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“This book is the first of a series relating the adventures of Uhtred born as heir to the fortress of Banbury, but robbed of his inheritance, and Alfred the Great. Uhtred is captured and raised as a Dane, the people that invaded England in the 9th century. His heart is torn between his loyalties -...”see full review » see other reviews »
“As much as I love British history, I'm ashamed to admit that I've never before read anything about the Anglo-Saxon kings that ruled prior to the Norman Conquest. This series by Cornwell, though, was a great place to start because he does such an amazing job of explaining the major themes of the time period - namely, constant warfare between kingdoms and tensions between Christianity (brought over from Rome) and traditional pagan beliefs. "The Last Kingdom" follows the childhood of the main character of the series, and I can't wait to pick up the next book!”Sarah W wrote this review 8 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The story of a man, a warrior who lived during the upheavel of the Viking raids and conquest of most of Britain. He was a Saxon child, captured and raised by the Danes, returned to Saxons and ever after torn between the two cultures. He was also the rightful heir to the Earldom of Bebbenburg in Northumbria and dreams of one day reclaiming his home and title. ”Julia Glenn wrote this review 12 days ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell - First in the Saxon Series
The book covers a decade in the life of Osbert Uhtredson. It starts when Osbert is 10 years old - A. D. 866 - and the danes attack Northumbria. The earl of Bebbanburg, his father, is besieged by the Danes, but sends his son, Uhtred to scout their activities. Uhtred is killed by Ragnar, the leader of the raid, and he brings back Uhtred’s head in a spear.
At that point, Osbert becomes the new Uhtred. Finally, there’s a battle in which Uthred’s family is killed - yet Uhtred is spared because at age 10, and with a knife, Uhtred attacks Ragnar.
Ragnar spared Uhtred and raises him as his own. He’s taught the way of the Danes, their customs, and religion. However Ragnar had made an enemy of Kjartan, one of his ships commanders, and after the Danes conquer Mercia, and East Anglia, Ragnar is killed in his home in Mercia by Kjartan.
Thus Uhtred and his friend Brida are forced to change allegiance again and to fight for the English under King Alfred of Wessex - The last English kingdom left standing.
Based on historical events, the books is a great read. If you’re watching the History Channel series “The Vikings,” you’ll love the book. It shows the Danish invasion of the British Isles from the point of view of Uhtred - from age 10, when his brother was killed, until age 20 when he helps the English defeat the Danes at Cynuit. It presents a youngster point of view in admiring the Viking religion - Pagan feasts with sex and alcohol, a Valhalla with parties and celebrations vs. Christianity with sacrifice, fasting, learning to read and write....
It clearly presents a view of fate in guiding young Uhtred’s life and how each time the boy is made to change allegiances between the English and the Danes, it’s because of some major calamity.
It was a wonderful read and if you enjoy historical fiction in general, and Cornwell in particular, I strongly recommend you this book.
“Great to have found a character which could be present during all major events in the 9th century in England.”Arnoud Visser wrote this review Friday, February 15, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I wanted to read a fantasy-book but could not find any interesting ones at Arlanda airport, so I picked this one up. It is the first in a series and I will read the other three. My only objection is that I thought it unnecessarily brutal and violent. But actually, and this is interesting and thought provocing, the violence and the brutality felt very much like the one described in the book Wild Swans I read recently. The only difference was that the time and place was China a century ago, and based on eye withnesses. So, civilsation is a very recent state in many parts of the world. And it is a very frail shell arounf our aincent instincts. Something easily seen when conflicts arise around the world. So, two widely different books, in combination, made for a greater whole! Lovely!”Magnus Jahnsson wrote this review Friday, February 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The entire series is individually and collectively a treasure. An era I would have known nothing about without Cornwell--a genius of a story teller.”Pat Mizell wrote this review Saturday, January 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“"This is book #1 in Cornwell's Saxon Chronicles Series. Cornwell is probably best know for his Sharpe series which has recently become a BBC/PBS TV series starring Sean Bean. The Saxon Chronicles follow the life of Uhtred Ragnarson a Saxon born noble who is captured and raised by Vikings during the rule of King Alfred the Great and the period predating the formal founding of England. Cornwell is a great story teller, and just as important to me, is a meticulous historian. His research is painstakingly detailed and brings great life to the story. ”Brian F. Mack wrote this review Friday, January 25, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A great summer read for the beach.”Jim Robles wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent historical fiction. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.”David Crank wrote this review Monday, January 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I wanted to say that I didn't like this book. Really, I did want to say that. But I can't. Yet, at the same time, I can't say I loved the book. It gave me so many mixed feelings that I ended up giving it four stars when I originally wanted to give it three stars.
I wish I could say the overall story was boring and nothing interesting seemed to happen, but I can't. At first you even think that the story never goes forward and all you read is what's going on with the world. It's a world in war and a boy is telling you what he sees and boy, that is annoying. But then one completely unexpected event happens. And the another. And another. And another. And another. That's when you realize that you're halfway through the book and you're... actually enjoying what's going on. Boy, you'll soon notice that you're actually curious to know what's about to happen, even if the story seems to get stuck in the description of the scenarios.
Next, I wanted to say that the characters are plain and not well developed. But then, I started to like the briefness and subtlety of their actions and words. They're not ones to talk too much, but they're actually very easy to like. They are somewhat predictable, yet there is "something" in them that makes you like them, be it Ragnar's fatherly words or Brida's wise-ass replies. After a while, even Uhtred's naïvety started to look kinda charming.
This is a confusing book. So hard and, at the same time, so easy to like. Maybe not something I look forward to re-read, but definitely something that gave me a hell of a good time while it lasted.”