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The Last Kingdom

The Last Kingdom Series, Book 1
Written by: Bernard Cornwell
Narrated by: Jonathan Keeble
Length: 13 hrs and 28 mins
5 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Caught up in the power struggle between two kings, powerless to stop the bloodshed and compelled to take a side, this is a powerful tale of loyalty, war and the struggle to survive.

The first book in a brand-new series, The Last Kingdom is set in England during the reign of King Alfred.

Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of ninth-century Northumbria. Orphaned at 10, he is captured and adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred's fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the only English kingdom to survive the Danish assault.

The struggle between the English and the Danes and the strife between christianity and paganism is the background to Uhtred's growing up. He is left uncertain of his loyalties but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred's kingdom. Marriage ties him further still to the West Saxon cause but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of the Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea. There, in the horror of the shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.

The Last Kingdom, like most of Bernard Cornwell's books, is firmly based on true history. It is the first novel of a series that will tell the tale of Alfred the Great and his descendants and of the enemies they faced, Viking warriors like Ivar the Boneless and his feared brother, Ubba. Against their lives Bernard Cornwell has woven a story of divided loyalties, reluctant love, and desperate heroism. In Uhtred, he has created one of his most interesting and heroic characters and in The Last Kingdom one of his most powerful and passionate novels.

©2004 Bernard Cornwell (P)2014 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

What the critics say

"Cornwell is a virtuoso of historical fiction." ( Sunday Telegraph)
"Bernard Cornwell is a literary miracle. Year after year, hail, rain, snow, war and political upheavals fail to prevent him from producing the most entertaining and readable historical novels of his generation." ( Daily Mail)
"Cornwell's narration is quite masterly and supremely well-researched." ( Observer)

What members say

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Excellent Listen

I really enjoyed this audiobook. Jonathan Keeble has done an excellent job of narrating the story. The voice he gives to each character fits well and really brings them to life. I hope he will continue to narrate the entire series. Great story and great listen! #Audible1

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A literary work of art.

Historical fiction at its finest. What an excellent read. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

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better than the show

so much more than the show, I love the show and have seen it probably 10 times, this is even better!

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The best book I've read in a long time!!!!

A great story well written and narrated..It is related to my favorite TV series Vikings featuring Ragnar Lothbruk and his sons...

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Perfect Match of Story & Performance

Lovers of English history will appreciate how wonderfully it comes to life in the hands of an excellent writer and a skilled narrator. Thoroughly entertaining.

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Utred Rides to War

A great listen while knitting or walking or country driving. Nice pace of narration and I enjoyed the accents and voices. A wonderful story for a read aloud.

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  • Stephen
  • 2016-05-05

New threads in an old, accurate tapestry

Where does The Last Kingdom rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

I had previously read many of Simon Scarrow's fiction of Romans in Britain, and enjoyed them. These here make a good follow-on. I find the writing a little superior and the narration is good. It's interesting for anyone who finds this period before 1066 intriguing, or who has an interest in the influence of Vikings on British history.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • K. A. Wolstenholme
  • 2018-03-07

Cornwell at his best!

I've never been a fan of the Viking story and certainly dislike the "Hollywood style" dramatisations, so this purchase was a chance taken in a moment of boredom. However, Mr Cornwell manages to bring the characters to life in a way that makes them human and likeable. The added bonus of Jonathan Keeble and his wonderful voices makes this my new favourite. Looking forward to listening to the rest of the series!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • francisco
  • 2017-08-18

Loved it !

I could not stop ... The narrator holds our attention and every action comes to life. And although the book has a slightly different story from the bbc series I'm going to buy The Pale Horseman.

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  • Mike
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • 2017-01-23

Amazing narration, excellent story

Wow, one if the best readings I've heard. The range of distinct characters was so impressive. The story was so realistic, it really brought to life that period for me.

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  • Rui Ribeiro
  • 2016-04-19

Enthralling

An excellent book, superbly written and narrated. Before finishing it, I found myself buying the additional audiobooks on the series. Highly recommended.

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  • Jarrod
  • South Lake Tahoe, CA, United States
  • 2015-05-21

Excellent in every way

Really enjoyed this well written and well narrated historical fiction about a very interesting period of British history. Well done