The Flame Bearer by Bernard Cornwell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Uhtred finally retakes Bebbanburg.
The book opens with Uhtred laying siege to Bebbanburg but when Sigtryggr sends for help he is forced to abandon the siege. Which turns out to be lucky for him because he would have been caught on the plains and easily killed by the Scots (Constantin) who hope to claim Bebbanburg for their own.
Uhtred uncovers a plot by AEthelhelm (King Edward's Father in-law) to attack Edward's men and make it look like they were attacked by Sigtryggr's men, destroying the truce between the Saxons and the Danes. AEthelhelm also planned for AEthelstan (King Edward's oldest son by his first wife) to be leading Edward's men and hoped he would be killed in the attack paving the way for AEthelhelm's grandson to be King. King Edward sent Brunulf to lead his men instead of AEthelstan and Uhtred managed to save Brunulf and his men. Uhtred interrupts King Edward's council where AEthelhelm is calling for war against Sigtryggr and Uhtred for killing Brunulf with a very much alive Brunulf and the leaders of the attack (AEthelhelm's men) as prisoners. King Edward orders the prisoners executed and Uhtred blackmails AEthelhelm into doing what he wants, Uhtred also claims AEthelstan as his hostage in order to keep him safe.AEthelflaed (Edward's sister) is dying and can no longer protect AEthelstan. Uhtred gains a peace treaty for a year between the Danes and the Saxons.
Uhtred then sets out on a devious route to Bebbanburg. He plans to sneak into the fort when they hopefully mistake his ships as the ships (provided by AEthelhelm) they are expecting to resupply them. His plan works and the guards at Bebbanburg open the gate for his ships. With AEthelstan's help (AEthelstan is almost as good a warrior as Uhtred) Uhtred succeeds in defeating both AEthelhelm and his cousin Uhtred. AEthelstan persuades him to keep AEthelhelm as his prisoner and ransom him for a great deal of money which will replenish Uhtred's coffers and weaken AEthelhelm. He also insist on keeping AEthelhelm's daughter as a hostage since Uhtred Jr (one of Uhtred's son's that I refer to as the Warrior as he had another name until his older brother Uhtred became a priest) has taken a liking to her.
With Uhtred in charge the Scots withdraw.
Uhtred is thrilled to finally be HOME.
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