All 13 of The Last Kingdom Books in Order by Bernard Cornwell

The Last Kingdom Books in Order

Whether you’ve discovered The Last Kingdom because of the TV Show or simply stumbled upon one of the books, you may now be wondering about how to read The Last Kingdom books in order.

Like most historical fiction, The Last Kingdom is just that: Fiction. But history buffs will rejoice in the nuggets of truth and inclusion of real historical events, even if the hows and whys are fabricated.

Originally published as the Saxon Stories series, The Last Kingdom is great for fans of medieval fantasy who like their fiction based more in reality than elves, dwarves, and other magical races.

The Last Kingdom Series Summary

The Last Kingdom follows the main character, Uhtred. Uhtred was the son of an English nobleman who was captured by Danes at a young age and raised as one of their own. So much to the point that Uhtred views himself as a Dane.

The Last Kingdom series largely focuses on the conflict between the Kingdom of Wessex as they deal with the Viking incursion into Southern England.

Uhtred is placed in an interesting predicament when a man he despises and views as weak, King Alfred, manages to defeat the Danes and Uhtred’s supposed brothers turn on him. Now he’s forced to choose sides between two enemies.

The Last Kingdom Screen Adaptation

As previously mentioned, this successful book series has also been adapted into a successful TV series.

The Last Kingdom has four seasons available to stream on Netflix. It stars Alexander Dreymon as Uhtred, Emily Cox as Brida, and David Dawson as King Alfred.

It has also been renewed for a fifth and final season. While there is no official release date yet, the show wrapped production in June 2021. It is expected to premiere in the first half of 2022.

If you’re panicking over the TV series wrapping after five seasons and the book series being 13 books in length; fret not. The TV show began adapted roughly two books per season, and in October 2021 Netflix announced it will be producing a movie of The Last Kingdom. Alexander Dreymon will return to his role of Uhtred.

While the producer said the fifth season will fully conclude the series, there is one more story they wanted to tell. The title of the movie is Seven Kings Must Die.

The Last Kingdom Books in Order by Publication

If you are looking for how to read The Last Kingdom books in order, the best way to do so is pretty straight-forward and that is in order of publication. Here are all 13 of The Last Kingdom books in order.

  1. The Last Kingdom (2004)
  2. The Pale Horseman (2005)
  3. Lords of the North (2006)
  4. Sword Song (2007)
  5. The Burning Land (2009)
  6. Death of Kings (2011)
  7. The Pagan Lord (2013)
  8. The Empty Throne (2014)
  9. Warriors of the Storm (2015)
  10. The Flame Bearer (2016)
  11. War of the Wolf (2018)
  12. Sword of Kings (2019)
  13. War Lord (2020)

Who is Bernard Cornwell?

Having a list of The Last Kingdom books in order means nothing if you don’t know about the author.

Bernard Cornwell is king of the historical adventure novel. He was born in London in 1944, and grew up as an adopted child with Christian fundamentalists in Essex County. After school, he began a career with the BBC.

It was only after moving to the USA in 1980 that he decided to pursue his long-cherished dream to write. His first novel about the protagonist Richard Sharpe, a British soldier in Napoleon’s wars, appeared soon after.

It was followed by a number of Sharpe novels, some of which were filmed for television as well as a large number of other book series. Cornwell’s books take place in the American Civil War as well as in the Hundred Years’ War, in the early Middle Ages and the Viking Age.

In addition to thoroughly researched facts and detailed battle paintings, Cornwell’s novels inspire his fans above all with their gripping stories.

With more than 20 million books sold and translated into 20 languages, Bernard Cornwell is considered the king of the historical adventure novel. For this achievement, he bears the title “Officer of the Order of the British Empire” conferred by Queen Elizabeth II. A keen sailor, Cornwell lives in Cape Cod during the summer and spends the winter in Charleston, North Carolina.

Now let’s take a closer look at The Last Kingdom books in order.

