Bernard Cornwell “The Last Kingdom” book
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  • I wasn’t quite sure how much a novel set in the Anglo-Saxon era would work out, so I wasn’t entirely convinced when I bought ‘The Last Kingdom’
  • If you like a good action novel with plenty of rape and pillage, fighting and gore, then this is definitely for you

    • by Andrew HN Gray
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      I am a devoted fan of Bernard Cornwell’s historical novels, especially the ‘Sharpe’ series of books. They’re set in the Napoleonic Wars, which is a common periodic for naval exploits for characters like Hornblower and Bolitho, so Sharpe fits in pretty well. I wasn’t quite sure how much a novel set in the Anglo-Saxon era would work out, so I wasn’t entirely convinced when I bought ‘The Last Kingdom’.

      I needn’t have worried. Bernard Cornwell is a superb author and he gets inside his character’s heads so that their reasons


      for doing things seem perfectly understandable in the society of their times. In the case of this book, there is a situation in England in which all authority is collapsing. The individual kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England are crumbling under the assault of the Northmen, otherwise known as the Vikings. Uhtred, Cornwell’s hero, is born and brought up in Northumbria, which, until that time, was one of the leading English kingdoms. He is an aristocrat, but ends up a prisoner of the Vikings as a boy. His captor, Ragnar, is a ...

      • charismatic Viking to whom he takes like a son to his father. Uhtred begins to feel more like a Viking than an Englishman. Yet, all the time, he is aware that the people whose land is being taken are his fellow-Englishmen, whether they were Northumbrians or not. He becomes a warrior himself, delighting in the joy of battle and fighting alongside the Vikings.

        Inevitably, his path crosses with King Alfred of Wessex, soon the only kingdom the Vikings have not conquered. Which side will he take? Can he trust himself? And

        what of the Vikings who do not think of him as one of their own? Soon, Uhtred is treading a fine line between the people he has joined by compulsion, but whose religion is one with which he is more comfortable than Christianity, or the pious King of Wessex and his priests. The future of England is at stake and so is his personal identity. Which way will he go?

        If you like a good action novel with plenty of rape and pillage, fighting and gore, then this is definitely for you!




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