Top positive review
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Riveting and even better than the TV series!
on 20 December 2015
Okay, I'll admit it, I only started reading this after seeing Series 1 of the TV series recently. I haven't read any Bernard Cornwell before, just watched the Sharpe series because it starred Sean Bean... and what a treat I have in store! The joy of discovering a new writer :)
If you're as unfamiliar with the author's work as I am, you'll want to know if it's as good as the TV, right? YES, yes, it is, it's even better. I love the way Cornwell writes, so simply that it just flows along. I adore Uhtred already, and reading this made me long to live in the Dark Ages even more than I always have done. Most of all, of course, it made me want to be a fearsome warrior. Not a warring West Saxon (although I did like Leofric), but a brave man of the shield wall, of Ragnar's tribe!
The Last Kingdom is educational about the times, with some processes described in intricate detail. If the book was written by an unknown author and the 'rules of writing' crew got their hands on it, they'd say these were 'information dumps', or something, or that the writer was being self-indulgent and eager to stick all his research into the book rather than weaving it into the story unobtrusively, but who cares; it was fascinating, because if you're a truly talented writer you can pull anything off, and anyone who wants to know more about life in these times could learn as much from this as any history book about the people of the Dark Ages.
If you've seen the TV series recently you'll remember the bit near the end when the Danish ships are burnt; in the book it's riveting, I read it about three times. I've just downloaded the second book and think I may just have to have a little look now...