The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
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The Last Kingdom (The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories #1)

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  21,108 ratings  ·  1,130 reviews
In the middle years of the ninth-century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England—and the course of history—depended upon one man, one king.

From New York Times bestselling storyteller Bernard Cornwell comes a rousing epi...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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Best Historical Fiction
106th out of 4,099 books — 17,527 voters
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A&M Historical Fiction Group Recommended Reading
1st out of 118 books — 289 voters


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Community Reviews

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StoryTellerShannon
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
h.
Aug 21, 2013 h. rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone looking to escape
Shelves: a-lot-of-book
A Review That Has Very Little to Do with This Book:

Sometimes you need a lot of book. You know what I mean.

Those Fridays you come home, lie down on the couch, and resolve not to come back until Sunday afternoon. You have vetoed faces and the spoken word. The phone will remain unplugged except for the ordering of something greasy.

On these Fridays you have two options: dissolve into a self-pitying, gelatinous blob or turn to a lot of book.

You are not without survival skills. You put stock in the...more
Willow
I had no idea what I was getting into when I read this book. I'd never read Bernard Cornwell. All I knew was that it was a book about Vikings.

Anyway, I absolutely loved it! And I became a permanent Bernard Cornwell fan. I think Uhtred is one of my favorite characters of all time. Yes he’s mean, arrogant, and a bit of an antihero, but he’s a full blooded character, and I felt like I really got to know him.

This book goes through Uhtred’s childhood as a Saxon raised by the Danes, and after readin...more
Jason Koivu
The Last Kingdom is the beginning of Bernard Cornwell's take on the Alfred the Great story. The series starts in the year 866 and follows the son of a lesser Saxon lord, whose father is killed. The boy loses his inheritance and is raised by the Danes, who are threatening to overrun all of what will one day be called England.

The boy, who comes to be called Uhtred, prefers the ways of the Danes, especially their freedom and their gods, over the Saxons and their pious Christian priests. The book l...more
Hana Zakova
Asolutely loved it. I went to the library and randomly picked a book. It was The Pale Horseman, and I realized it was second part of Ulthred's life, so I went back and got this first part out. I love England and so I loved those 3 books. (now waiting for another to come out. There must be 4 book.) It's the same feeling like waiting for Harry Potter books to come out.
Alicja
rating: 5.5/5

Love, love, love it! An English boy gets captured by the Danes/Vikings. He is raised by his captor, Ragnar, as a son whom he grows to love like a father. But fate is peculiar and when Uhtred can't deny his English roots anymore he goes to battle under King Alfred's banner against the invading Danes.

It is funny, intense, bloody, passionate, gritty, witty, dark, sarcastic and, did I already mention, funny. I just couldn't not fall in love with Uhtred, the boy who went foolishly chargi...more
Will M.
Jul 11, 2014 Will M. rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Will by: Markus

I've been a huge history fan ever since I was young. Especially Greek, Roman, and Egyptian history. I've never really read or watched other histories like UK, American, Russian, Asian, etc. Lately though, I've been wanting to read more of UK and Russian, so I was pretty excited to read this.

This was a fantastic novel about the life of Uthred. That kid's freakin' amazing. He started out strong, as a child, and continued to develop into a powerful man. Despite being held captive, he found a way to...more
Terri
Update: I did a reread of this September 2011. Still love it. :) Below review is from 2009.

Well, where do I start????......as I write this review I am in the middle of the fourth book in this Saxon series, Swordsong, so I have a few more reviews to do after this one and I admit, I want so badly to just gush. But, I need to save some for the other reviews. The reviews of The Pale Horseman and The Lords of the North.
So, here's where I will start...
WOW! I can't get enough of this character and this...more
Lance Greenfield
The graphic descriptions in this book, some of them very violent and gory, others depicting the smells and sights of the ninth century, are wonderful. They do what historical fiction should do: bring the history of the age to life.

Cornwell bends recorded historical recorded fact, which is something by which I am never fully convinced, to suit his good story.

Uhthred is the leading character. We witness his development over ten years from the age of ten. He becomes heir to a minor lordship in the...more
JG (The Introverted Reader)
The Last Kingdom is the story of Uhtred Uhtredson, the 10-year-old son of an English earl who is kidnapped in a battle against the Danish invaders of England. He becomes more and more Danish, but he always knows deep in his heart that he is truly an Englishman. As Uhtred gets older, he comes to the attention of King Alfred the Great. He becomes something of a pawn in the war between the Danes and the last free kingdom of England.

