Willow 's Reviews > The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
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Jun 29, 12

bookshelves: favorites, viking, historical-fiction

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 reading his childhood, I can understand his blood thirsty nature and his conflicted loyalties. I’m always a bit amused by Uhtred’s grumpy disposition.

Cornwell has a way of bringing the Dark Ages alive with gritty realism, and he makes the reader feel like they are right on the battlefield, right there with Uhtred. In fact, I’ve actually become quite spoiled by Cornwell, because most historical fiction doesn’t draw me in this well.

This truly is one of my favorite series of all time!
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Comments (showing 1-28 of 28) (28 new)

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message 1: by Xon (new) - rated it 4 stars

Xon You said it. Cornwell transports you back in time, to live with Uthred et al.


Sarah Garner Agree, his warlord trilogy is very good as well


message 3: by Maria (new) - added it

Maria Campbell agree,i can't wait till he gets to Northumberland


Willow Hey thanks, everybody! Yes, this series is one of my all time favs! :D


message 5: by Anna (last edited Feb 14, 2013 01:43PM) (new)

Anna This series looks a bit too battle-heavy for me, but I do like the sound of the 'full-blooded, mean, arrogant, and a bit of an antihero' Uhtred ;-)


Willow Yep, it is battle-heavy, which I normally don't care for (even in Bernard Cornwell's other books.) For some reason though, I was just pulled into this one. It's probably because I was a more than a little bit besotted with the Uthred. LOL


Brittany B. Totally agree WF. Reading my first Bernard Cromwell and am loving it. It's full of battle, and I'm never interested in that... EXCEPT for battles written by Bernard Cromwell. :)

I saw your recommendations on one of those listopia polls for this particular series. I am checking those out next! :)


message 8: by Willow (last edited Feb 20, 2013 09:29PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Willow Yay! Yes, this is my favorite series by Cornwell. Of course it's my first. His Arthurian series The Winter King is a lot like this. I wonder if I would have loved it better if I read it before The Last Kingdom?


message 9: by Anna (new)

Anna Willowfaerie wrote: It's probably because I was a more than a little bit besotted with the Uthred

Yeah, after reading your description of him, I can understand why; you and I seem to share a love of conflicted badboys ;-)

With you and Brittany both saying that the battles in this series are readable, I think I'll give #1 a try sometime :-)


Brittany B. WF: Started this book and am obsessed with it. Though not all of his older books are up to the level of this series.
Anyway I'm curious if you've found any other authors that you like who write this type of historical fiction? Middle ages to the 17th century. I was lucky to try his book, then to read your review of this series. I am curious if I'm overlooking any other author like this?


message 11: by Willow (last edited Feb 21, 2013 09:13PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Willow Anna wrote: "Willowfaerie wrote: It's probably because I was a more than a little bit besotted with the Uthred

Yeah, after reading your description of him, I can understand why; you and I seem to share a love ..."


I would love to hear what you think. I do know that these books are not for everybody though. I had a coworker who used to tease me about them. She couldn't understand my love for Uthred at all. LOL
We all have our own little fangirl crushes I suppose. :D


Willow Brittany B. wrote: "WF: Started this book and am obsessed with it. Though not all of his older books are up to the level of this series.
Anyway I'm curious if you've found any other authors that you like who write thi..."


Yay! I'm so happy to hear you are a fan! If you like this book, you would probably enjoy Genghis: Birth of an Empire as well.

I've yet to read another historical series though that grabbed me like this one. In fact, this series has probably ruined me for most Viking romances now. Nobody compares to Uthred. LOL


message 13: by Anna (new)

Anna You've both got me so intrigued that I've just ordered the book :-)


message 14: by Willow (last edited Feb 22, 2013 07:33PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Willow Oh really?? I hope you like it, my dear.

Uthred is wonderfully blunt as he tells his story. Here is a snipped from The Pale Horseman.

