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Sword of Kings

The Last Kingdom Series, Book 12
Written by: Bernard Cornwell
Narrated by: Matt Bates
Series: The Last Kingdom Series, Book 12
Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (42 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

England is in turmoil as Vikings and Saxons battle for territory. Rumours build about the fatal sickness of the King, and the country awaits an heir.

A violent clash at sea forces the warrior lord Uhtred to lead his men from his Northumbrian fortress to London and plunge into the eye of the storm. For two kings claim the empty throne and a new kingdom cannot be born without bloodshed.

Uhtred’s sword will leave one king dead and the other victorious. But sometimes it is hard to know the will of the gods....

©2019 Bernard Cornwell (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What the critics say

"Nobody in the world does this better than Cornwell." (Lee Child)

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    3 out of 5 stars

Jonathan Keeble is far better.

Gave it a try .. but Matt Bates just can't compare to Keeble who had the right gravitas and voice for Uhthred. Very disappointing performance. Bates' various impressions just don't suit the characters at all and the story suffers as a result.

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Another great listen!

Another terrific story about the birth of England. Matt Bates is one of my favourite readers. Like all the previous books this one does not disappoint. I believe there will be one more and I will be watching for it.

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  • David Cochran
  • 2019-10-13

Needs more Keeble

Great read, but this whole series would've been better if Johnathan Keeble were the narrator.

4 people found this helpful

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  • CW_214
  • 2019-10-04

Bernard Cornwell Does Not Disappoint

Bernard Cornwell has done it again. Sword of Kings entertains as a new favorite of Cornwell’s Saxon Stories (Last Kingdom) series. Uhtred is an all time favorite literary character of mine and I simply don’t want the adventures to end for this endearingly flawed, oath bound, hero. As always, I had trouble pressing the stop button. The narrator Matt Bates once again provides an excellent performance bringing the characters to life.
Having read many of Cornwell’s series including, Sharpe’s series and others, he has created yet another masterful entertaining work. Well done!

6 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-10-29

Excellent continuation of the story

I was surprised by how much I liked this. I think it would be too easy to continue the story in formula, so this is what I must have been expecting. While I certainly enjoy the subtext of the historical facts within the series, I also enjoy hearing about Uthred's story and how it unfolds. This was, to me at least, a good tale. It follows his fictional life as he ages, this plot line simply does not get old to me because the author somehow keeps it fresh and engaging. I enjoyed listening too this book and thinking about it in between when I was not listening, to me that is the sign of a good audio book!

2 people found this helpful

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  • The Reason
  • 2019-10-08

Good edition to the story of Uhtred

I have read all the other Saxon Tales or Last Kingdom books and the story taken in its entirety is excellent. It is disappointing in this book that Uhtred would even consider running from a fight. Too much of the book ponders on his indecision. This is still the authors decision as Uhtred ages that this is part of his story and worth reading. This book is well written and the performance is excellent. Maybe I just don’t like that Uhtred is aging. I expected him to be arrogant and defiant till the end.

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  • Vm66
  • 2019-11-07

Is this the end?

After listening to the author’s note at the end of the story, it seems that this may be the last installment of this series. If so, I want to thank the author for writing such historical fiction that has allowed me to travel back in time and experience the world of Uthred. Furthermore, Matt Bates is an excellent narrator.

Uthred has been bound of oaths after oaths. First, he has given an oath to Alfred. When Alfred has passed away, he has given his oath to Æthelflæd. His last oath is to Æthelstan. These oaths have burdened him. He has lost so many loved ones and tore his heart many times and over, but he has fulfilled those darn oaths no matter what the circumstances are. He is true to his words and an embodiment of a true warrior. I am truly happy for him in the end...he is home.

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  • Armen Shaghzo
  • 2019-11-02

Consistently Amazing!

I have read many of BC’s novels, including the “Sharpe” books, and others. This series “The Last Kingdom” is my favorite of all novels of the genre. It is amazingly written. The story captivates and draws you into the era and the country to the point where you feel you know the characters personally. The action scenes are the most mesmerizing and so well written that I feel like I am a part of each betrayal battle conflict conquest. Thank you BC for using the written word to carry us through these amazing adventures with our protagonist(s). Uhtred Go Brach!

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  • Trenton
  • 2020-03-25

A must read

This is a must read because it's part of an overall great story series. However, this was the first book in this series that I had to push myself to get through.
The narrator, Matt Bates, does great per usual.

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  • Crystal Parker
  • 2020-02-04

excellent

I've read all the books, never disappointed by any. Might start at the beginning and read them all again.
Wyrd bið ful aræd

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  • John
  • 2020-01-13

Okay

I am a fan of The Last Kingdom Series, formerly known as The Saxon Tales. But this book seems more of an afterthought and lacks the excitement, passion and suspense of the previous novels in this series. In fact, it all makes me wonder if this is going to be the last book of the series. I'm still a Cornwell fan and still a fan of this series. And like before, I will buy new books in the series sight unseen.

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  • J. Allen
  • 2019-12-19

Continuing a Great Series

I keep reading new books in this series, expecting to come to an end of anything interesting, but Cornwell continues to amaze. A very, very good book, read very well with feeling and pleasure by the reader.