“The Pagan Lord” is the seventh book in the Saxon Tales series by Bernard Cornwell. Cornwell is probably best known for his series of books about Richard Sharpe. The Saxon Tales, also known as the Saxon Chronicles or The Warrior Chronicles, are set in Britain in the ninth and tenth century. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is the protagonist. The stories take place during the Danish invasion of Britain and deal with the England becoming a nation. A television series named The Last Kingdom, also the name of the first novel, has been broadcast.
I have been reading the novels in the order of their publication. Two more have been published since “The Pagan Lord,” but I haven’t purchased them yet. Perhaps I can find time for them after I successfully finish this year’s challenge.
My next book, “A Most Wanted Man,” is my choice for a book published in the 2000’s. It is by John Le Carrė, one of my favorite author’s of International thrillers. I have been reading him since the early 1960’s when I read “A Murder of Quality” in a paperback edition. For about two decades I read everything that he published. Then my tastes evolved and I read less in that genre and added greater variety. But when I saw this book on sale, I snatched it up and decided that I wanted it for the reading challenge. I’m glad that I did because it is a fine book. Le Carrė has been described as one who writes literature but hides it in espionage thrillers. Or perhaps it was me who said that. At any rate, his writing has a quality that goes beyond the pot boilers that seem to be churned out by so many other authors. I’ll be buying more of his books, both old and new to read. I’ve been away from them for too long.
The next book I read, “Children of Ol’ Man River,” falls into the category of a book of any kind. It is basically a memoir written by Billy Bryant about his life as a performer on showboats in the early 1900’s. But it is more than a memoir because there is a forty-four page prologue by Martin Ridge that gives an overview of North American showboats. It is an interesting book, and a quick read. The book that I read was published by Lakeside Press, an imprint of R.R. Donnelley and Sons. The Lakeside Press books were not for sale to the general public, but were given as Christmas presents to Donnelley employees. My book was published in 1988. I picked it up, as well as a couple of others from Lakeside during a book swap with some friends and acquaintances. I know that I got the better of the deal. Most of the other people there stick to mysteries and thrillers.
Finally in this update I read “Kindness Goes Unpunished” by Craig Johnson. It is my entry as a mystery this year. It is one of the Walt Longmire mysteries. I bought this book over a year ago and have been waiting patiently for the right time to read it. As soon as I finished the previous book, “Kindness Goes Unpunished” started calling to me from my bookcase of unread books. I couldn’t wait any longer. I love the Longmire mysteries, and I finished this one in a little over twenty-four hours. I had to take time out to eat and sleep. I have another of the Longmire mysteries in my unread bookcase. I wonder how long I can hold out before grabbing it.