The Pagan Lord by Bernard Cornwell

If you like historical fiction based in the medieval England this is a must read. While a work of fiction based on actual facts this book opened my eyes to what England must have been a thousand years ago. A beautiful brutal land in constant conflict between the Saxons and the Danes. The book recounts how at one point England almost become Daneland, had it not been for the tireless and ingenious maneuverings done by one lord. This lord decides to side with the overwhelmingly Christian Saxons despite his legacy and faith in the old Norse gods. Initially outcast by the Christians for killing a priest who dared oppose him the tables turn when the former realize that prayer alone is not enough to cull the Danish horde. What I find incredibly compelling about Cornwell’s writing in this book is his ability to transport you into the fighting scenes. He recounts in intricate detail the lord’s sword-fights which elevate his persona from that of simple hardened general to that of a legendary warrior who fights for what he believes is right.

Rating: 5/5

The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel

If you like the Earth’s Children series this is a recommended read. Note that I didn’t say “must read”. The reason I do not recommend this book like its predecessors is that it is a bit too long-winded at times. In fact, there were many times when I had stopped reading it altogether. However, due to the fact that is the last book in the saga (probably the last from Auel), my love of pre-historical fiction, the well developed characters and the “epic”-ness of the story I found myself being drawn back. All in all it is a decent book but mostly one for the fans.

Rating: 3/5