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Tenth-century Britain is a chessboard of minor monarchs and nobles, all scheming for advantage and riches. One of them, Uhtred Uhtredson, of Saxon parentage and Danish upbringing, is now past 50. The lord of a small estate, Uhtred finds his world falling apart when he kills an abbot by mistake, provoking a curse, and the leader of the Danes burns his house and kidnaps his consort. Also nagging at Uhtred is the hold on his ancestral city by his treacherous uncle. Grouchy, ribald, and ferocious, Uhtred crisscrosses England in search of the reasons behind his recent misfortune and to recover what was taken from him. This seventh entry in the "Saxon Tales" (after Death of Kings) would not be a Cornwell novel if it did not have more than a few great battle scenes, as well. Verdict Cornwell, a master of historical fiction, has written another energetic and involving mix of history and storytelling that will please his many fans. You could even entice a reluctant male reader with a sweeping story like this. [See Prepub Alert, 7/29/13.]-W. Keith McCoy, Somerset Cty. Lib. Syst., Bridgewater, NJ (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.