The Pale Horseman

Genre novels, by their nature, are meant to be predictable, and Cape Codder Cornwell's latest historical fiction is no exception. But it is a rowdy entertainment, full of Saxons, medieval slaughter, and stalwart men who say things like “You bastard piece of goat-dropping.” The author is best known for his Richard Sharpe series of Napoleonic military adventures, but here he shifts periods to King Alfred's wars against the Vikings, and he handles the material with an earthy touch. While never one to inject refinement into a sentence, Cornwell does a solid, tradesman's job of keeping the battle lines clear and the narrative quick.