Bernard Cornwell is reliable: Every year he publishes the next volume of his (now so-called) Last Kingdom-Series. So.. this year it was #10: “The Flame Bearer”.
“From the day it was stolen from me I had dreamed of recapturing Bebbanburg. The great fort was built on a rock that was almost an island, it was massive, it could only be approached on land by a single narrow track – and it was mine.”
In his “historical note” Bernard Cornwell confesses, that this book is probably the most fictional of his Uhtred-books. And I have to say, that this book slightly differs from the others: This time Uhtred is not as much bound to others by oaths as he was before, or at least this time he does not care so much about it. The land which is to become England has established a more or less stable peace. But it is endagered when the King Edward’s father in law plots against the Nosemen who rule in Northumbria. And another enemy comes into play: The Scots and their king Constantin.
So, after Uhtred has solved the conflict between Northumbria and King Edward’s father in law for the time being, he finally sets out to pursue his long held vision of recapturing Bebbanburg. He has a plan and this time he will not allow it to fail. So, the difference I mentioned earlier is mostly that Uhtred is this time more caring for his own goals. But of course, the book is also a typical Cornwell-novel with detailed and thrilling battles. It was not the best volume of his series, but it was still really good. I hope that this was not the last one!
The Last Kindom TV Series
I also started to watch the TV Series “The Last Kingdom”, which is based on the first 2 novels of this book series. And since I am here writing about the latest book, I thought I could also add some of my impressions of the show.
So far I like the series. Of course now some scenes I thought rather funny in the books about the christian/pagan-conflict looked way more cruel. And also the scene of Earl Ragnar’s death was way more dramatic, as it was not shown from Uhtred’s perspective only like it was in the book. It has been some years that I have read the first 2 books, but was far as I can tell it follows the books’s storyline quite well. I was missing the blacksmith who was a good friend of Uhtred’s and who made his sword Serpentbreath.
Also I was a bit confused at the first encounter with Svein of the white horse, who is here apparently called Skorpa. Okay, this shows that I have already watched quite far 😉
One litte thing I am missing. But maybe I am also wrong here. In the latest books of the series, Uhtred keeps saying “Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable”. And I was missing this in the series, because as far as I remember he has been saying this ever since the first book. And he says it a lot. But I reread a a bit and found the quote “Destiny is all, Ravn liked to tell me, destiny is everything. He would even say it in English ‘Wyrd bið ful āræd'” . The TV series picks up this “destiny is all”, so well.. maybe he changes from saying this to saying “fate is inexorable”. Or they just replaced it because it is easier. Who knows. Maybe someone can help me out here 😉 .
Anyways. I like these series. And I hope they won’t mess it upo like Game of Thrones. I really dislike bad screed adaptions of books I love.
What I like most about the Last Kindom TV series is the portrayal of the characters. Especially Uhtred, King Alfred, Leofric and Ragnar the Younger come very close to what I had imagined them to be. Maybe not from their looks, but from the way their personality and behavior is portrayed.