This is, by far the best historical fiction series ever! The Saxon Chronicles is masterfully crafted by a wonderful and gifted storyteller, Bernard Cornwell. A must read!
When Danish raiders kill his family, ten-year-old Uhtred becomes the captive, and later the adopted son, of Viking warlord Ragnar, who has conquered three out of the four existing Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (including Uhtred's home of Northumbria). Yet despite his admiration and affection for Ragnar, Uhtred longs to reclaim his rightful lands and title as the Earl of Bebbanburg. His conflicting loyalties come to the fore when he encounters Alfred of Wessex, the future King Alfred the Great. Set in ninth-century England, The Last Kingdom is the 1st book in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon tales series, which continues with The Pale Horseman.
This is a very entertaining historical fiction novel. I watched the BBC series on netflix which was really well done. I'm looking forward to reading the next book!
I'm waiting to read The Last Kingdom and feel sure that it will be a superlative read as all of Cornwell's books have been for me so far. His grittiness and reality are quite amazing. I put him and Jack Whyte (Dream of Eagles saga) on the same level. Both writers of epic historical tales. If only I`d been taught history in this manner. Oh and I LOVE that much of his pre-medieval story lines mention my home town in England.. I can picture the places that he describes...MESMERISING..
I listened to the audiobook version over a decade ago, but want to say that it is far superior to the recent BBC TV adaption. Uhtred's thoughts, missing in the BBC version, are priceless. I also highly recommend listening to the audio version of the series as the readers add texture and bring the lead character, accurately described below as a delightful curmudgeon, to life. After reading the author's bio on his website, I realized there is a lot of Cornwell in Uhtred. Saxon tales is terrific series about a time that not many authors write about.
A reviewer for a later book in the series calls this good reading for those who "find contentment ... in clanking swords and battlefield carnage." Couldn't agree more, and the main character is a delightful curmudgeon...
Interesting comments. What I find of his books is the research he's put into each. It's not just crude, rude, foul for the sake or lack of better language. It was a brutal time according to all historical records. The Saxon series depict 9/10 C Britain invasions & I felt best read in order. As pointed out by most historians, history is written by the victors & passed down (inaccurately) to the glory of the victor. I have not liked the 2013 Pagan Lord as a rehash of previous books. 2014 The Empty Throne is yet to hit the shelves. Apparently one either loves or hates the series. Visiting Bamburgh area I'm glad to have read about it first - awesome.
This was my first Cornwell book and thank God, he'd already written four more in the series when I discovered it. Devoured them all in rapid succession and can say without doubt this is my all time favorite historical fiction series. Fantastic characters, historical accuracy, and the flat-out best battle scenes I've ever encountered. Cornwell puts you right in the middle of that shield wall and it's not pretty, but utterly compelling. Yes, it's realistically gory, sexually graphic, this is hard R-rated stuff. If you don't like that sort of thing, don't come knocking on this door. Uhtred rules!
The life and times of everyone in the 9th century was crude and rough living. The fact that Cornwell has written a book about those times to match the era is a credit to him and I don't think he deserves the "sadist" label "soblessed59" has credited him with. Realistic, interesting true to the life and times of the people and their situations "yes" to all of that but sadistic? I think not. I have to agree with "bunzer" if it was so offensive to your senses 'soblessed59' why did it take you 3/4's of the book to decide to stop reading it.
Cornwell is a credit to his art and I've ready almost all of the Sharpe fictional history stories he's written and am starting on the others. I'd recommend his reading to anyone. The squeamish should stick with books that stimulate their intellect and leave out any of the actual details of the way people were really treated and/or punished in the early years. Dan Brown wrote one book that I know of and it was good but Bernard Cornwell has written a library of good some bordering on excellent books that would fill a small library. I don't think there is any comparison between the two and I'm not sure how Mel Gibson came into the discussion!
It always amuses me when someone has to force himself to read a book almost to its very end before deciding that it is so offensive that he simply can't go on.
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