he’s becoming an impatient grey-bearded man!
“I wondered why the gods no longer came to earth. It would make belief so much easier.”
I have found that the deeper I delve into the Saxon Chronicles the more I enjoy them. There is a typical format for a Cornwell book, but there’s a reason why he is considered to be one of the greatest historical fiction writers ever. As the reader, you can see his passion and enthusiasm for this time period on each page.
“It takes a weak man to prove his strength by striking a woman.”
Uhtred has amassed a loyal band of warriors and family around himself. There are superb characters, such as the much loved Irishman Finan, as well as Uhtred’s fearsome daughter Stiorra and his son growing in stature. I loved the dynamics between this band and the epic politics surrounding them.
“I shook my head. ‘Killing isn’t woman’s work,’ I said. ‘Why not?’ she asked. ‘We give life, can’t we take it too?”
Uhtred manages to get himself involved in the Norns weave many times, decided the fate of his enemies, friends, even countries. He spends the majority of this book in a state of injury from the end of the previous book, and I loved the difference this made to his character.
“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable. We are given power and we lose it.”
5/5 – I completely loved The Empty Throne. It was full of defining moments for Uhtred and his followers. There were incredible duels – of swords, words and minds, as well as brilliant battle sequences. In my opinion, it is far superior to the second half of Season 4 of The Last Kingdom, which is based on this book.
Read The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell