I read the first book in the Saxon series (The Last Kingdom) on my Kindle and have enjoy Pale Horseman and Lords of the North with Tom Sellwood as narrator. The Irish is strong and clear enough that you don't miss a word. And with this book you feel that you're hearing a Klingon tale (yes, I'm a trekkie with a doctoral degree and I also read lots of classical literature and no I can't stand Klingons per se but these stories are great!) WIth this narrator's pounding great expression and the narrative which sounds like an epic tale told by a scaeld, you get into the story so much you don't even mind the gore. (I'm not into gore, and there's lots of it, but it fits the time and isnt' just there to shock.) I've followed this character through this and now the next book: I've never liked him but I've always cared about him and respected him and been eager to see what he'd choose to do or have to cope with next. You can't have a good epic without lots of deus ex machina, but it's always believable. I love the historical notes Bernard Cornwell includes at the end. The themes of the books are timeless. Lastly, the anti-Christian theme is actually not offensive to me, a deeply committed conservative Baptist Bible-believing Christian involved in ministry, because I know enough history (and life) to know that much of what has been called Christian through the years has been a travesty and perversion created by institutions and power-seeking individuals just trying to use the name of Jesus Christ to achieve their own ends as Simon Magus tried to in the book of Acts. Sadly, the "church-falsely-so-called" has had a disastrous effect on people who would have at least considered Christ if they'd really understood the Gospel message. Thus I see this author as not presenting an anti-Christian message at all--and he very fairly includes some significant characters who are good examples of believable Christians--but rather pointing a finger at the damage done by counterfeits. EM
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. Bernard Cornwell is an excellent writer. He is a dedicated researcher and is an excellent writer of battles. I would recommend this book very highly. My wife read the first book of this series and loved it.
I admit to being a huge fan of Bernard Cornwell. I have thorougly enjoyed every one of his books and they translate extremely well to the audible format. While it would be difficult for any series to displace his Authur trilogy as my all time favorite, this one comes close. Sadly that series is not available her but I purchased the unabridged cds some time ago and I return to it regualarly. This series is indeed a close second. If you are looking for well reseached, exciting historical fiction with sypathetic characters in interesting situations, look no further. My only regret is that the first two books of this series are only available in abridged form. Cornwell is meant to be enjoyed in full unabridged splender, which makes this last book a treat.
I also found the reading excellent. The abridged reader is a tough act to follow but once I recovered from the initial shock of the change, I was completely satisfied. I look forward to his addition to the other abridged versions (a not so small hit). Listen to this one and enjoy.
This is a well written story about the life of a Saxon/Danish warrior in the mid to late 8oo. The story has a good pace not to fast not to slow. It really did give a good account historically of what is was to be alive in that time and gave a very good layout of the social structure of the time without coming across as a history book. I wish I had read the two books that proceed this one (even though they were each only 5 hours in length). I will certainly look into the other series of books he has, (The Sharpe Series is one) although audible.com doesn’t have all the books that would complete these series which is a real pain in the you know what. Just a good listen.
This is a great story and following in what is become an excellent series. Cornwell's other series - Grail Quest is also very good. I downloaded this one in anticipation of continuing the enjoyment of the first two read by Jamie Glover (especially since it was unabridged), but was sadly disappointed to hear the reader chosen to follow the first two. His accent is pure 1870 London and completely distracts from the tone and feel of a story set in the late 800's when Dane and Saxon vied for control of England. The reader of the first two (which unfortunately were in abridged format, but great nevertheless) gave a feeling of being there in battle with Uthred - this time one has the feeling of being in a pub in London waiting for another round... :-)
I am in the process of downloading the abridged version of the book at the moment so that I can continue the story. That said, this is a great series and I HIGHLY recommend all of the Cornwell books, the Grail Quest and Saxon Shores series in particular.
This book has the most adventure, sorrow, and glory of all the books so far in the series. you will be lifted, broken, then lifted again!
This is my second listen to this series, and I remember not liking this one as much, but I'm not sure why. This time through, I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator takes a little getting used to after the perfect performance by the narrator of the first two books(and the fourth), but he's actually pretty good. I think the other guys gritty manliness is a better fit for Uhtred though. If you struggle with the change, keep listening, it's worth it.