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The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Chronicles Series #1) Paperback – January 3, 2006
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Top Customer Reviews
King Alfred, (later known as "The Great") is portrayed as an over pious but clever King of Essex. While Alfred is not a well-liked King, he is an intelligent one and soon comes to bind Uhtred to his cause against the Danes.
The brutally descriptive battle scenes are exciting and repellant at the same time. Battles and wars are not described here as glorious and heroic circumstances but as what they really were, brutal, bloody, and often times fatal.
This title was an excellent read and I just couldn't put it down many times at night. I've read it until the wee hours of the morning. I believe this is the best BC title I have ever read to date, even though I haven't read any of the Sharpe's novels (that era and place settings are not of interest to me). I highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in early English (Saxon) history and/or Alfred the Great (and in the upcoming series, his descendants).
The year is 866 A.D. The island is not yet united and the Danes raid and conquer at will. Cornwell's device is Uhtred, the 10 year old son of a minor chieftain, who is taken by the Danes, raised in the Viking ways of war and accepted as a Viking warrior.
A priest becomes the medium through which the boy grows into a man and meets Alfred, the King who will take the first major steps in uniting England.
Cornwell's story is well plotted, his characters are delightfully rich and his history both interesting and fascinating. A wonderful read.
The book tells the tale of the Danish invasion of Britain in the ninth century through the eyes of Uhtred, a Northumbrian ealdorman who is orphaned at age ten and sees his patrimony stolen by an uncle. Raised by his Danish captors, he grows into an accomplished warrior while grappling with conflicting loyalties and religious convictions. Don't start this book if you have something else that needs to be done quickly, since you may find that you can't do anything until the last page is turned.
Well, there's mad old George III, who lost the Revolutionary War. That's one. And Henry VII, everyone remembers him. After that, there's King James, who we recall from his version of the Bible, and the one who gave up his crown to marry the American woman, and the one who got his head chopped off.
After them, and maybe Richard III from the Shakespeare play, the collective memory (at least on this side of the Atlantic) goes a bit dim.
But only one of those Kings of England who we really don't know or remember was named "the Great," and that was Alfred, who ruled from 871 to 900, back in the days when the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle was on the bestseller list, at least for people who could read. Bernard Cornwell thinks we should know more about Alfred and his times, which is why he has written THE LAST KINGDOM. That should be enough of a recommendation for anyone.
Cornwell is the author of the bestselling Richard Sharpe series, which follows the adventures of a hard-charging British soldier during the Peninsular Campaign. Although Sharpe is a great character by himself, one thing he serves to do is to illustrate the greatness of Lord Wellington --- the commander of the British forces in Spain, and Sharpe's own patron. Wellington (at least as portrayed by Cornwell) is far too stiff, aloof and unlikable to ever be the hero of his own tale, and Sharpe ably stands in.
The same trick is tried in THE LAST KINGDOM, with a twist. The first-person narrator here is Uhtred, who is the son of a minor lord of Northumbria. As a child, he is captured by a raiding pack of Danes that are "going Viking," or raiding the coast.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this a number of years ago and enjoyed it very much. I found it to be well written and an entertaining read. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Amazon Customer
Not sure who I wanted to win here, the Vikings or the English. Have had so many recommendations for this series that I confess to being hesitant to read in case I was disappointed. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Cphe
Bernard Cornwell paints a detailed picture of life in 9th century England so well that the sets of the BBC America broadcast series look comfortably familiar. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this book so much, that after reading it, I bought the second book in the series. The characters are interesting, and have real depth. Read morePublished 5 days ago by Taffy
Watched the series, wanted to see what happens next. The first two novels are covered in the recent BBC series "The Last Kingdom. Read morePublished 6 days ago by Hire me for Voiceovers!
Third time around this series.. Lots of similar repeated phrases throughout each book. Would like a footnote or something on place names to explain their current day locations (not... Read morePublished 7 days ago by Terry
Wonderful historical fiction. Uthred is almost as cool as Sharpe. Went to Cornwall for vacation,had to read The Last Kingdom again. Still a fine read, even the third time. Read morePublished 8 days ago by John M. Alderman