Awesome story and great narrator. I would give it 5 starts if it were unabridged.
"Lords of the North" is the third book in Bernard Cornwell's excellent series, "The Saxon Chronicles," which covers the Danish invasion of England during Alfred the Great's reign. It was a time of incredible unrest; England was divided into four kingdoms, each one under attack by Danish invaders.
Alfred was king of the southern kingdom, Wessex, the last kingdom standing after the Danes took Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia. The first book "The Last Kingdom" describes this struggle, and introduces Uhtred, a 10-year-old Saxon boy who is captured and raised by the Danes after his father dies in battle. We follow Uhtred's adventures from age 10 to age 20, then in the second book "The Pale Horseman" we witness a year of conflict and changing allegiances as Uhtred fights for Alfred to push back the Danes.
"Lords of the North" begins with Uhtred travelling north to his ancestral home, as there is (relative) peace in the south. His uncle took his homestead, the huge stronghold Bebbanberg, and Uhtred feels it's time to try and take it back.
This book, as well as the others, contains lots of action, good explanations of the politics of England at the time, interesting discussions about the new religion of Christianity and how the pagan Danes relate to it, and most of all, has a hero that you just love. This is not a historical romance; while Uhtred does have a few romantic entanglements (in spite of his wife) the focus here is on the ongoing battle for control of England. Battle scenes are described in a realistic manner, and the fact that this was a violent time is not glossed over at all.
Excellent look into England's past, and how the Danes fit into our western heritage.