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The Last Kingdom [Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Bernard Cornwell , John Nicholl , Jamie Glover
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Oct. 4 2004 The Warrior Chronicles (Book 1)
Read by Jamie Glover. HarperCollins are delighted to announce that this bestselling, favourite author, following the triumphant conclusion to the Grail Quest series with the publication of Heretic, has embarked on a new medieval series. The Last Kingdom is set in the England of the ninth and tenth centuries. These were the years when the Danish Vikings had invaded and occupied three of England's four kingdoms, and when King Alfred, his son and grandson fought back and won the freedom of the country again. The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed English nobleman. Captured as a child and raised by the Danes, he now finds his allegiances divided. But the one thing he knows is that he wants to recover his father's land, the fort by the wild northern sea that we now know as Bamburgh. Bernard Cornwell is a master of historical fiction and this new series looking with a fresh light at Alfred the Great, his kingdom and his legacy will be as outstanding and as popular as the Grail Quest and the Warlord Chronicles.

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From Publishers Weekly

Bestseller Cornwell leaps back a millennium from his Richard Sharpe series to tell of the consolidation of England in the late ninth century and the role played by a young (fictional) warrior-in-training who's at the center of the war between Christian Englishmen and the pagan Danes. (Most of the other principal characters—Ubba, Guthrum, Ivar the Boneless and the like—are real historical figures.) Young Uhtred, who's English, falls under the control of Viking über-warrior Ragnar the Fearless when the Dane wipes out Uhtred's Northumberland family. Cornwell liberally feeds readers history and nuggets of battle data and customs, with Uhtred's first-person wonderment spinning all into a colorful journey of (self-)discovery. In a series of episodes, Ragnar conquers three of England's four kingdoms. The juiciest segment has King Edmund of East Anglia rebuking the Viking pagans and demanding that they convert to Christianity if they intend to remain in England. After Edmund cites the example of St. Sebastian, the Danes oblige him by turning him into a latter-day Sebastian and sending him off to heaven. Uhtred's affection for Ragnar as a surrogate father grows, and he surpasses the conqueror's blood sons in valor. When father and adopted son arrive at the fourth and last kingdom, however, the Danes meet unexpected resistance and Uhtred faces personal and familial challenges, as well as a crisis of national allegiance. This is a solid adventure by a crackling good storyteller.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

An acknowledged master of rousing battlefield fiction as evidenced by his crackling Richard Sharpe series, Cornwell also deserves praise for his mesmerizing narrative finesse and his authentic historical detailing. Here he introduces a new multivolume saga set in medieval England prior to the unification of the four Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, and Wessex. Weakened by civil war, Northumbria is invaded by the fearless Danes, and Uhtred, the rightful heir to the earldom of Bebbanburg, is captured by the enemy. Raised as a Viking warrior by Ragnar the Terrible, his beloved surrogate father, Uhtred is still torn by an innate desire to reclaim his birthright. Fighting as a Dane but realizing that his ultimate destiny lies along another path, he seizes the opportunity to serve Alfred, king of Wessex, after Ragnar is horribly betrayed and murdered by Kjartan, a fellow Dane. Ever watchful and ever practical, Uhtred awaits his chance to settle the blood feud with Kjartan and to seize Bebbanburg from his treacherous uncle. Leaving his hero suspended on the threshold of realizing his desires, Cornwell masterfully sets up his audience for the second volume in this irresistible epic adventure. Margaret Flanagan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What better way to explore 9th century Wessex? March 15 2007
By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 50 REVIEWER
In this, the first of three novels centred on Uhtred, Bernard Cornwell breathes life into 9th century Wessex and the struggle between the (West) Saxons and the Danes. Cornwell's writing style is suited to the action of combat, conflict and intrigue and the images he invokes in my imagination feel very real.

Uhtred moves between the Christian world of Alfred the Great and the pagan world of the Danes. By belonging to neither world, and to both, Uhtred is perfectly placed to take the reader into the conflict for the last of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The story is narrated by Uhtred in his old age and paints a quite different picture of King Alfred (the Great).

This is a struggle between different civilizations, cultures and values. Neither side has a monopoly on righteousness, or on evil. Be warned: if bloodthirsty battle makes you squeamish, this book may not be for you. For myself, I've found a new hero in Uhtred.

Read it, enjoy it - and then read the next in the series!

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is the one that got me hooked March 12 2007
You don't always remember when you first read the work of a particular author, but in this case, I do. Vacationing in Britain, I found the UK bookstores offering a buy 2 get the third one free deal. So I bought this, the Da Vinci Code (yuck!) and a Michael Crighton book. Of the three, "Last Kingdom" was by far the best. The era the story is set in (the time of Alfred the Great and the Viking invasions of England and Ireland) is meticulously researched and the tale simply rolls along. A very easy book to get lost in and read in a single sitting (or trans-Atlantic plane journey in my case).

The story follows Uhtred, a young, disposessed lord of Northumbria as he seeks his revenge amidst the ever-changing landscape of Anglo-Saxon England. Lots of action, and lots of history, a must for readers of historical fiction.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Saxon Stories - Volume 1 Jan. 12 2010
Bernard Cornwell is in my opinion the best author of historical fictions, and he has lived up to my expectations with The Last Kingdom.

The Last Kingdom is the first volume of Cornwell's Anglo-Saxon series, which is set during the 9th-century. It focuses on the conquest of English kingdoms by the Danes and its opposition by Alfred the Great.

I have enjoyed this book immensely. Through its engrossing story, the reader learns a lot about the Danish and Anglo-Saxon societies of this period, especially on their respective religions, political motives, social hierarchic systems and the strengths and weaknesses of their warfare structures. It provides the perfect balance between entertainment and instructive material I am looking for in a historical fiction novel.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A for "The Last Kingdom" April 11 2010
A for "The Last Kingdom"
This book is one of the better historical fiction novels I've read in recent times. I've been on a fantasy binge, but I decided to try something a little to the side of what I usually read (GRRM, Rothfuss, etc). This book was a great surprise! The narrator is a fascinating character and the first person POV is used extremely well in showing the contrast between the way the Danes and the English think. I look forward to reading the second novel in the series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific! March 13 2010
A Kid's Review
The last kingdom is an exciting historical narrative of Danes invasion on England. Actually, the entire Saxon series from Bernard Cornwell are quite amazing. His narrative is fascinating, making you feel like you were in the 9th century!
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