The Last Kingdom Books in Order

The Last Kingdom Books in Order Bernard Cornwell

1. The Last Kingdom

Death comes with the dragon boats.

Northern England in 866: At the age of ten, the prince’s son Uhtred witnesses the invasion of the Vikings. His brave courage in battle impresses the leader of the Danes so much that he spares Uhtred and takes him in as a foster child. Over the years, the boy almost becomes one of them.

After raids of robbery and conquest full of blood and violence, Wessex, the last of the five Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, threatens to fall to the conquerors. But then Uhtred changes sides again.

The Pale Horseman Bernard Cornwell

2. The Pale Horseman

And I saw a white horse, and the rider’s name was Death.

At the end of the 9th century the Danish conquerors subjugates three of the four English kingdoms. The entire land of the Anglo-Saxons is in the power of the invaders – except for a small swamp area.

King Alfred of Wessex hides there with a few loyal followers. Uhtred, a warrior in Alfred’s service, knows exactly how far away the Danish army is. Nevertheless, Alfred wants to fight one final, decisive battle.

The pious king relies on God’s help, but Uhtred prefers to trust his battle-tested sword. Still, the two unequal allies are completely in agreement on one thing: A defeat would be the downfall of England.

The Lords of the North Bernard Cornwell

3. Lords of the North

My sword can conquer the whole world for me

Uhtred, the warrior, saved the last English kingdom in the battle of Ethandun. Now he is returning to his war-torn homeland to enter the service of King Guthred of Northumbria, whom he, himself, freed from Danish captivity.

But his new master betrays him. Chained to the oars of a slave ship, Uhtred embarks on a journey into the unknown. Will he ever step onto English soil again?

Sword Song Bernard Cornwell

4. Sword Song

I was a warlord in all his glory and I came to kill.

In the year 885 there is a fragile peace in England. Most of the country is occupied by the Danes, only Wessex in the south is still free. Its King, Alfred, instructs Uhtred the fighter to recapture the great city of Lundene. Whoever holds it controls the Thames, England’s lifeline.

But it is not Uhtred who will rule, but rather his incompetent cousin Æthelred. Uhtred feels bound by his oath and takes the city for Æthelred.

But he promptly commits a terrible act of stupidity, and his pregnant wife falls into the hands of the Northmen. Only one dares venture into the enemy camp: Uhtred. Meanwhile, a surprise awaits him there.

The Burning Land Bernard Cornwell

5. The Burning Land

What is the strongest army against a woman’s hatred?

A deadly danger threatens Wessex: Harald Bloodhair. Only Uhtred recognizes the weak point of the mighty enemy. It is a woman, Skade, the whore and sorceress, with whom the Danish ruler has completely fallen in love.

When Uhtred took control of her, one of the great battles in English history had already been won. Skade curses him, but Uhtred feels invincible.

Until he receives the news that his beloved wife Gisela died in her delivery bed. And smoke from burning villages is sweeping across the country again.

Death of Kings Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom Books in Order

6. Death of Kings

The king dies. The empire should live.

At the end of the ninth century England threatens to sink into chaos again. Uhtred’s master, King Alfred, is dying and war is in the air.

Alfred wants his son Edward to sit on the throne after him. But the crown is coveted by many, including Saxons and pagan Viking princes.

Is it now time for the warrior Uhtred to recapture the land in the north that was stolen from him? No. Because even if no oath binds him to the weak prince: Uhtred will not watch Alfred’s dream of a strong England sink in blood and fire.

The Pagan Lord Bernard Cornwell

7. The Pagan Lord

King Alfred is dead and his son Edward has taken the throne.

The empire seems saved, but the peace is fragile. Because the Danish ruler Cnut Longsword desires nothing more than the emerald crown from Wessex.

