Monday, December 12, 2016

Medieval House-keeping

The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8)The Empty Throne by Bernard Cornwell
Reviewed by Jason Koivu
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Like books four and five in the GoT series, much of this book feels like housekeeping. Perhaps I should say, hallkeeping or castlecleaning.

I thought maybe in The Empty Throne our half-Dane, half-Saxon hero Uhtred of Bebbanburg might finally regain his lands and castle, but instead the story veers away from what it seemed to be leading up to and turned its focus on the bigger picture. That's annoying, but perhaps it's for the best. The get-my-castle-back storyline was getting stale. Besides, if he got the castle back, that would be the end. In the very least, it would take a lot of wind of out this series' sails.

Like any and all Bernard Cornwell novels, there's fighting and at least some skirmishes, but this one was low-key compared to others in the series. There's a lot of discussion. Hell, there's essentially what adds up to a court room drama at one point. The fighting that does take place feels inconsequential to the bigger picture.

The book starts with a narration by Uhtred's son, which is done to keep up the suspense created at the end of the last book. However, I think Cornwell might've had a two-fold reason. I believe he wanted to give the son a try-out in the lead role. After all, Uhtred's no spring chicken. If Cornwell wants to keep this series rolling, sooner or later he's going to need a replacement for his hero. I know I'm ready for a change.

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