To be fair, I wasn't really in the mood for this when I read it, bu...more
Markus
A brilliant introduction to the best series ever written within the genre of historical fiction.
Cornwell's eloquent writing style, the first-person narrative, the magnificent early medieval setting, the most interesting and conflicted main character I have ever read about and historical realism gracefully and skillfully combined with masterly storytelling ; all of it adds up to a truly fascinating story of war, love and death in Anglo-Saxon England.
Ajj
I will just review this book but what I say will count for all the books in the Saxon Chronicles.

These books are good for people who want viking themed adventure that is not too difficult or rewarding. While the plot is engaging it is not brilliant. The characters are not really developed or very exciting and most people seem to be quite one dimensional. The characters are either blood thirsty, greedy, pious, or manipulative. While some of them are generated from historical figures no one really...more
Adam
I finally get what all the hubbub is about Bernard Cornwell, because this novel was fantastic. Absorbing from start to finish and detailed enough that you can actually feel like you are part of the world he has created. I had read two previous books by Mr Cornwell and thought they were good to very good, but this one has convinced me that he can be extraordinary. I am excited to see where he goes with this series.
Sherri
I have never read anything by Bernard Cornwell before but another book by him caught my attention on the library shelves. Once I realized that this was the first book of the series, I picked it up to read and I am so glad that I did.

I found it to be a colourful, creative work that kept my attention throughout. Will definitely be reading the next books in this series and others from this author.
Bryn Hammond
I’m sorry, this review is about religion. Why? It spoilt the book for me. I thought we saw only the worst side of Christianity, or rather the most pathetic side. Pathetic’s a description from the book. It seemed a lampoon to me, and that interrupted my enjoyment: my belief flew out the window and I had to try to drag it back.

My sympathies are with the heathen cause – I’d have fought in the last of heathen ditches. Even so, a couple of times he rode roughshod on my feelings. The martyrdom of King...more
Erica
There are enough reviews written about this novel, so I'll just say that I loved, loved, loved this book. I can't wait to start The Pale Horseman. Bernard Cornwell is one of my all time favorite authors.
Nate
Great edutainment. Cornwell paints a vivid picture of 9th century Britain and the amount of turmoil that was gripping the continent makes the plot really move. Uhtred is a strange protagonist, in the sense that he's kind of an anti-hero that Cornwell uses as a participant and witness to the events that took place during this period of history. In that sense it was hard to relate to him because he's a brutal, blunt killer that rejoices in the shield wall, reputation, pride, and all that manly stu...more
Benandkaren
This is a very good work of historical fiction. Told through the eyes of Uhtred, a Northumbrian child who is "captured" by the Danes during their invasion and is essentially raised as a viking. After betrayals and various personal losses, he retreats to Wessex, the only section of England not yet conquered by the Danes. Uhtred grows as a warrior, deals with the conflicts of being both English and an adopted-Dane, and sees the battles of a exceedingly devout Alfred the Great holding off the pagan...more
Jamie
Historical fiction set in England a couple of centuries before the Norman conquest. This is the first book of a series that covers the reign of Alfred the Great, who united the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms against the invading Danes, who we now call Vikings.

The story has an effective narrator: a Saxon boy who is captured and adopted by one of the Danish invaders, and therefore struggles with conflicting loyalties as he grows up. He does not want to see his homeland conquered by the Danes, but he prefers...more
Chance Maree
I'm becoming a fan of historical fiction but have not read enough to offer comparisons or to have developed a distinguishing palate. Nonetheless, I found The Last Kingdom interesting. There was gore galore, and very little romanticism of the age. One gold nugget I'll take away from this story is its insight into the psyche of a warrior--the drive, the blood lust of battle, the song of the sword -- I can't say I've understood as well as after having read this novel.

The central theme of The Saxon...more
Heather
Loved this! The Middle Ages has always been one of my favorite periods of history so this book was right up my alley. Reading this, it’s easy to see why Cornwell is such a well respected author in the historical fiction realm. The story, the setting, and the characters all felt incredibly authentic. I loved that the story was told by the main character, Uhtred, and that we get to experience it through his eyes. That really helped to pull me in and connect me to the story by making it feel more p...more
Marlene Cabrera
I have not written a review in a very long time, but I felt that this book was worth it. When I first started reading it the beginning seemed a bit too slow for my taste. But as the story progressed I found myself resisting the urge to stop everything and continue reading. I thought the plot had a good deal of twists and turns to help keep the reader interested, while still maintaing a focal point in the story as a whole. However at times the multiple locations used in the novel as well as the...more
Chris
3.25 stars.

A very good introduction to the Saxon series, and I do hope to continue and enjoy that series. It could be that Cornwell hurts his own rating here, as I've recently read the Warlord Series and this book just wasn't in the same league. Not quite. It has potential to grow to an equal level with more books in the series, so we'll just have to see if it meets that standard.

