The cover blurbs on Bernard Cornwell’s books read “Perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today,” and frankly, you’ll get no arguments from me. I've come to love Cornwell, who is in every sense a Man's writer. There's no romance in these books and no literary pretension, so if you're looking for those elements, try something else. On the other hand, if you like bloody battles, cowardice and heroism, grim suffering and cruel murder, oath-making and breaking, hard drinking and mirth, and, most importantly, darned good storytelling, Cornwell's your man. His greatest strength is probably his ability to spin a compelling, fun tale, and he does it with a keen eye for historic accuracy.Or this about audio books (boy, oh boy, do I agree with this):
To hell with radio. Give me a good audio book any day. While the sap in his gas-guzzling SUV next to me had NPR droning away on the dial, I was listening in on the conversation of Uhtred Ragnarson, true Lord of Bebbanburg, and Danish warlord Ragnar Ragnarsson, as they shouted the joys of "Women and War!" while riding on horseback through Northern England circa 881. While the 20-something chick to my front in her Honda was rotting her brain listening to the vapid Destiny's Child, I was "seeing" the clash of shield walls, bloodied axes and swords, and screaming men. In my mind's eye I was watching viking longships under sail in the open sea, the bright light of morning gleaming off shield bosses and helmets, and smelling and hearing great feasting halls flowing with ale and bursting with loud song and the poems of skalds.Or this about Cormac McCarthey's The Road (which I've been afraid of but interested in):
And best of all this experience is "free" of charge....
So why read on? Well, as a father with two young children I can sympathize very strongly with the man's plight. His simple love for his boy keeps him going when suicide seems a better option. He carries a gun with two bullets left, and if found by scavenging cannibals, his plan is to use one bullet for his son and the last for himself. He wonders whether he'll have the courage to do so. The boy and his father sustain themselves with each other, and constantly tell each other that they're the good guys, and that they "carry the fire," a small, flickering flame in a world of cruel darkness.That's not even counting his review of Tolkein and the Great War or his cogent analysis of why Zemeckis' modern adaptation of Beowulf misses the mark. Go enjoy. Just make sure you have plenty of time to dig around all that good reading.