There is a series on Netflix called, “The Last Kingdom,” that I absolutely loved! And like all great series, they have to end, and then the sadness and confusion comes. Will I ever have joy in a show again? What else is there to watch? Thankfully, this year, I have chosen to read a complete series, and that series is “The Saxon” series by Bernard Cornwell. So far, I am into the second book of the series, and without a doubt, the books have been better than the series.

“The Last Kingdom” book — which is the first book of the Saxon Series — is about Uhtred, son of Uhtred of Bebbanburg, and his life and destiny. Uhtred’s father is killed during a battle with the Danes. Young Uhtred is captured and then enslaved by one of the leaders named Ragnar. Ragnar treats Uhtred well enough and eventually begins to treat him as a son. Although Uhtred is Saxon, he has many sympathies for the Danes. He also adopts their style of long hair and arm bands and also adopts their religion.

Throughout the book, there is a very interesting tug and pull in the struggle of Uhtred and his trying to figure out who he actually is. Christianity and its morals do not appeal to him, but the way of life of the Danes does bring about a lot of chaos. Destiny has him fighting for both sides, but one side eventually will have to win.

These books take place in the 900s. This time period is considered the Dark Ages because supposedly there is not much that seems to have happened during these times, but that isn’t very true. There is a lot happening around this time. The Vikings or Danes have come from the north to pillage, burn and destroy what we now know as England. They are pagan, worshippers of Odin and Thor. The Saxons who inhabit these lands are Christians. This landmass is roughly made up of arguably four kingdoms: Northumbira, Mercia, East Anglia and Wessex. We also get to meet and read about Alfred the Great, who is the King of Wessex and dreams of an united England.

Mr. Cornwell did a lot of research for this series and I love being entertained and learning at the same time. There is so much ancient English history in these books! The books are full of the horrors of war and the difficulty of life. I also enjoyed reading about the two opposing religions. How each side tried to honor their God in battle and in life.

Mr. Cornwell is a master at making the reader feel that they are in the battle along with Uhtred. This series is written in first person so as we read, we join Uhtred as the Three Wyrd Sisters spin out his fate and the fates of other men under Yggdrasil — the Great Tree.

I enjoyed every minute of this book and recommend it to anyone who likes military historical fiction of the Middle Ages. Also, anyone who loves books on the Vikings or Danes, will also enjoy this book. I give “The Last Kingdom” book a 4.5 rating out of 5.

Mr. Cornwell also has other series set during different times in history. Here are some of them if you like military historical fiction, but other time periods besides the Dark Ages: “Sharpe” series — set during the Napoleonic Wars (1800s), “The Warlord Chronicles” — retelling of the legend of Arthur, “The Grail Quest” series — set in England and France in the 1300s and “The Starbuck Chronicles” — set during the American Civil War.

“The Last Kingdom” is 333 pages long. It has a Goodreads rating of 4.26.