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The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories #1)

4.23  ·  Rating Details ·  42,836 Ratings  ·  2,470 Reviews
The first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s New York Times bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit television series.

This is the exciting—yet little known—story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by HarperCollins (first published 2004)
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Pascalean The battles are more to-the-point than GoT, which tends to labour the descriptions of death. It moves along at a much faster pace too, as much as I…moreThe battles are more to-the-point than GoT, which tends to labour the descriptions of death. It moves along at a much faster pace too, as much as I love GRRM's books they can get boring with the constant tangents into every single minor character's life story. TLK keeps in depth characterisation to the important characters :)(less)
Aeimnestius its better if you do but not absolutely necessary

Community Reviews

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"My name is Uhtred. I am the son of Uhtred, who was the son of Uhtred and his father was also called Uhtred. My father’s clerk, a priest called Beocca, spelt it Utred. I do not know if that was how my father would have written it, for he could neither read nor write, but I can do both and sometimes I take the old parchments from their wooden chest and I see the name spelled Uhtred or Utred or Ughtred or Ootred, and I look at the deeds which say that Uhtred, son of Uhtred, is the lawful and sole ...more
Aug 17, 2011 h. rated it really liked it
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
Bookworm Sean
Jan 29, 2015 Bookworm Sean rated it it was amazing
The Last Kingdom, by Bernard Cornwell, is a triumph of a novel; it is historical fiction at its finest. Uhtred’s story is as fantastic as it is gripping, and most importantly it feels realistic. It’s like I’ve read a chapter of a man’s life that could have existed, that could have been a part of history. His character is just that well written.

The book begins with an aged Uhtred narrating his life to the reader. He is full of a life’s wisdom and a warrior’s experience as he tells the adventures
Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List






I am Uhtred, son of Uhtred, and this is the tale of a blood feud. It is a tale of how I will take from my enemy what the law says is mine. And it is the tale of a woman and her father, a king.

He was my king and all that I have I owe to him. The food that I eat, the hall where I live, and the swords of my men, all come from Alfred, my king, who hated me.


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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 18, 2015 Frances rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourite-books
An outstanding novel set in England during medieval times in the year 866 AD. The author introduces real historical figures; Guthrum the Unlucky, Ubba the Horrible, and Ivar the Boneless, all fearless Dane warriors’ intent on taking over the English kingdoms. They arrive in their magnificent ships outfitted with rich colorful shields, finely carved prows, sterns with ominous dragons and serpents, and mastheads painted with bold eagles. A frightening sight for many townspeople who flee their home ...more
Athena Shardbearer
I am Uhtred, Earl Uhtred, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and destiny is everything.

Love, all I feel is love for this book. It's like an epic love story but for a man who fought for what was rightfully his.

Love, noun. Pronunciation: luhv

A feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preëminent kindness or devotion to another; affection; tenderness; as,

the love of brothers and sisters.
Of all the dearest bonds we prove
Thou countest sons' and mothers' love
Jason Koivu
Feb 04, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it liked it
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
Will M.
Jun 15, 2014 Will M. rated it really liked it
Recommended to Will by: Markus
*Update 10/11/15
There are two episodes out already for The Last Kingdom! I had no idea they were adapting this whole series into a TV series. Will have to read the next novels really soon.


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
Hana Zakova
Aug 20, 2007 Hana Zakova rated it it was amazing
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.
“Destiny is all. And now, looking back, I see the pattern of my life’s journey. It began in Bebbanburg and took me south, ever southward, until I reached the farthest coast of England and could go no farther and still hear my own language. That was my childhood’s journey. As a man I have gone the other way, ever northward, carrying sword and spear and ax to clear the path back to where I began. Destiny.

Rating, 5 stars.


“We came shrieking from the half-light. We were a nightmare in the dawn: me
TS Chan
Jun 13, 2016 TS Chan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Aside from the tales of King Arthur and Ken Follet's Pillars of the Earth, I have not had much exposure to historical fiction. And definitely not one with this much historical accuracy. I was made aware of Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Tales through the raving reviews of fellow Goodreads buddies whom I share similar taste in books with. I don't watch TV that much and didn't know about the series. The main impetus that nudge me to finally pick up this book among my long list of to-be-read was in fact ...more
Vagner Stefanello
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Essa resenha foi revista e atualizada em julho de 2015.

Algumas palavras para definir esse livro? Vingança, traição, paredes de escudos. É isso o que você encontrará na narrativa e, tenho certeza, fará você se apaixonar por essa série. Comprei a coleção das Crônicas Saxônicas só de ler a sinopse e olhar para as capas, que são extremamente bonitas e possuem um cenário de guerra "sedutor". Deixando as enrolações de lado, mãos à obra.

Uhtred é um garoto sa
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
Executive Summary: Despite being Historical Fiction, it's borderline fantasy at times, and therefore right in my wheelhouse apparently. I'll definitely be continuing this series.

Full Review
I've had a few friends raving about this series for years, but I never got around to it before now. It's one of those rare occasions for me where I watched the TV show before reading the book. Apparently a lot of fans of the books don't like the show, but I enjoyed it. It motivated me to finally pick up the
May 31, 2012 Nate rated it really liked it
Just as good the second time around, if not better! All of Cornwell's strengths are on prominent display here; an authoritative command of the historical setting, likable and lively characters, thoroughly descriptive language and brutal, gritty battles. He also has an inarguable gift for storytelling...the plot always flows forward nicely and never seems forced or overwrought. Cornwell consistently displays a way with packing pretty epic tales into an easily digestible three or four hundred page ...more
Aug 26, 2013 Joel rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobooks, hard-copy

"Destiny is all. And now, looking back, I see the pattern of my life’s journey. It began in Bebbanburg and took me south, ever southward, until I reached the farthest coast of England and could go no farther and still hear my own language. That was my childhood’s journey. As a man I have gone the other way, ever northward, carrying sword and spear and ax to clear the path back to where I began. Destiny.”

