The Saxon Stories
The Last Kingdom, first in the series
|Published||2004 - Present|
|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
The Saxon Tales is a continuing historical novel series written by the historical novelist Bernard Cornwell about 9th century Britain. The protagonist of the series is Uhtred Ragnarson, sometimes known as Uhtred Uhtredson. Uhtred is born in Northumbria, but captured and adopted by the Danes. The story takes place during the Danish invasion of Britain, where all but one of the English kingdoms is conquered. The story centers on the ruler of Wessex, Alfred, later historically dubbed 'the Great'. Cornwell mentions that he is in fact descended from an historical Uhtred of Bebbanburg, on whom the protagonist is based.
The following novels are now available:
- The Last Kingdom (2004)
- The Pale Horseman (2005)
- The Lords of the North (2006)
- Sword Song (2007)
- The Burning Land (2009)
- Death of Kings (2011)
- The Pagan Lord (2013)
The series is frequently compared to The Warlord Chronicles, not only because of similarities between the two protagonists (both were orphaned), but also in the similarities between the foreign menace in the form of the Danes in The Saxon Stories and the Saxons in The Warlord Chronicles. Alfred also resembles Arthur in his mission as the only man to save his kingdom (England for Alfred, Southern Celtic Britain for Arthur) from an unstoppable threat.
The main character, Uhtred of Bebbanburg (the old Saxon name of Bamburgh Castle), is an old man telling tales of events that took place decades earlier, starting from his childhood and going on, his story intertwining with the story of the British Isles in the end of the ninth century. He intersperses the narrative with often-acerbic comments regarding the events and characters he describes. It is notable that Uhtred has a very critical view of the Christian religion throughout the entire series, whilst keeping his sympathy to the Danes, their way of life and their gods, thus offering the reader an interesting picture of the "viking" invasions that are usually only portrayed from the viewpoint of the Christian chronicles, which are biased due to the fact that history, as usual, is written by the winner.
Bernard Cornwell mentioned in the historical notes at the end of The Lords of the North that he intended to continue writing The Saxon Stories. On his website, Cornwell states he may write seven or eight novels under the "Saxon Stories" banner. The Pagan Lord is the latest in the series and was released in the UK on September 26th, 2013.
- Author's note to The Last Kingdom.
- "The Saxon Stories". bernardcornwell.net. Retrieved 2009-04-30.