Title: The Last Kingdom
Author: Bernard Cornwell
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Completed: January 17 2016
Goodreads rating: 5 stars.
In the middle years of the ninth century, the fierce Danes stormed onto British soil, hungry for spoils and conquest. Kingdom after kingdom fell to the ruthless invaders until but one realm remained. And suddenly the fate of all England—and the course of history—depended upon one man, one king.
New York Times bestselling author Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom is a rousing epic adventure of courage, treachery, duty, devotion, majesty, love, and battle as seen through the eyes of a young warrior who straddled two worlds.
The Wall Street Journal’s review of The Last Kingdom exclaimed “Historical novels stand or fall on detail, and Mr. Cornwell writes as if he has been to ninth-century Wessex and back”, and they couldn’t have been more right!
A (my partner) has been bugging me to read The Last Kingdom series (or really anything written by Bernard Cornwell) for years. When I complained last week that I was just really struggling with the Martian and couldn’t find another book to read (I’ve become a multiple books at a time reader), he suggested I start The Last Kingom, telling me “I’d be addicted and have to read them all”.
And he was right.
I’m partial to a bit of medieval/pre-medieval historical fiction/fantasy, so I knew I was going to enjoy The Last Kingdom. But I was not prepared for how much I would love it. I listened to the audiobook in one and a half sittings as I flew from Singapore to Edinburgh via Heathrow, an not once in the 13.5 hours of the book did I want a break. I don’t know how he did it, but Bernard Cornwell managed to get the balance right and transport me to ninth century England so that I felt like I was there. Not only that, it felt as though I’d always been there, that I understood the tensions, religions, cultures, values, everything that makes world building important. The Last Kingdom is one of the best examples of successful world-building I’ve ever seen. Obviously ninth century England existed, but it’s still an accomplishment to portray the details of the world so well without dumping huge amounts of info on the reader. The plot was action-packed and moved at just the right pace. It’s definitely a book that you could devour in one sitting (if you had the time, it is almost 400 pages) and still want more at the end of it.
A and I also watched the first two episodes of the BBC adaptation before I left for the UK (I’m pretty sure he’s watched more by now), and although I enjoyed them they missed out SO MUCH of the detail that the book provides.
Basically, just read this book. READ IT OMG READ IT!
5/5. 6/5. EVERYTHING OUT OF FIVE!!