The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom

By Bernard Cornwell

  • Release Date: 2009-03-17
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4.5
4.5
From 351 Ratings
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Description

The first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit BBC America television series.

This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.

This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.

Reviews

  • Excellent Start to a Gripping, Informative Series

    5
    By auagfinder
    The Last Kingdom is the first of who knows how many Saxon Chronicle novels. As of early 2014, there are six(6), and there will be more. English history in the late 800's through mid 900's is told from the point of view of a Saxon War Chief, Uhtred. The nature of battles from that time is told in gritty detail. The relationship between the early Christian church in England and the warriors who fought the battles is a focus of the series. If one or two battles had gone in a different direction, there would be no England or English language. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Mr. Cornwall is on a level with Steven Pressfield in the quality of his writing and the gripping nature of the story lines.
  • A great read!

    5
    By Pam-O-Land
    Fascinating historical novel, told narrative style by a young warrior. Uhtred is a character you love to follow. Even through the blood 'n'guts of battle, he is fearless, daring, and all too human. Can't wait to read the sequel!
  • As goods it gets

    5
    By redjack63
    Cornwell is a masterful storyteller, and books are grounded in history. The Last Kingdom sets the stage for what is to be a great epic series and keeps you riveted until the very last page.
  • Ugh-find something else to read

    1
    By 3penny
    Lots of murder, mayhem and tedious battle scenes. The characters are for the most part uninteresting and sort of hard to keep straight. You might learn a little bit about England during this era, but mostly what you come away with a profound sense of relief that you weren't around then. I for one will not be reading any more books in this series (and I actually liked Game of Thrones!)
  • Amazing!

    5
    By Crystal Mattingly
    I love these stories! Bernard Cornwell is the best I have found in this genre. Have read books 1 through 3 in less than a week. Uhtred is a character I could just keep reading about.
  • Cornwell is the best

    5
    By skeletorsambora
    The Warlord Chronicles were so good I read them twice. I just finished this book and can't wait to start the Pale Horsemen.
  • JV rendition of Game of Thrones.

    1
    By Lynz1111
    JV rendition of Game of Thrones.
  • Exciting

    5
    By Kathy5723
    We have lived in Germany 9 years in the recent past. We toured much of England in our adventures. We developed a great interest in the Middle Ages, before and after. Having always enjoyed Vikings we appreciated the great details and history. Thank you for the Wonderful adventures! Den & Kathy Ryan
  • The Last Kingdom

    5
    By Gadaire
    Terrific weaving of history and fiction. Prepare to stay up late as you finish the tale!
  • Good popcorn novel - shallow, though

    2
    By John D.
    Great action novel about early English history. Don't look for well-rounded characters - the Danes are all bloodthirsty killers, the women only exist to be "humped" (willingly or not), the priests and Christians (with a few token exceptions) are all hypocrites and Alfred is the biggest hypocrite of all. And the protagonist is supremely unlikable. The gist of the story seems to be that he who has the biggest sword is entitled to rape and pillage the most. That being said - it's a great action novel, and you do learn a bit of Anglo-Saxon history. Just take it with a grain of salt.

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