The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

by

Author: Bernard Cornwell

Title: The Last Kingdom

Genre: Adventure

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 368

Geographical Setting: Europe

Time Period: The late 9th Century

Series (if applicable):The Saxon Chronicles

Plot Summary: It is the year 866 A.D. and England is not united yet. The Danes rape, pillage, and conquer any town they want to. Uhtred of Bebbanburg is ten years old when his father, a chieftain, is killed. Uhtred is captured by the Danes and he grows up in their communities and their “pagan” way of life. He learns to fight and how to live as a Dane, free from Christianity and from being forced to learn to read. Uhtred’s captor, a Danish warrior named Ragnar the Fearless, eventually adopts him. Uhtred’s goal in life is to reclaim his inheritance (his family’s land in Northumbria), which has been taken over by his uncle. As he grows up, Uhtred develops confused loyalties toward England, toward his adopted Danish father and Danish paganism, and against English Christian morality. The novel is full of rich and authentic battle accounts of the time, and the reader follows Uhtred along as he fights and as he (sometimes) barely survives.

Subject Headings: Alfred, King of England, 849-899, Vikings – Great Britain, Vikings – England, Soldiers, Warriors, Uncles, Kidnapping, Belonging, Religion, Betrayal, Murder, Inheritance and succession, Ninth century, Great Britain – History – Alfred, 871-899, Northumbria (Kingdom) – History – 9th century.

Appeal: Adventurous, compelling, dramatic, vivid, historical details, political, tragic, vivid battle scenes, Viking raids, action.

3 terms that best describe this book: Thrilling combat action, authentic, vivid.

Similar Authors and Works

Non-Fiction:

1. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicles by Anne Savage- Translated journals written by early Christian monks on life during that time period. Also contains illustrations of buildings and artifacts from that time.

2. Alfred the Great: The Man who Made England by Justin Pollard- History of England’s first king, who lived with the constant threat of Viking raids and conspiracies.

3. The Vikings: Voyagers of Discovery and Plunder by Mark Harrison- Gives a complete overview of the Vikings; their history, weapons, fighting methods, and ships. It includes photographs.

Fiction:

1. Horatio Hornblower novels by C.S. Forester- They are fast-paced historical adventure novels that are set during the Napoleonic Wars. Cornwell used these books as a model to write many of his own books.

2. Ironfire by David Ball- Historical adventure novels that are set in time periods underused in historical fiction. In this book, the Knights of St. John fight off Muslim invaders during the Siege of Malta in 1565.

3. The Pale Horseman by Bernard Cornwell- This is the second book in the Saxon Chronicles series, so fans of The Last Kingdom would probably like to read the sequel.

Name: Kim

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