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

4.2 of 5 stars 4.20  ·  rating details  ·  25,370 ratings  ·  1,346 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
Paperback, 368 pages
Published January 3rd 2006 by Harper Perennial (first published 2004)
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The Last Kingdom by Bernard CornwellThe Winter King by Bernard CornwellAzincourt by Bernard CornwellGenghis by Conn IgguldenGates of Fire by Steven Pressfield
A&M Historical Fiction Group Recommended Reading
1st out of 138 books — 335 voters
Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur GoldenGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellThe Pillars of the Earth by Ken FollettThe Book Thief by Markus ZusakThe Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Best Historical Fiction
103rd out of 4,828 books — 18,780 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Bookworm Sean
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 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 of hi
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
«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
Will M.
Jan 01, 2015 Will M. rated it 4 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
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
Eon (Windrunner)
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
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
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
Where I got the book: audiobook on Audible.

I decided I should listen to a Bernard Cornwell series as an attempt to gain a better understanding of the non-romantic, battle-based side of historical fiction. I knew I liked Cornwell as I’d randomly read a couple of his novels, and I picked this Saxon series because I find that whole period of history fascinating—I’ve read Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and 1066 and all that make much more sense seen in the light of what went before, so I was r
Douglas Wilson
I picked up somewhere that I was supposed to read something by the historical novelist Bernard Cornwell, so I choose this one. I enjoyed it, and it kept my interest all the way through. It was something like reading a well-written encyclopedia article, punctuated with battle scenes. This is a story about the Danish invasion of England, and Alfred's defense of it. Great descriptions of the shield wall.
Mar 26, 2015 Navessa marked it as to-read
Shelves: sooner
This. Looks. Awesome.
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.
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.
Vagner Stefanello
Review in Portuguese from Desbravando Livros:

Uma palavra para definir esse livro? Vingança. É isso o que Uhtred deseja e esse sentimento domina-o completamente. 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 inglês nascido na Nortúmbria, ao norte da Inglaterra, e aos 10 anos fica órfão devido a um ataque dos dinamarqueses à sua
Mar 19, 2015 PSmith rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: history buffs
Recommended to PSmith by: Anirudh
For I am Uhtred, Earl Uhtred, Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and destiny is everything.
This is the story of the 9th century England and the various Danish invasions, which almost turned England into a Danish territory, and if so, it would have had a major impact on the world history. But, King Alfred, the weak, with sheer strength of mind and cunning, managed to turn tables.
This is book one of the Saxon chronicles, which introduced me to Uhtred, the son of an Earl, who was vanquished by the Danes, and wa
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.
This book was a 3.5 star book. I trudged through the beginning but by the end things picked up enough to redeem Uhtred.

One thing I learned from this book, my language skills suck. I'm sure I totally butchered all of the names in this book. Except Ragnar! I know I got Ragnar right! What kind of Minnesota Vikings' fan would I be if I couldn't pronounce Ragnar? Anyway, I just did the phonetic thing and moved on. I'm sure there are some literary purists out there who think my method is slightly blas
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
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
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
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
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She-Geeks: April read: The Last Kingdom 3 22 Apr 14, 2015 10:20AM  
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Ancient & Med...: JULY 2013 (Group Read 2) The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell 228 143 Jul 31, 2013 03:39PM  
Read by Theme: The Last Kingdom (Saxon Chronicles), by Bernard Cornwell 4 40 Aug 17, 2012 08:03AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

The Warrior Chronicles/Saxon Stories (9 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 Darkness
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).” 66 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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