“The Last Kingdom” Written by Bernard Cornwell follows the life of Uhtred in the year 800 AD. As a young boy he watched his family killed by the people he would then come to fight for. When his father is slain in battle he is taken and raised by a family of Danish invaders. Uhtred quickly becomes on of the fiercest warriors in all of England. His entire life he desires to return to his rightful home of Bebbenburg which was stolen from him as a child.
The battle between the Danish invaders and the English rages on and on with Uhtred caught in the middle, torn between which side he should fight for. Uhtred is constantly undecided on whether he should fight for the Danish who raised him or his English countrymen. “Northumbrian or Dane? Which was I? What did I want to be?”. This quote is trying to teach us that we should be what we want to be. Instead of letting other people decide for us or worrying what other people might think we should make the decision ourselves. It is important as young people that we don’t let other people influence who we are. This quote is important to me as a teenager as I’m constantly surrounded by images of what the “ideal” person should be. I feel that society places to much importance on fitting in and being something that other people tell you, that you are.
Uhtred was raised a Pagan which means that his christian countrymen that he fights with do not trust him. He is the English Kings best warrior but he is still hated for his religious views. This is why he is constantly torn over which side he should fight for. “He was a miserable, pious, tight-fisted king who distrusted me because I was no Christian”. This quote shows that even the King who Uhtred had risked his life for looked down upon him for being of a different faith or religion. The clash between religions is stupid and petty. Christians preach “love thy neighbor” but then scorn anyone who doesn’t support the Christian faith. Bernard Cornwell is trying to teach us as the reader that we shouldn’t judge people based of the religion they support. Peace between religions has been an idea for centuries but even now in the modern age we don’t have it. There is constant fighting in the middle east due to religion which has no end in sight. I believe that people should set aside there differences and allow everyone to believe in the whatever faith they want without fear of being judged or discriminated.
The Last Kingdom is gritty and fast paced. Events and characters in the text are based on real life people and battles so the text is considered Historical fiction. Don’t let that genre fool you, the book is dark and graphic and so it still a really interesting read for people not interested in historical events. This book is more suited towards mature readers because of the violent content portrayed, such as the gory battles and dark violent scenes. The Last Kingdom is a well written book that grabs your attention from the very first page.