Thefirst installment of Bernard Cornwell's New York Timesbestselling series chronicling the epic saga of the making of England, like Game of Thrones, but real (The Observer, London) the basis forThe Last Kingdom, the hit television series.
This is the exciting yet little known story of the making of England in the 9th and 10th centuries, the years in which King Alfred the Great, his son and grandson defeated the Danish Vikings who had invaded and occupied three of England's four kingdoms.
The story is seen through the eyes of Uhtred, a dispossessed nobleman, who is captured as a child by the Danes and then raised by them so that, by the time the Northmen begin their assault on Wessex (Alfred's kingdom and the last territory in English hands) Uhtred almost thinks of himself as a Dane. He certainly has no love for Alfred, whom he considers a pious weakling and no match for Viking savagery, yet when Alfred unexpectedly defeats the Danes and the Danes themselves turn on Uhtred, he is finally forced to choose sides. By now he is a young man, in love, trained to fight and ready to take his place in the dreaded shield wall. Above all, though, he wishes to recover his father's land, the enchanting fort of Bebbanburg by the wild northern sea.
This thrilling adventure based on existing records of Bernard Cornwell's ancestors depicts a time when law and order were ripped violently apart by a pagan assault on Christian England, an assault that came very close to destroying England.
“Enthralling ... the desperate, heroic struggle of Alfred “the Great” ... against the seemingly invincible Vikings.
-Wall Street Journal
“Intoxicating….Thrilling….Cornwell conveys the disquiet of change and the melancholy of extinction as few historical novelists manage to.”
-Washington Post Book World
“Enter Cornwell’s vividly drawn ninth-century Kingdom … after this dip into the Dark Ages, we want to go back.”
“History comes alive.”
“A crackling good storyteller.”
“Cornwell .... makes the usually gloomy ninth century sound like a hell of a lot of fun.”
“Highly recommended … another great historical series in the making.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“Masterful....[An]irresistible epic adventure....Cornwell deserves praise for his mesmerizing narrative finesse and his authentic historical detailing.”