From Bernard Cornwell, the New York Times bestselling author whom the Washington Post calls "perhaps the greatest writer of historical adventure novels today," comes a saga of blood, rage, fidelity, and betrayal. In the ninth and tenth centuries, King Alfred and his heirs fought to secure the survival of the last outpost of Anglo-Saxon culture by battling the ferocious Vikings, whose invading warriors had already captured and occupied three of England's four kingdoms.
In A.D. 866, Uhtred, a boy of ten and the son of a nobleman, is captured in the same battle that leaves his father dead. His captor is the Earl Ragnar, a Danish chieftain, who raises the boy as his own, teaching him the Viking ways of war. As a young man expected to partake in raids and bloody massacres of the English, he grapples with divided loyalties, torn between Ragnar, the warrior he loves like a father, and Alfred, whose piety and introspection leave him cold. It takes a terrible slaughter and the unexpected joys of marriage for Uhtred to discover his true allegiance and to rise to his greatest challenge.
Performed by Jamie Glover
In addition to providing thrilling combat action and satisfying details of material life, military accoutrement and battle tactics, Cornwell's best historical fiction pleases us mightily in the way his renditions of the great actors and events of yore stray from received versions. Such contrariness is partly the product of meticulous research and partly of a mischievous sense of humor. Happily, both inform The Last Kingdom throughout.