The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

About the book

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.

Reviewed by Valleydene Reading Group:

We all enjoyed this book and were quite surprised that we did – particularly being ladies reading what we would have thought was more of a man’s book. It was very well researched so we learnt a bit too.

Star rating: ****

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2 thoughts on “The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell”

  1. Review by Yateley U3A Reading Group:
    Everybody except two enjoyed this book. Very good descriptions of the battles and the way they lived. The young boy who was captured by the Danes was influenced by them, but his Saxon upbringing changed his views and he fought for King Alfred in the final battle. Very gripping tale.
    Star rating: ****


  2. Review by Museum Book Group
    Enjoyed by half the group as a good read. Disliked by the rest. We felt it was well researched and got the feel of the time and movement of the Danes and Saxons across England
    Star rating: **


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