Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom (2004)

by Bernard Cornwell

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,203682,946 (3.96)85
  1. 30
    The Winter King by Bernard Cornwell (Donogh)
    Donogh: As you rooted for the British against the Saxons in Cornwell's 'The Winter King', so shall you root for the Saxons agains the Danes in Cornwell's 'The Last Kingdom'
  2. 20
    Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton (mcenroeucsb)
  3. 00
    The Outlaw Knight by Elizabeth Chadwick (caimanjosh)
    caimanjosh: Elizabeth Chadwick strikes me as providing the female perspective on medieval England, while Bernard Cornwell provides a decidedly masculine perspective. Both authors succeed in writing highly entertaining historical fiction with a strong sense of the time period. If you like one, it's definitely worth trying the other.… (more)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 85 mentions

English (61)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (68)
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
This is a historical novel set in Britain in 871 to 899. The protagonist is a 10 year old boy who is born a Saxon but taken hostage and raised as a son of a Dane. It is a coming of age story. A war story and an adventure story. Alfred the Great is King and this story features battles between the invading Danes and the Saxons. It covers the pagan religions of the Danes, the Saxons as well as the Catholic religion. By telling the story through Uhtred, the 10 y/o taken hostage the reader gets to see the war and battles from the eyes of the Danes and from the Saxons as well, when Uhtred finds himself back with the Saxons. It also is very descriptive of how a shield war was fought. This would be a great boys story but it does contain violence, sexual content though not too graphic but there is rape and sexual elements so parents need to consider that. The reader was very good and it was an enjoyable read and listen.

. ( )
  Kristelh | Mar 13, 2015 |
I confess to knowing nothing whatsoever about this period in Britian’s history so I have no idea how accurate the historical details are, although Cornwell does say something with regard to that in the afterward.

The action takes place when the Danes were overrunning England and had captured essentially most of it with the exception of West Sussex where Alfred, to be called Alfred the Great, is keeping them at bay.

The tale is told by a young man whose family is killed in a Danish attack. The boy attempts to kill one of the Danish leaders, Ragnar, and is subsequently adopted by the same fellow. He finds the young boy’s spirit that of a Dane and a Viking, and so the boy grows up as a Dane, learning how they fight, how they believe and how they think. He still dreams of his home though, and secretly wants the Danes out and the English to regain their homeland.

The story follows the boy’s life up until he is grown and finds himself torn between the two worlds.

Intriguing character development and interesting to me as I knew nothing about the Vikings nearly conquering England. ( )
  majkia | Mar 4, 2015 |
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 ready to have the period rendered into living color by Cornwell.

And colorful it is. This is the story of the time when the Danes, or Vikings as they’re called when in raiding mode, are getting serious about plundering and occupying as much of the British Isles as possible, to the dismay of the various tribes that had settled in after the Roman period—Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Picts, Britons and others usually represented by big colored splashes and arrows on the history maps. Interestingly—and Cornwell demonstrates this rather nicely—those tribes had been pagans, but had been converted to Christianity by monks from the European mainland some time in the 600s, so what we now have is the Christian English fighting against the pagan Danes, with a few English holdouts for the old gods.

Given this patchwork of origins and allegiances, it would hardly be surprising if the real picture wasn’t that of every man for himself. Cornwell embodies this concept in Uhtred, son of Uhtred, who begins the novel as a child, a younger son named Osbert. The day his brother’s killed by the Danes, his father tells him “your name is now Uhtred” and he inherits a lordship he doesn’t get a chance to enjoy, since he’s taken prisoner by the Danes.

Uhtred survives, always a good idea when you’re the series’ main character, and grows up more Danish than English. It’s tremendously useful, when you’re telling a story about two opposing forces, to have a character who can move easily between those forces, and Uhtred is a marvelous invention, able to become English or Danish at will. He becomes reluctantly entangled with King Alfred, the king of Wessex—the last kingdom left to fight against the Danes—but at heart his real interests are his own interests, namely to get his Northumbrian fiefdom of Bebbanburg back from his uncle.

Uhtred’s a canny warrior, but he’s easily outmaneuvered by the cunning Alfred, whom Uhtred despises for his piety but who constantly manages to either outflank him or win his help by doing something stupidly brave in the name of kingship. It’s very clever of Cornwell to write this story from the viewpoint of this straightforward fighter, who has plenty of battlefield intelligence but little subtlety.

