The Last Kingdom
Book 1, The Warrior Chronicles
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The first book in a brand new series, The Last Kingdom is set in England during the reign of King Alfred.
Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault.
The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.
The Last Kingdom, like most of Bernard Cornwell's books, is firmly based on true history. It is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants and of the enemies they faced, Viking warriors like Ivar the Boneless and his feared brother, Ubba. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most powerful and passionate novels.
'Cornwell is a virtuoso of historical fiction.' Sunday Telegraph
'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
About the author
Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC Television for seven years, mostly as a producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television’s Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.
“Our ancestors took this land. They took it and made it and held it. We do not give up what our ancestors gave us. They came across the sea and they fought here, and they built here and they're buried here. This is our land, mixed with our blood, strengthened with our bone. Ours!”
The Last Kingdom is the first book in Bernard Cornwell's epic Historical Fiction series The Saxon Stories. We get a 1st person account on the early life of Uhtred son of Uhtred a Saxon noble taken and captured by the invading Danes his brothers killer, after his homeland is conquered. Then he is raised among the Danes as one of their own to manhood.
I really enjoyed this yarn. The writing is sharp and gets sharper yet from the middle to the end of the novel.
It is the story of Uhtred and his conflicting loyalties towards the Danes and the Saxon's and the struggle within him that he dealt with.
I loved the contrast of the Danish society to that of the Saxons. Very good writing. Visceral, savage, bloody,
battles. You can almost smell the sweat, blood, and dirt, and hear the clash of sword, shield and axe, as the Dane and Saxon forces clashed in their shield walls. Beautifully written. Vivid.
I will definitely be buying the remaining books in the series today in fact. For I need to know what becomes of Uthred son of Uthred. Uthred Ragnorson! Uthred the GiftGiver! Uthred the Avenger! Uthred the WidowMaker!
Destiny is everything.
- Category: Historical
- Published: Oct 03, 2005
- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Seller: HarperCollins
- Print Length: 352 Pages
- Language: English
- Series: Book 1, The Warrior Chronicles