Review – Bernard Cornwell’s Sword of Kings

Posted: Oct 7, 2019 in book, book review, Fudgecrumpet, history
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

My missus is a ruddy great history nerd. She has a secret folder on her laptop full of topless photos of Dan Snow and completely ruined the latest Robin Hood movie by pointing out that the commoners shouldn’t be wearing purple hoodies.

So, the opportunity to review a copy of Bernard Cornwell’s new book was an ideal way for me to get in her good books after swearing at her while building Lego at the weekend, and also a fantastic way to keep her quiet for a while so I can build Lego.

This review launches a blog tour of reviews and articles related to these books, because if you’re going to advertise your epic historical novel, why not start the ball rolling with a poorly maintained blog written by a guy who wouldn’t know history if it jumped out in front of him, waggling its tentacles or whatever.

So, I will now leave you in the much more qualified hands of my missus Gem, and my attempts to type up her terrible handwriting.


Bernard Cornwell writes the 12th book in The Last Kingdom series, set in Alfred the Great & his descendants’ Saxon kingdom.

Ultred tells his tale of being a warrior, fighting for a united Anglo kingdom but holding belief in Norse gods he is found conflicted and held to oaths he regrets making.

Only his sword and honour will decide the fate of the new united country, Anglo-Saxon ‘Englaland’ (had to ask Gem if this was a real word, she says it is).

This series (or at least the first couple of books) have been made into a BBC TV series, and although the main characters are fictional, the history surrounding the protagonist is undeniably important to creating England as it is today, surviving numerous invasions and battles from the Danes.

Some passages can be very gory and bloody but are authentic to the contemporary warfare of the Vikings. Cornwell’s narrative flows through these scenes making sure the reader is committed to knowing the victor and outcome.

It may be an advantage to have read the previous books in the series to be familiar with Ultred’s family, friends, background and entangled oaths to past and present kings (although these are explained through memories and flashbacks).

Cornwell uses the Old English names for towns, cities, rivers and some lingo, which creates an authentic feeling of being present in the context of the past.

Although some historical events may have been brought forward or back in time, or tweaked for the sake of a compelling plot, it remains very true to the time period and to read this book is to be swept away to another dangerously exciting time in history, where your life may depend on the sword skills of a fierce, albeit ageing warrior.

She then ended the review with some sort of mad doodles, I assume because she still had ten minutes or so on her lunch break. It would be a crime not to share it, I’m sure.

So, there’s a teddy bear, an angel and a castle. Some sort of lollipop too. And a flower. Anyway, yeah.

You can find Sword of Kings on Amazon or in all good shops that sell books. I was gonna say bookshops, but I don’t even know if those are a thing anymore.

Let me know in comments what you think of Gem’s amazing artwork, and obviously go give her a follow on Twitter, where she mostly tells me off.

See ya later x

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