The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell
Synopsis: A young boy from Northern England is living a decent life as the son of a village leader. Suddenly he finds his father dead and his village overrun by Vikings. The boy, Young Uhtred, falls under the control of Viking warrior Ragnar the Fearless when the Dane wipes out Uhtred’s Northumberland family. Orphaned Uthred is then taken in by Ragnar and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia. 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 in Wessex (Southern England) with intentions to conquer and enjoy the spoils of war, the Danes meet unexpected resistance and Uhtred faces personal and familial challenges, as well as a crisis of national allegiance.
Appeals: This story makes for a thrilling adventure and also contains a decent amount of drama. Cornwell’s depiction of 9th century England allows the reader to envison how life, people, and battles were like in Medieval England. The historical figures, places, and battles are mostly based from historical writings and documents which makes this story a true work of historical fiction. There is also a fair amount of adult content (violence and sex) which may appeal to most adult readers.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publication Date: January 25th, 2005
Pages: 352 pages
- Story is told solely told from the point of view of the protagonist, Uthred.
- Loyalty and survival of the fittest are major themes seen in the story.
- There are a number of characters that the reader is introduced to.
- Bernard Cornwell does a great job with character development which makes the story and the characters more believable.
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