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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 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...
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 16 July 2016
This review is for the Unabridged Audio Book.
After watching The Last Kingdom on DVD which was a recent purchase, I wanted to see how close the series
came to the original novel by Bernard Cornwell. There were some slight differences, but I was not disappointed.
Being the sort of chap who likes to listen to a book whilst doing chores or DIY around the home, I decided to buy
this, the first full book in the series as an audio version. It is excellent.

Jonathan Keeble brilliantly narrates the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg (Bamburgh). The young Northumbrian
Saxon boy who is kidnapped, enslaved and then adopted by the Viking warrior chief Earl Ragnar.
We follow Uhtred's early years, his young manhood and the yearning to return to life as an Ealdorman on the coast
of Northumbria and his involvement and disputes with King Alfred and the Saxon kingdom of Wessex.
The narrator is very good, giving a voice to all of the characters in the novel with clarity and purpose in about 13
hours of listening.

Published by HarperCollins in 2014.
11 CD's unabridged.
13 hours listening time.
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on 27 January 2016
I read book 1 - 8 of the Last Kingdom series back to back as if they were one omnibus through a wet and miserable January. I had seen the BBC 2 series which covered book 1 and book 2 and found The Last Kingdom and The Pale Horseman such good reads I was glad that I had not read them before seeing the series. I was impressed by the explanations of the internal struggle Uhtred has to establish his identity,, and the uniqueness into which he forges his experiences , philosophy and education into the warrior and man he grows into. I was also impressed by the historical integrity Conwell brought to the background of Uhtred's adventures. Definite page turners all the way through. Loved every minute spent reading 1-8.
Although one should not bring 21st century thinking, morals and mores to 10th century life, one could not help thinking that 'everything changes and nothing changes.' Cornwell does encourage the reader to stop and think beyond the swashbuckling thoughout.
I am not sure whether Uhtred's forewords are a good or bad thing - whether they telegraph the ultimate outcome of the scrapes and adventures or whether they enhance the enjoyment of the finer points of the tale...
I was disappointed at the Kindle price of book 9- Warriors of the Storm, which at the present time is more than the hardback edition. Although I am hooked enough to want to read it very badly, principle prevents me following on at this time.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 10 October 2016
I read all of the Last Kingdom series more or less back to back while recovering from injuries that caused my medical retirement

As is usual for B Cornwell I love the way that he uses real historical events and characters to make a fictional read.
It is easy to identify with characters and whilst more are introduced the number of participants are such that it is easy to keep track of who is who, on what side and in what role.

I have first edition hardbacks of all the books but got the kindle version being so much easier for space, portability etc.

Very expensive for a virtual product, and book 9- Warriors of the Storm, is more expensive than the hardback edition.

Space and time prevent a recounting of the scrawny youth becoming the man, warrior, leader and legend.

I love history of all sorts, especially military and even today some of the tales, mistakes, waste and outright stupidity could apply in modern times.

Take your time, read the books, you will re-read them. I am getting the CD / MP3 version for travelling.
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on 5 March 2016
Bernard Cornwell is widely known for his Sharpe novels. I love that series with its strong lead character. They were so well researched and written with a clear delineation between fact and creative fiction. Whilst his books post Sharpe are well written, I have not been as engaged or intrigued by the stories. That is until I discovered Uhtred and the Anglo Saxon Last Kingdom series. It has been dramatized for tv and I was prompted to read the book, I am so pleased I did.

I loved Uhtred's first person narrative about his childhood, his coming of age in the Anglo Saxon fight to see off relentless and inexorable invasions by the Danes. This period in English history is known and not known; as school children we read about Vikings and Alfred burning the cakes, but we never really heard about the criticality of Alfred's success to the subsequent formation of England as we know it now. Knowing how much historical research Cornwell puts into his novels, I felt confident in the story and I am heading for the library to find out about the Anglo Saxons.
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on 29 October 2017
Perhaps the readers who will take most from this tale are those with little knowledge of the Danish assault on England, for whom therefore the whole story may be fresh. For the rest, the novel offers no new insights, though the characterisation of the Danish pagan psyche, versus that of Christianised English, is interesting, and the author prompts the reader's empathy with it through the culturally conflicted Uhtred. There is just enough in the story to keep us mildly interested in Uhtred`s fate, and to keep us reading to the book's violent climax, but if the historic conflict is set aside the story is short on human insight and not compelling enough to make me want to read more in the series.
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on 26 September 2017
Don't get me wrong, I like the TV series, but these books have a bit more depth to them than television can muster. Motives are better explored. Uhtred becomes a more rounded character, while those around him gain credence as well. Having enjoyed this first foray into the depths of Wessex legend, I'm looking forward to reading Book 2 now.
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on 5 October 2016
I bought this, and the second in the series, when they came round in an Amazon Daily Deal, intending to read the first and save the second for when we go on holiday. I found it an exciting read with plenty of history and action, unfortunately (for me) the quality of the book was better than my willpower and having read the first I went straight on to the second in the series...so now I've got to buy more books for the holiday.

I haven't seen the TV series so I came to this totally fresh and with no preconceptions, and enjoyed it: As far as my limited knowledge of history, supplemented by internet research every so often, it's as historically accurate as a fiction book can be. I'll be reading the rest of the series.
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on 4 March 2016
I read this book when it first came out and went on to read all the rest of the series as they came out. After seeing the TV show recently I was curious to re-read this book for comparison. I enjoyed the book again getting to know a young Uhtred having grown old with him over the past few years. My conclusion is that the TV show did a reasonable job, I enjoyed it very much and the characters came over well. There were inevitable differences to the book and in fact the first series probably covered the first 2 books. Why they couldn't have a blond Uhtred I don't know, it is quite important to the plot and having seen Sharpe I always imagined Uhtred as a young Sean Bean (although in the Sharpe books he has black hair and is from London!). The book is far superior to the TV show though and I would recommend anyone to read this then read the rest of the series before series 2 of the TV show
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on 5 March 2015
A book will take you any where in the world, anywhere in the universe, anywhere in time. This one takes you back to Saxon Northumbria - to start - and a castle defended by an English Lord attacked by marauding Danes. The Danes win the battle and take the Lord's son Uhtred prisoner. The Danish chief - Ragnar - takes a liking to this tall blonde haired boy ,and takes him in as his own. So begins the story of Uhtred rightful heir to the Bebbanburg castle being brought up as and living as a Dane .Growing up learning to fight and kill the English . However the tide turns and Uhtred will find himself fighting the very Danes that trained him. A story of cold winds, long ships, brutal battles , prayers said to many gods for victory or deliverance . A story of a boy growing up to be a man learning skills to keep him alive. An excellent foundation for the Warrior Chronicles. Just a note the author provides a list of place names as they were in the 9th century and today's equivalent, you may be tempted to flick back and forth to see which is which. My advice - forget that , just let the story flow , get to know Uhtred on his terms!
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