"The surprise is that Cornwell's love scenes are as deft as his action scenes, though far fewer, of course—all driven by a hard-shelled, sporadically soft-hearted, always charismatic protagonist: George Clooney alert."
It's 898, and life in pre-England is messy, turbulent, quite likely to be short and vividly evoked in Cornwell's masterful 46th novel (The Burning Land
, 2010, etc.).
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