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The Last Kingdom (Saxon Tales Book 1) by [Cornwell, Bernard]
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The Last Kingdom (Saxon Tales Book 1) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 952 customer reviews

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Length: 384 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Details

  • File Size: 1066 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0060530510
  • Publisher: HarperCollins e-books; Repack edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Publication Date: March 17, 2009
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC2RR2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,276 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kimberly Gelderman on December 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It is Northumbria, England, in the year 866. Uhtred, the son of an Earl becomes an orphan at ten and is captured and adopted by Ragnar the Dane. He is taught the Viking ways and Ragnar becomes more a father to him than his own father ever was. He loves the unrestricted, impious ways of the Danes and learns to become a formidable warrior.

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).
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Format: Hardcover
I've read almost all the Cornwell books: the Sharpe series, Civil War series, the archer, and King Arthur--only the 2 or 3 individual novels have been missed. This is my favorite so far. It is similar to the King Arthur books but with less of the mysticism and magic. The hero is a spunky boy who amuses a Viking chief during a battle and is adopted; the Norse life proves to be more suited to his taste and he grows up as a Dane. However, some old business brings him back to the English side. I won't tell more but any lover of historical fiction will find it hard to put this book down.
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Format: Hardcover
Just a few moments ago, I was writing a review of one of Cornwell's American Civil War novels. Now I am writing a review of this Cornwell novel about 9th Century England. That's how good a historical novelist Cornwell is: the era doesn't matter. Cornwell weaves fact and fiction together seamlessly, believably and in a way sure to engage the reader's interest.

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.

Jerry
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Format: Hardcover
As an avid reader of history and historical fiction, I have developed high standards. I was not disappointed with The Last Kingdom. It is not contrived, it does not have people acting outside of character to benefit the plot, and its descriptions of life in the times ring remarkably true. I can't wait for the sequel, and will likely dip into other Cornwell before it comes out.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
Name the Kings of England.

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.
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