Wednesday, February 21, 2007

What I'm reading...

Or more accurately, just got done with... "The Pale Horseman", by Bernard Cornwell. This is the second in his historical fiction series set during the reign of Alfred the Great of England.
The tale is told through the eyes of Uhtred, a fictional Northumbrian ealdorman (earl) who gets caught up in Alfred's story. Their relationship is antagonistic; Uhtred, having spent his formative years with the Danes (who are invading England) and being a proud, violent pagan, is bound by oath (and debt, by marriage) to the cause of Alfred, a very pious Christian, heavily influenced by the clergy and very distrustful of this young earl who is caught between two worlds. Alfred knows Uhtred has his uses, especially when he will begin to realize his dream of uniting all of England, north and south, and Uhtred is torn by his admiration of the Danes and his love for his homeland. The two hate each other, and this dynamic makes for a terrific story.
I'm pretty tight-fisted when it comes to buying books, but when I enjoy them as much as I have this series, it's very hard for me to have the patience to wait for them to come out in paperback (which usually takes a year after the hardback release). The third in the series, "Lords of the North", is already out in hardback, and it has taken a distinct effort of will for me not to rush out and get it, despite knowing we can't really afford it right now.
I've been an avid Sci-fi/fantasy reader for years, and its only lately that I've been getting into historical fiction. Man, have I been missing some gems! My first foray into the genre was "The Ten Thousand", by Michael Curtis Ford, a novelization of Xenophon's retreat from Persia to the shores of the Black Sea. I was so interested in the story, I rushed out to get the original, "Anabasis" by Xenophon. The real account was no less amazing than the novel. From then on, I've been hooked.

1 comment:

Julie said...

Sci-fi/fantasy and historical fiction are genres that I haven't dove into yet. I believe they don't get the credit they deserve (especially the sci-fi/fantasy). But I'll have to pick up some historical fiction novels and take a look (you've peaked my curiosity!) I suppose "The DaVinci Code" may have been historical fiction...
By the way, cool new additions to the site! I like the pic, and Will likes the links :)