And heres yet another series from the protean writer. Do we really need it? Yes, we do--its a safe bet that The Last Kingdom will prove that the author is seemingly capable of beginning an endless run of new novel sequences. As well as the impeccably plotted narrative, Cornwell has other fish to fry here: nothing less than a totally fresh look at a historical figure we think we know: Alfred the Great. Cornwells protagonist is Uhtred, caught in the conflict between the Danes and the English in the ninth century. He is born into the English aristocracy, but loses his parents at the age of ten and is raised in Viking fashion by a Dane. When massacres reign down on both sides, Uhtred is torn between his loyalties--and when his family disappears, a reckoning with a Viking chieftain is in the offing.
Behind all this is the King, Alfred: complex, conflicted, and by no means the figure that the conventional history books render him. All of the customary Cornwell virtues are fully on display here.--Barry Forshaw
'Cornwell is a virtuoso of historical fiction.' Sunday Telegraph
'Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation.' Daily Mail
'Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched.' Observer
From the Publisher
From the Back Cover
'I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect at least to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence.'
Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at ten, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault.
The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between Christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.
The Last Kingdom is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most
powerful and passionate novels.
About the Author
Bernard Cornwell worked for BBC Television for seven years, mostly as a producer on the Nationwide programme, before taking charge of the Current Affairs department in Northern Ireland. In 1978 he became editor of Thames Television’s Thames at Six. Married to an American, he now lives in the United States.