Unai
No voy a negar que lo que me ha hecho leer el principio de esta saga, es lo mucho que disfruto de la serie Vikings y como tal, aunque las diferencias son notables, es a su vez una novela bastante disfrutable y violenta, como los tiempos que relata.
La mayor diferencia con lo que vemos en la serie, es que aquí los Vikingos, mayormente llamados Daneses, ya que según aclara Cornwell, vikingo se refiere mas a una actitud y concretamente a cuando saqueaban.... no están de rapiña, sino de conquista y e...more
Stewart
This was my first experience of Bernard Cornwell.

I thought this book was OK. I read it because it was the book on radio 4's Book Club and thought it would be interesting to read the book then listen to the programme. I wasn't overly impressed with it (the book. Still to listen to the programme). It is certainly not great literature, but then again, I don't suppose it purports to be. The sort of book I would read on the beach, if I ever went on holiday.

Early on in the book I was reminded of the s...more
Reinhold
Bernard Cornwell lernte ich schon lieben, als ich seine Artustrilogie verschlang. Und auch mit diesem Buch konnte er mich wieder voll und ganz überzeugen. "The Last Kingdom" bildet den Auftakt zu einer Serie rund um die Entstehung des Danelag auf der britischen Insel. Es ist auch die Geschichte des Aufstiegs des ersten englischen Königs Alfred, des einzigen britischen Monarchen der den Beinamen "der Große" trägt.

Der Icherzähler der Geschichte, Uhtred, wird mit gerade mal zehn Jahren Zeuge wie di...more
Bill Krieger
Women have romance novels. We guys have books like The Last Kingdom. It's some great guy 9th century action with Vikings invading England and silver hordes and swords with names (Wasp-Sting and Serpent-Breath) and hot chicks and shield walls and... all culminating in a great battle between Uhtred Ragnarson and Ubba.

QOTD

"English filth," he shouted and swung a third time, but this time I stepped back and flicked Serpent-Breath out in an attempt to cut off his ax hand, but he was fast, snake fast,
...more
Lucille
There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed- the overall piece of history that was the Danes vs the English, the action scenes, the conflicting emotions of a boy being raised by the people who invaded his country, and the politics and tactics of wartime. But honestly, Bernard Cornwell does not know how to build a relationship between characters, or even really how to build multi-dimensional characters. There are authors that build intricate and multi layered plots, and authors who create...more
maricar
Historical fiction had never been more exciting…

The first installment in The Saxon Chronicles is a guaranteed page-turner. Places and people were painted vividly under the author’s pen. Dialogues and scenes were often humorous and faintly sarcastic, reflecting the eccentricities of the more prominent characters; like Ragnar the Fearless, whose boisterous laughter in the face of enemy and adversity makes him an adorable figure, Father Beocca, whose single-minded, but often fumbling, attempts in t...more
Jason Golomb
I love historical fiction. Granted, my definition of the category is fairly broad – covering pretty much any piece of fiction that delves into a realistically historical past. I love the more literary works, but also love good historical action and adventure. I cut my teeth on Conn Iggulden’s “Conquerer” series, which provides a fascinating look at the lives and conquests of Genghis Khan and his immediate successors. I’m a big fan of Roman historicals as well, and so Simon Scarrow’s military-foc...more
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Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother was English, a member of the Women's Auxiliary Air Force. He was adopted and brought up in Essex by the Wiggins family, who were members of the Peculiar People, a strict Protestant sect who banned frivolity of all kinds and even medicine. After he left them, he changed his name to his mother's maiden name, Cornwe...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...
The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2) Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) The Archer's Tale (The Grail Quest, #1) Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4)

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“Wyrd bith ful araed (Fate is inexorable).” 51 likes
“King Edmund of East Anglia is now remembered as a saint, as one of those blessed souls who live forever in the shadow of God. Or so the priests tell me. In heaven, they say, the saints occupy a privileged place, living on the high platform of God’s great hall where they spend their time singing God’s praises. Forever. Just singing. Beocca always told me that it would be an ecstatic existence, but to me it seems very dull. The Danes reckon their dead warriors are carried to Valhalla, the corpse hall of Odin, where they spend their days fighting and their nights feasting and swiving, and I dare not tell the priests that this seems a far better way to endure the afterlife than singing to the sound of golden harps. I once asked a bishop whether there were any women in heaven. “Of course there are, my lord,” he answered, happy that I was taking an interest in doctrine. “Many of the most blessed saints are women.”

“I mean women we can hump, bishop.”

He said he would pray for me. Perhaps he did.”
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