BookBrowse Reviews The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

The Last Kingdom

by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell X
The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Feb 2005, 333 pages
    Paperback:
    Jan 2006, 368 pages

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Reviews

BookBrowse:


A ripping good yarn set in the time of Alfred The Great. Historical Fiction

From the book jacket: The first volume in a new saga set in the 9th century. The Norse have gone 'a-viking' and are rapidly overwhelming the land later to be known as England.  Three out of the four kingdoms are already in their control, only Wessex, under the leadership of Alfred, remains undefeated.  

Comment: In the words of Katherine Powers writing for the Washington Post, "The Last Kingdom caters to those of us whose appetite for rehashed legends was satisfied long ago. In addition to providing thrilling combat action and satisfying details of material life, military accoutrement and battle tactics, Cornwell's best historical fiction pleases us mightily in the way his renditions of the great actors and events of yore stray from received versions. Such contrariness is partly the product of meticulous research and partly of a mischievous sense of humor. Happily, both inform The Last Kingdom throughout."

In a 2005 interview in Publishers Weekly, Cornwell explained that his decision to write a series set in the 9th century was partially spurred by personal events.  Cornwell was a 'war baby' - the result of a liaison between a Canadian airman and an English woman - he was adopted and suffered a particularly unhappy childhood.  Although he'd always had access to information about his parents he had never chosen to look them up until recently when, on tour in Vancouver, he decided to see if his father was alive, and found that he was. They met for the first time when his father was 84 years old. Cornwell found that his family name was Oughtred, which traced back to Bebbanburg Castle in Northumbria, now known as Bamburgh Castle.  This triggered him to create a Northumbrian hero, Uhtred, who was forcibly adopted by the Danes, grew up among them, learned their ways and eventually helped Alfred defeat them!

The next book in the series, The Pale Horseman,  was published in the UK in October 2005 and in the USA early this month.  Booklist describe it as a 'crackerjack adventure tale from a master of the craft.'

This review was originally published in March 2005, and has been updated for the January 2006 paperback release. Click here to go to this issue.



This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...
  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Story of Arthur Truluv
    by Elizabeth Berg

    An emotionally powerful novel from New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Berg.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.