Бернард Корнуэлл: War Lord

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Бернард Корнуэлл War Lord
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    War Lord
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War Lord: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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IN THE FINAL RECKONING, CHOOSE YOUR SIDE CAREFULLY... The epic conclusion to the globally bestselling historical series, coming October 2020. After years fighting to reclaim his rightful home, Uhtred of Bebbanburg has returned to Northumbria. With his loyal band of warriors and a new woman by his side, his household is secure – yet Uhtred is far from safe. Beyond the walls of his impregnable fortress, a battle for power rages. To the south, King Æthelstan has unified the three kingdoms of Wessex, Mercia and East Anglia – and now eyes a bigger prize. To the north, King Constantine and other Scottish and Irish leaders seek to extend their borders and expand their dominion. Caught in the eye of the storm is Uhtred. Threatened and bribed by all sides, he faces an impossible choice: stay out of the struggle, risking his freedom, or throw himself into the cauldron of war and the most terrible battle Britain has ever experienced. Only fate can decide the outcome. The epic story of how...

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Bernard Cornwell



HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd

1 London Bridge Street

London SE1 9GF


First published in Great Britain by HarperCollinsPublishers 2020

Copyright © Bernard Cornwell 2020

Map © John Gilkes 2020

Cover design © HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd 2020

Cover photography © CollaborationJS/Arcangel Images

Bernard Cornwell asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.

A catalogue copy of this book is available from the British Library.

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author’s imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of the required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this e-book on screen. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, down-loaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of HarperCollins.

Source ISBN: 9780008183950

Ebook Edition © OCTOBER 2020 ISBN: 9780008183974

Version: 2020-09-15


War Lord

is for Alexander Dreymon



Title Page



Place Names


Part One: The Broken Oath

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Part Two: The Devil’s Work

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Part Three: The Slaughter

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Thirteen


Historical Note

Author Note

Keep Reading …

About the Author

Also by Bernard Cornwell

The SHARPE series

About the Publisher


The spelling of place names in Anglo-Saxon England was an uncertain business, with no consistency and no agreement even about the name itself. Thus London was variously rendered as Lundonia, Lundenberg, Lundenne, Lundene, Lundenwic, Lundenceaster and Lundres. Doubtless some readers will prefer other versions of the names listed below, but I have usually employed whichever spelling is cited in either the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-Names or the Cambridge Dictionary of English Place-Names for the years nearest or contained within Alfred’s reign, AD 871–899, but even that solution is not foolproof. Hayling Island, in 956, was written as both Heilincigae and Hæglingaiggæ. Nor have I been consistent myself; I have preferred the modern form Northumbria to Norðhymbralond to avoid the suggestion that the boundaries of the ancient kingdom coincide with those of the modern county. So this list of places mentioned in the book is, like the spellings themselves, capricious.


Bamburgh, Northumberland


Brimstage, Cheshire


Eamont Bridge, Cumbria

Cair Ligualid

Carlisle, Cumbria


Chester, Cheshire


Dacre, Cumbria


Wallasey Pool, Cheshire

Dun Eidyn

Edinburgh, Scotland


Durham, County Durham


River Eamont


York, Yorkshire

Farnea Islands

Farne Islands, Northumberland


River Forth


Whitley Castle, Cumbria


River Eden


Limerick, Ireland


Norse name for York


River Lowther




Lincoln, Lincolnshire


Lindisfarne Island, Northumbria




The Mersey




Isle of Man


Orkney Islands


Ramsbury, Wiltshire


River Ribble


Skipton, Yorkshire




Nottingham, Nottinghamshire



Strath Clota





River Thames


River Tees


River Tyne


River Tweed




River Wyre


The Wirral, Cheshire




The Broken Oath



Chain mail is hot in summer, even when covered with a pale linen shift. The metal is heavy and heats relentlessly. Beneath the mail is a leather liner, and that is hot too, and the sun that morning was furnace hot. My horse was irritable, tormented by flies. There was hardly any wind across the hills that crouched under the midday sun. Aldwyn, my servant, carried my spear and my iron-bound shield that was painted with the wolf’s head of Bebbanburg. Serpent-Breath, my sword, hung on my left side, her hilt almost too hot to touch. My helmet, with its silver wolf’s head crest, was on the saddle’s pommel. The helmet would encase my whole head, was lined with leather, and had cheek-pieces that laced over my mouth so all an enemy would see were my eyes framed in battle-steel. They would not see the sweat or the scars of a lifetime of war.

They would see the wolf’s head, the gold about my neck, and the thick arm rings won in battle. They would know me, and the bravest of them, or the stupidest, would want to kill me for the renown my death would bring. Which is why I had brought eighty-three men to the hill, because to kill me they would have to deal with my warriors too. We were the warriors of Bebbanburg, the savage wolf pack of the north. And one priest.

The priest, mounted on one of my stallions, wore no mail nor carried a weapon. He was half my age, yet already showed grey at his temples. He had a long face, clean-shaven, with shrewd eyes. He wore a long black robe and had a golden cross hanging from his neck. ‘Aren’t you hot in that dress?’ I growled at him.

‘Uncomfortably,’ he said. We spoke in Danish, his native language and the tongue of my childhood.

‘Why,’ I asked, ‘am I always fighting for the wrong side?’

He smiled at that. ‘Even you can’t escape fate, Lord Uhtred. You must do God’s work whether you wish it or not.’

I bit back an angry retort and just stared into the wide treeless valley where the sun glared off pale rocks and shivered silver from a small stream. Sheep grazed high on the eastern hillside. The shepherd had seen us and was trying to move his flock south away from us, but his two dogs were hot, tired and thirsty and they panicked the sheep rather than herded them. The shepherd had nothing to fear from us, but he saw riders on the hill and saw sunlight glinting from weapons and so he feared. Deep in the valley the Roman road, now little more than a track of beaten earth edged with half-buried and overgrown stones, ran straight as a spear-haft beside the stream before bending west just beneath the hill where we waited. A hawk circled above the road’s bend, the still wings tilting to the warm air. The far southern horizon shimmered.

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