Absolutely NO romance in this novel (even when Uhtred’s with a woman) although there’s a certain level of warrior bromance of the name-calling and hitting-each-other sort. Fights are described with glee, because Uhtred loves fighting, but descriptions of just about everything else only happen when they have relevance to the fight, as in Uhtred might describe a bright, clear day not because it’s pretty but because it allows him to see the enemy well. It’s a masterful example of keeping the point of view tight. Being Cornwell, the novel moves along at a cracking pace, and in fact I was shocked to discover it was over when the audiobook ended (after Outlander and Game of Thrones, any audiobook that doesn’t run into 30 or 40 hours seems REALLY short).

On to the next book! This series should keep me happy for a while, even though there’ll be gaps as I’ll have to wait for my credits to catch up. ( )
1 vote JaneSteen | Feb 1, 2015 |
It is difficult for me to not compare Bernard Cornwell's excellent The Last Kingdom to the previous book I read. Primarily because this one is so good and that one was ... well, pretty disappointing.

And I found myself comparing the two as I was reading The Last Kingdom because there are similar techniques at work. Cornwell has a very straightforward and succinct writing style, and he plunks you right down in 9th century England without any real context or development. (Previous author does the same, although not 9th century England, but 17th century Bavaria) And when I say no context or development, I mean nooooo context or development. Cornwell writes like you live in 9th century England and the reality he is portraying to you is your reality.

And in previous books I have read, this tactic hasn't always worked well for me. But it did in The Last Kingdom. And I think the main reason is the sole narrator / first person perspective of the story. Compared to the previous novel - which shall remain nameless here - the entire story of The Last Kingdom is told by Uhtred, the heir and lord who finds himself caught up in the 9th century wars between the then five English kingdoms and the Vikings. Since Uhtred is the only narrator, it became so easy to get engrossed in his story ... compared again to previous novels, which had multiple storytellers, and therefore, too many perspectives to feel really attached to any of them.

And I'm not saying the multi-narrator tactic doesn't work, but I do think more time is needed in creating a context to the individual characters so you can connect with them. I will give an example of a multi-person POV series that I think handles this just swelly: A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) by George R.R. Martin. If you don't take the time to create that context and that connection, then why should I care about the characters or what happens to them? Just my humble $0.02.

I was also surprised to see how much I enjoyed Uhtred's cursory and simple description of the events in his life. It is his story after all, so it was refreshing to read through and see which moments meant more to him as a character than others. And they were surprising selections. I reached certain passages and thought they would drag on for days, but nope. Uhtred plows through them in a couple of pages ... and others that would have seemed insignificant, but Cornwell spends more time describing them through the eyes of Uhtred than it would feel, at least initially, is necessary. As the story will prove, those longer passages do connect to later moments in the novel, but it still felt new and innovative to get so lost in a character's personality.

So yes, I did compare this book to the previous one I read. Because it felt good to connect with that character, to get lost in his story, to see his world through his eyes, and to feel his emotions at his level. And both novels were set in violent and exciting time periods in history - but thanks to my immersion in Uhtred, I felt the world he was living in far more than 17th century Bavaria... ( )
  parhamj | Nov 16, 2014 |
Cornwell takes us into the world of ninth-century Britain and the constant battles between the inhabitants and the invading Danes. A young boy,Uhtred,is orphaned and later adopted by a Danish leader. This first book in the series tells the story of Uhtred's transformation from boy to warrior. ( )
  devenish | Nov 2, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 61 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
The Last Kingdom is for Judy, with love. Wyrd bið ful āræd.
First words
My name is Uhtred.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
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 only one realm remained. Suddenly the fate of all England--and the course of history--depended upon one man, one king.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060887184, Paperback)

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 epic adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love, and battle as seen through the eyes of a young warrior who straddled two worlds.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:20:23 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

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 only one realm remained. Suddenly the fate of all England--and the course of history--depended upon one man, one king.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
33 avail.
69 wanted
4 pay11 pay

Popular covers


Average: (3.96)
0.5 1
1 5
1.5 1
2 16
2.5 4
3 113
3.5 52
4 229
4.5 30
5 156


4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 96,138,177 books! | Top bar: Always visible