The Flame Bearer (The Last Kingdom #10) by Bernard Cornwell
Britain is at an uneasy peace. After their bloody defeat of Danish-held East Anglia, the West Saxons stand victorious while the Mercians have taken back their land on the border of Northumbria, the last kingdom of Britain still ruled by the pagan northmen. A precarious truce exists between Æthelflæd’s Mercia and Northumbria, now ruled by Uhtred of Bebbanburg’s son-in-law, Sigtryggr.
Under the cover of this fragile calm, Uhtred must begin his campaign that will end with the assault on Bebbanburg, the great fortress that is rightly his and was stolen from him in childhood. But his plans are shattered when the Scots surge down and lay claim to the north of England, as the West Saxons, under Uhtred’s old enemy, Æthelhelm, invade Northumbria from the south. If Uhtred is to succeed in recapturing Bebbanburg he must both defeat Æthelhelm’s forces and drive the Scots away before he can attack the formidable fortress by the sea. He has a small army and many enemies, but Uhtred is not the supreme warlord of Britain for nothing…
My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Finally after so many books and so many years Uhtred gets the chance to break free from the Saxons and make his claim for Bebbanburg in blood and violence.
Unlike so many of the other books in this series this one focuses solely on Uhtred and his ambitions. There is of course, some dealings with his Norse and Saxon allies as well as his Scots enemies but it’s all in the context of the assault on Bebbanburg.
I was really pleased that the Bebbanburg storyline was brought to a conclusion. I was beginning to wonder how long it could be kept going before it became ridiculous and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Uhtred’s story continues now as he ages and finally as Uhtred, Lord of Bebbanburg.