The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Series: The Saxon Chronicles #1
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: DNF at page 228 out of 333
From the publisher:
This is the exciting—yet little known—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.
At what point did I break up with this book?
I put it aside at page 228 out of 333. I did enjoy the first 150 or so pages but it became easier to put it down and harder to pick it up. When I realized that I had nearly 100 pages to go and I really didn’t care what happened I knew it was time.
What worked for me?
I thought the time frame was interesting. It’s set in the ninth century during the time the Danes were trying to take over the kingdoms that would eventually make up England.
We watched and thoroughly enjoyed the television series The Last Kingdom based on Cornwell’s Saxon Chronicles. They combined the first two books into the first season of the show. It’s quite good and I do recommend you watch it.
What didn’t work for me?
I’m not sure exactly. I think it was partly pacing. It seemed to move slower the more I read. The battle scenes were exciting but the story between seemed a bit tedious at times. Maybe it’s because I had already seen the story in a more condensed form that made it seem to slog.
It’s not you, it’s me . . . or maybe it really IS you.
After we watched the television series The Hubster read the first four books. He enjoyed them and plans to continue.
I do know that a second season of the show has finished filming and will eventually be on Netflix. I’ll be watching for it and recommend the first season.
Have you listened to or read this book? What did you think?