The Last Kingdom

By Bernard Cornwell,

Book cover of The Last Kingdom

Book description

The first book in the epic and bestselling series that has gripped millions.

A hero will be forged from this broken land.

As seen on Netflix and BBC around the world.

In a land torn apart by conflict, an orphan boy has come of age. Raised by the Vikings, deadly…

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Why read it?

5 authors picked The Last Kingdom as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I’ve read pretty much everything by Bernard Cornwell, but The Last Kingdom (the first in a series of 13 novels) is most definitely my favorite, not only because it takes place during a time of English history I am most familiar with (very early Middle Ages), but because Uthred!! If you’ve seen the Netflix series, you know what I mean. I have a thing for warrior heroes, in case you haven’t noticed, and Uthred is the ultimate. The story is loosely based on a 9th-century warlord named Uthred the Bold—I recently learned that Cornwell is his descendent. Pretty cool.…

Cornwell is another student of history whose understanding of his time brings it to life. Uhtred, the dispossessed son of a nobleman, is brought up as a Dane. He is a memorable hero in a world that straddles the 9th and 10th centuries in what constituted the earliest kingdoms of Christian England in the time of Viking raids. I am fascinated by Cornwell's understanding of Viking life, of warfare and how weapons were used and to what effect. He seems to know more about historical weaponry that anyone else I have read in fiction. Uhtred is both likable, courageous, and…

From Leigh's list on capturing a moment in history.

This series is a fun, if bloody, romp through the late ninth and early ten centuries when the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were forcibly united by Alfred the Great and his descendants.

Saxon-born Uhtred of Bebbanburg is captured as a child by a Viking warlord and raised within the household until he is made homeless in a blood feud. He flees to Wessex and becomes a warrior in Alfred’s army where he is treated with respect for his fighting prowess but with suspicion for his Viking heritage. The books describe the course of Uhtred’s life as he grows in influence to…

Cornwell’s books still never fail to entertain me. His descriptions of battle scenes are without peer and the narrative never lags. If one can accept Cornwell’s delightfully honest admission that he sometimes plays fast-and-loose with the historical facts (he did this in his earlier Sharpe series, as well), then the reader will have a thoroughly fun read.

From Philip's list on wartime historical fiction.

The Last Kingdom is the first novel of the Saxon Chronicles and is one of my top series I’ve read to date. Cornwell is a master of bringing the gritty, gutty, politics, and warfare of the “Dark Ages” to life with his roguish hero, Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Born a Saxon, raised a Viking, Cornwell takes us on a journey through kingdoms in turmoil, invaders from across the seas, and cutthroat politics at home. Uhtred is constantly torn between his loyalties, cultures, and women, and all the while we are introduced to some of the most fascinating historical and fictional characters…

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