Why do more people not read Bernard Cornwe
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
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
Update: I did a reread of this September 2011. Still love it. :) Below review is from 2009.

Well, where do I start???? 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
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
Feb 03, 2015 Eon ♒Windrunner♒ rated it really liked it
Historical fantasy at it's finest. I think.

This was my first read of the genre, so cannot really compare it to anything, but I doubt it gets much better than this.

Whats it about? Well its about Uhtred and his amazing journey from boy to legend.

"My name is Uhtred. I am the son of Uhtred, who was the son of Uhtred and his father was also called Uhtred. My father’s clerk, a priest called Beocca, spelt it Utred. I do not know if that was how my father would have written it, for he could neither rea
Mar 29, 2011 Ajj rated it it was ok
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
Revisit 2015 via miniseries:

Episode One description: Lord Uhtred (Matthew Macfadyen), one of the more important earldormen of Northumbria, is killed and his 10-year old son, Uhtred, and a girl called Brida are taken as slaves by the Viking chief Earl Ragnar. The boy saves Ragnar's daughter Thyra from Sven, son of Kjartan, Ragnar's shipbuilder. Kjartan is banished and Sven is blinded in one eye. Uhtred and Brida are raised as Danes. In adulthood Uhtred and Brida see Earl Ragnar killed and Thyra t
Sep 13, 2016 Francisco rated it it was amazing
This is the first book of a ten book series called "The Saxon Stories." This series, like most of Bernard Cornwell's work, is a fictional re-telling of historical events. In this case the historical seed is the "making" of England in the 9th Century when King Alfred and his heirs fought to preserve the land we now know as England from the "north men" - the men we call Vikings. The main character throughout the books is Uhtred of Bebbangurg, a largely fictional creation with roots in an actual an ...more
Jan 23, 2017 David rated it it was amazing
This is the first book in a series of historical fiction, set in the ninth century in Denmark and Britain. It is told in the first person by Uhtred, who was born of a noble family in North Umbria, but captured by the Danes at the age of ten. When the Danes are conquering other lands, they are also known as Vikings. Uhtred was lucky, in that he was not killed, but instead was adopted by Ragnar, a Danish warlord. He was taught how to fight, and by the time he was a teenager, he had become a decent ...more
«Yo soy Uhtred, hijo de Uhtred, y ésta es la historia de una deuda de sangre.»

Hace mucho que no leía una saga histórica-épica, y no me di cuenta de cuánto las extrañaba, hasta que empecé este libro que siempre me había llamado la atención... por el título.
En el comienzo Uthred nos habla como adulto, su gran objetivo es recobrar las tierras que le pertenecen por derecho de nacimiento, tierras que los daneses les arrebataron cuando él era sólo un niño. Esta es la historia de cómo Uthred se irá f
Sep 21, 2016 Daniel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
Šta reći sem za ljubitelje istorije koje interesuju rani poćeci Engleske Imperije ovo je riznica informacija upakovana u vrlo interesantnu priču o Utredu i njegovom odrastanju u tom surovom svetu.

Proza je pitka, tempo odličan i lično ni jedna strana mi nije bila dosadna ili višak. Svi likovi su fino odrađeni i imaju dubinu, bilo istorijski ili izmišljeni. I što je još važnije svet koji je prikazan je realan, oseć se kao nešto što je stvarno postojalo i da je pisac stvarno živeo u tom periodu. Od
Feb 11, 2015 Navessa marked it as to-read
Shelves: sooner
This. Looks. Awesome.
Jan 08, 2017 Dominik rated it really liked it
This book series is possibly going to be my most beloved historical fiction series. I loved almost every bit of it, the setting, the time period and the characters. If you like Viking or English history, you should certainly check out this novel/this series.
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  • Blood Eye (Raven #1)
  • The White Raven (Oathsworn, #3)
  • Under the Eagle (Eagle, #1)
  • The Death of Kings (Emperor, #2)
  • I Am the Chosen King (Saxon #1)
  • Holy Warrior (The Outlaw Chronicles, #2)
  • Hereward (Hereward #1)
  • Odinn's Child (Viking, #1)
  • Sworn Sword (The Bloody Aftermath of 1066, #1)
Cornwell was born in London in 1944. His father was a Canadian airman, and his mother, who 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 birth mother's maiden n ...more
More about Bernard Cornwell...

Other Books in the Series

The Saxon Stories (10 books)
  • The Pale Horseman (The Saxon Stories, #2)
  • Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3)
  • Sword Song (The Saxon Stories, #4)
  • The Burning Land (The Saxon Stories, #5)
  • Death of Kings (The Saxon Stories, #6)
  • The Pagan Lord (The Saxon Stories, #7)
  • The Empty Throne (The Saxon Stories, #8)
  • Warriors of the Storm (The Saxon Stories, #9)
  • The Flame Bearer (The Saxon Stories, #10)

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“Destiny is all, Ravn liked to tell me, destiny is everything. He would even say it in English, “Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.” 96 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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