Despite my lack of painting I have managed some reading. Playing SAGA has reinvigourated my interest in the Dark Ages. I found Bernard Cornwells "The Last Kingdom" and read it really quickly. It is fairly light reading but very interesting. It explores the history of England accurately enough for the period and most importantly descibes the style of warfare excellently. The word shield-wall is used way to often but I guess that has to be expected. I liked how the religious life and its conflict with paganism is brought up. It is one of the conflicts of the main character.
The story follows Uthred, a dispossed noble of Northumbria, as he lives with the Danish invaders of his homeland and then journeys to Wessex. Wessex is the last kingdom of the Saxons and Uthred is torn between his heritage and his loyalty to the Danish. This is well exploited and provides some good internal conflict. The story really shines however when it gets to the battles. Bernard Cornwell describes these really well and you get some feeling of the massive pressure of the shield-walls and how the warriors there, almost face to face, struggle and die. So if you are looking for something good to read without overy complex plotting then I recommend this book. It is especially good as an audio-book.