Dare to Read

April 22, 2008

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

Filed under: Books, Reviews — carmenferreiroesteban @ 9:03 pm
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Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, Uhtred—and Britain—Struggles for Survival


I must confess I owe my introduction to Bernard Cornwell, the writer, to Sean Bean’s debonair performance as captain Richard Sharpe in the screen version of his Sharpe’s novels. And for that I will forever be in debt to Mr. Bean, because Bernard Cornwell’s writing is a rare, most satisfying treat.


Uhtred, the protagonist of his on going saga The Saxon Tales, is again a young warrior. Strong, handsome, fearless, and impetuous, Uhtred is nevertheless a devoted friend and a passionate and faithful lover.


Saxon by birth, Dane at heart, he is like his country (Britain in the ninth century AD) torn between two peoples, two cultures, two gods.

Raised by Ragnar the warrior Dane who killed his family and destroyed his village when he was ten, Uhtred grows to love his adoptive father and his Viking ways. But, as Uhtred reminds us repeatedly, the three sisters under the Tree of life spin the threads that are our lives and the boy’s world is again turned upside down when his new family is also killed and he, left to wander in the warring landscape that was England at the time.


Circumstances force Uhtred to swear his alliance to Alfred, the only Saxon king still fighting the Danes. Bound to him by honor now, he must help this king he despises, even as he knows that Alfred’s victory will impose a religion and a new order that will eventually destroy the world he loves.


Action packed, and terribly amusing, this is historical fiction at his best.