The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom Summary

The first installment of Bernard Cornwell’s bestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, “like Game of Thrones, but real” (The Observer, London)—the basis for The Last Kingdom, the hit BBC America television series.

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.

Book Reviews


Fantastic history and novel5 star

One of the best historical novels that I have read. Well written. Well documented in history. Well worth the time to read.55

Duke Swissvale

R. Elmer McCartney5 star

I enjoyed the book. I watched the series on Netflix as well. As usual, the book is better. However, the film is well done too. This really captures the period well. A great writer and another great book of Historical fiction!55

Anonymous Eric

Poor Apple5 star

This is an excellent NOVEL! Apple chooses to sell it as history. It is NOT history and should not be sold that way.55

boots saddle

The Last Kingdom5 star

Great oldtimey yarn of wooden ships and iron men. Very entertaining window of life fifteen hundred years ago in one of today’s most prominent European areas.55

BD Earl

The book that started it all5 star

Bernard Cornwell’s masterpiece starts here.Uhtred’s story captivates and Cornwell’s writing brings the ninth and tenth century struggle between the Saxons and Danes alive like few authors can. It made me look deeper into my own Anglo-Scandinavian heritage. Cornwell tops the list of the great historical fiction writers.55


Great series5 star

I've read all of this series to date, and each book gets better. I don't want the story to end, as Cornwell builds such wonderful characters and settings that I will be sad to let them go. Also, no one does a battle scene better that Bernard.55


Excellent Start to a Gripping, Informative Series5 star

The Last Kingdom is the first of who knows how many Saxon Chronicle novels. As of early 2014, there are six(6), and there will be more. English history in the late 800's through mid 900's is told from the point of view of a Saxon War Chief, Uhtred. The nature of battles from that time is told in gritty detail. The relationship between the early Christian church in England and the warriors who fought the battles is a focus of the series. If one or two battles had gone in a different direction, there would be no England or English language. I highly recommend this series to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. Mr. Cornwall is on a level with Steven Pressfield in the quality of his writing and the gripping nature of the story lines.55


A great read!5 star

Fascinating historical novel, told narrative style by a young warrior. Uhtred is a character you love to follow. Even through the blood 'n'guts of battle, he is fearless, daring, and all too human. Can't wait to read the sequel!55


As goods it gets5 star

Cornwell is a masterful storyteller, and books are grounded in history. The Last Kingdom sets the stage for what is to be a great epic series and keeps you riveted until the very last page.55


Ugh-find something else to read1 star

Lots of murder, mayhem and tedious battle scenes. The characters are for the most part uninteresting and sort of hard to keep straight. You might learn a little bit about England during this era, but mostly what you come away with a profound sense of relief that you weren't around then. I for one will not be reading any more books in this series (and I actually liked Game of Thrones!)15

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