Uhtred cannot help. He is undesirable at Edward’s court and now decides to recapture his family seat of Bebbanburg from the Northmen with a troop of warriors. Alliances and vows are broken and many men will die when one after the other all Saxon empires get into the bloodiest confrontation with the Danes to date: A war that will decide more than one throne and the fate of England.

The Empty Throne Bernard Cornwell

8. The Empty Throne

One champion, one hero, might decide the fate of England.

The united Anglo-Saxon armies have pushed the Danes back, but the deadly danger from the North still hangs over the English lands. And now Æthelred is dying, Lord of the Kingdom of Mercia. Will it be able to maintain its independence from neighbouring Wessex?

In the struggle for succession, Uhtred the warrior remains loyal to his mistress, Queen Æthelflæd, who is also his lover. But will the nobility accept a woman on the throne, even as stubborn and brave as this one?

Warriors of the Storm Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom Books in Order

9. Warriors of the Storm

A storm is about to descend…

A fragile peace reigns in England. The kingdom of Mercia in the north is under the rule of Æthelflæd, daughter of the late King Alfred. It has put its most experienced warlord on the northern border of the kingdom: Uhtred. And from the north comes the enemy too, a mighty army of Irish and Northmen, led by the terrible Ragnall Iverson.

Ragnall has a brother with whom Uhtred has already measured himself in the past, whom he respects as a warrior – and to whom he has given his daughter as a wife. Soon, doubts arise in the kingdom of Mercia as to what Uhtred will feel more bound to in the end: To a feudal oath or a blood relationship.

The Flame Bearer Bernard Cornwell

10. The Flame Bearer

An uneasy peace wanes in Britain.

For many years Uhtred fought against the Danes and Northmen. Now, only one English kingdom is under the rule of a Northman, Northumbria, whose king is Uhtred’s son-in-law. The time of wars seems to be over, and Uhtred sees the time has come to finally recapture Bebbanburg, the seat of his forefathers.

But peace gives birth to the desire for war. Soon Uhtred faces three powerful opponents. It doesn’t help to just be brave in battle. You also have to be smart as a snake.

War of the Wolf Bernard Cornwell

11. War of the Wolf

I will carry fire and sword through the land, and vengeance will be my only consolation.

A cry for help from Mercia reaches the warrior Uhtred. He must come to the aid of a besieged city. But the call for help was just a ruse to lure him out of Northumbria.

There, in Uhtred’s absence, a terrible enemy invades: The Northman Sköll Grimmarson who has at his side a dreaded spell and his army of Úlfhéðnar, wolf warriors who will stop at nothing. The enemy takes what Uhtred loves most, and the pain almost kills him. But if you want revenge, you have to be cold and smart…

Sword of Kings Bernard Cornwell

12. Sword of Kings

An oath of loyalty. Two warring kings. And a destiny he didn’t choose.

A king is dying and he decides to divide his scarcely united kingdom between his two sons. But each of the half-brothers claims the whole of England for himself.

Uhtred, the warrior, leaves his home in the North to assist the elder, Æthelstan. An oath binds him, but he suspects that both warring brothers dream of joining his beloved Northumbria to the kingdom.

The battle for the English crown will be decided in London. But then Uhtred suffers the greatest defeat of his life: He is captured and loses the breath of snakes, the sword that accompanied him in all battles.

War Lord Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom Books in Order

13. War Lord

In the final reckoning, choose your side carefully.

Uhtred, the warrior, fought for King Alfred and his heirs all his life. Now he wants to retire in Bebbanburg, home of his forefathers. His limbs ache for the war hero has grown old.

But the enemies of England do not rest; Northmen, Scots, and Irish all want to prevent the unification of the Saxon empires under one crown. And King Æthelstan, whom Uhtred has always faithfully served, seems to have forgotten to whom he owes the throne.

Surrounded by enemies, Uhtred has to choose. Should he break his feudal oath – or go to the last, hardest battle?

Looking for more books in order?

Check out my list of the Dune books in order.

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