These days I look at twenty-year-olds and think they are pathetically young, scarcely weaned from their mothers’ tits, but when I was twenty I considered myself a full-grown man. I had fathered a child, fought in the shield wall, and was loath to take advice from anyone. In short I was arrogant, stupid, and headstrong.


message 15: by Anna (new)

Anna I'm looking forward to meeting him ;-)


message 16: by Cody (new) - rated it 5 stars

Cody amazing book, I was in the process of reading Under the Eagle, which is a Roman book but I ended up picking up this book and read it in 2 days. If you like this book then I would consider watching the new history channel tv series called "vikings". Ragnar lothbrook is also in the show.


Willow Yes! I heard about Vikings, and definitely had to check it out.

I need to find another Viking book series I love as much as this one. :D


message 18: by Karla (new)

Karla I never saw this review, though it probably won't change my decision to not try this author again. I can't figure out why Cornwell doesn't click with me. I love battles and guts and gore and that romance isn't a focus mucking up the plot on a regular basis, but it seems like the characters in his books have always been lacking or it's the writing itself. *shrugs* My mother loves them and HF forums are full of "Uthred Uthred Uthred sigh squeal SQUEE!" so he's got his fans. :D


Willow I completely understand, Karla. I actually couldn't get into the Sharpe series. I like it better when Cornwell writes first person instead of third person. These books probably just hit me at the right time.


message 20: by Kerrie (new)

Kerrie I tried reading the first book of his Starbuck Chronicles (U.S. Civil War) and couldn't get into them, either. There's something about the writing that I don't like - dry, dull, and very British(???). The same way I really dislike British mystery novels (but love to watch them).


Jennifer I love Uhtred I'm addicted! And for someone who mentioned that this series is too battle heavy--it certainly is and gritty battles are not typically my thing but I absolutely love this series. Just finished the 7th and waiting for the 8th. I hope it doesn't end soon.


Willow Kerrie wrote: "I tried reading the first book of his Starbuck Chronicles (U.S. Civil War) and couldn't get into them, either. There's something about the writing that I don't like - dry, dull, and very British(??..."

You know I couldn't get into the Sharp series either. I decided that I didn't like Cornwell's 3rd person point of view as much as his 1st person. Uhtred is kind of a bastard too, which I've decided I liked a lot. lol


Willow Jennifer wrote: "I love Uhtred I'm addicted! And for someone who mentioned that this series is too battle heavy--it certainly is and gritty battles are not typically my thing but I absolutely love this series. Just..."

I agree, most of the time I find the battle stuff just dead dull, but this series pulled me right in. :D


Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!} I was actually rooting for the Danes reading this one lol

Uhtred, Ragnor, and Ravn were amazing characters.

Great review.


message 25: by Willow (last edited Oct 16, 2014 09:56PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Willow Rabbit { ☠ Pass the hard apple cider ☠} wrote: "I was actually rooting for the Danes reading this one lol

Uhtred, Ragnor, and Ravn were amazing characters.

Great review."


The Danes were definitely more fun then the Saxons, that's for sure. I always think of the one priest they shot with the arrows. lol


Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!} Willow wrote: "Rabbit { ☠ Pass the hard apple cider ☠} wrote: "I was actually rooting for the Danes reading this one lol

Uhtred, Ragnor, and Ravn were amazing characters.

Great review."

The Danes were defini..."


LOL Party like its 899!


Willow Rabbit { ☠ Pass the hard apple cider ☠} wrote: "
The D..."
LOL Party like its 899!"

LOLOLOL! Yes, it ain't a Viking party unless someone gets seriously killed.


Rabbit {Paint me like one of your 19th century gothic heroines!} Willow wrote: "Rabbit { ☠ Pass the hard apple cider ☠} wrote: "
The D..."LOL Party like its 899!"

LOLOLOL! Yes, it ain't a Viking party unless someone gets seriously killed."


The Vikings made my wild parties look really straight-edge :P LOL *remebers the years between 15 and 22* LOL


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