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The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1)
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Group Read Discussions > September 2018- The Last Kingdom *NO SPOILERS*

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message 1: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasmine | 1223 comments Mod
The book picked by our group to read for September 2018 about Vikings was The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell. This is the NO SPOILER thread. Happy Reading!

This is the story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England’s four kingdoms.

The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred’s kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father’s land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.

This thrilling adventure—based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell’s ancestors—depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.



Paddy Hirsch | 2 comments I love this series so much. I came to Bernard Cornwell with the Sharpe series, and then read the Grail quest trilogy. I couldn't believe it when Uhtred showed up. I was hooked from the first page. I grab these books off the shelf as soon as they drop. They're like candy.
I know very little about that period of history, but I do know, from my own reading of the Sharpe books and my knowledge of the history of Napoleonic Wars, that Cornwell is a meticulous historian. He's the kind of historical fiction writer that tries to create as accurate an historical frame as possible before putting his fictional characters into the picture. That knowledge of his process, along with the clarifying authors' notes that he includes in every book, make me feel that I'm getting a solid dose of history roughage along with my tasty slice of fiction.
These books are great fun, and Uhtred is a fantastic character. I love to read about lead characters that don't fit right in their own worlds, and are always slightly out of place. Uhtred is certainly that.


message 3: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasmine | 1223 comments Mod
Paddy wrote: "I love this series so much. I came to Bernard Cornwell with the Sharpe series, and then read the Grail quest trilogy. I couldn't believe it when Uhtred showed up. I was hooked from the first page. ..."

I know nothing about this period in history so I am excited to read these. My husband and I started watching the series, but I've only seen the first two episodes. My goal is to read this before I watch anymore.

I also enjoy the author, Bernard Cornwell, quite a bit.


Connie (connier) | 52 comments I have started this one and so far so good. It reminds me of Game of Thrones and at first I thought I have already read it, but I don't recognize anything else, so maybe it was just a reference that was made in Game of Thrones. This is a time period I am unfamiliar with as well. Looking forward to reading this this weekend.


Owlene | 4 comments I read this a couple of months ago and really loved it – one of my favourite reads this year.

Going to read book 2 in the series this month. I hope it's as good!


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

I started a couple of days ago. It seems quite gripping so far.


message 7: by Gretchen, Keep your head up or the crown slips (new) - rated it 3 stars

Gretchen (eab2012) | 597 comments Mod
Uhtred is my literary boyfriend. Book Uhtred. Not that horrible interpretation they cast for the television show. I don't know who that Uhtred is.

I just might give this series a restart if I get time this month to prepare for the latest novel.


message 8: by C.P. (last edited Sep 01, 2018 07:11PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 644 comments I too love Uhtred—somewhat to my own surprise, as war is not usually my favorite subject. But these books are about more than war.

Just finished War of the Wolf and will be talking to Bernard about it next week, so this may be my last post in the "no spoilers" thread.

The interview will go live around the October release date, so you can find the link via my profile after that, if you're interested.

As for the tv series Uhtred, I was suspicious at first, but he grew on me by the end of the first year. It's tv, after all; the two formats just aren't the same—each better in some ways, but not in every way.


A.L. Sowards | 75 comments I've got this one on my kindle to start when I finish up my currently-reading ebook (I'm usually working on an ebook, a physical book, an audiobook, and a book with the kids all at once). I've read the Grail Quest Trilogy and I was impressed with Cornwell's writing. I loved how thick and accurate the history was.


Patty Mccormick | 7 comments I have never read any of Cornwell’s books. I think I am already hooked though. I am enjoying this one so far. I like large epic books like Michener and Follet and Rutherford. I feel like I’m going to have to read the other books in this series when I’m finished.


Patty Mccormick | 7 comments Did any one else finish it yet? I am done already!!!! I was glued to it from the start. Since I have read the Alienist already, I guess it is on to book 2. I really enjoyed this one.


Connie (connier) | 52 comments I finished this last night and really enjoyed this one. I too have read The Alienist so am going to read another of the Viking books that was on the list. I don't have the second book in this series, but I am on the lookout for books by Bernard Cornwell now! Uhtred was a real hero in my book and I loved Ragnar the Elder and Ragnar the Younger.


Charlene (charlenev) | 47 comments I have started this one, and am so far totally enthralled! I love the way the writing reflects the way a young boy might think. I have never read this author before either, but will definitely be looking for more from him.


message 14: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (last edited Sep 25, 2018 12:39PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasmine | 1223 comments Mod
Just want to remind those of you who finished that you can discuss the details in the spoiler thread: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I've gone as far as to get the book from the library and admiring the cover.


message 15: by Karl (new) - rated it 4 stars

Karl | 1 comments The book arrived today. Look forward to getting started on my lunch break! (Or maybe sneak in a few pages when the boss leaves the room.)


Ashley Marie  | 579 comments I'm at the 30% mark in the audiobook -- can't remember which chapter. I did enjoy the (view spoiler) reference in chapter one :)


message 17: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasmine | 1223 comments Mod
I just started this. Pretty excited to read it.


Chris  (haughtc) I got an email today saying this was $1.99 on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...


message 19: by A.L. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.L. Sowards | 75 comments I finished the book and really enjoyed it. I'm looking forward to picking up the next book in the series. Does anyone know how many books are planned? I see 11 so far.


message 20: by C.P. (last edited Sep 26, 2018 05:22PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 644 comments Bernard told me he anticipated about four more, when I talked to him about book #10, and he reiterated that the larger story was nearing its end with book #11. That said, his publisher undoubtedly hopes they will go on forever, and he doesn't plot his stories in advance, so 14 could well be a conservative estimate.


message 21: by A.L. (new) - rated it 5 stars

A.L. Sowards | 75 comments C.P. wrote: "Bernard told me he anticipated about four more, when I talked to him about book #10, and he reiterated that the larger story was nearing its end with book #11. That said, his publisher undoubtedly ..."

Thanks, C.P.! That's a lot of Saxon Stories.


James McKennA | 1 comments I picked up these books after seeing the book in the shop having already watched the tv series but really enjoy the books so far just started book two. Only realised there is 11 books so far so get plenty reading left.


message 23: by Jasmine, Gatekeeper of Giveaways. (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jasmine | 1223 comments Mod
I just picked up book 2 from the library.


message 24: by Don (new)

Don Maker (donmaker) | 4 comments Normally, I don't like long series. They get too repetitive, especially with certain types of scenes (such as battles). However, Cornwell just has a style that keeps things pretty fresh. I read all of the Sharpe novels, and have recently finished all of the Last Kingdom novels. Yes, that shield wall got a bit tiring, but the way Cornwell handles all of his characters keeps them interesting, and the political and personal aspects of their machinations provides nice insights into humans as well as some history. A great series from a great writer.


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