The Last Kingdom is a rich historical adventure novel set in ninth century England about an aristocratic English boy, Uhtred, who is captured and raised as a Dane following a Viking incursion into northern Britain.
As the novel progresses, Uhtred grapples with divided loyalties, torn between Ragnar, the Danish warrior who raised him like a father, and England, the land of his birth and ancestry.
I have to admit, I was skeptical when I started the novel. Ninth century England? How could it not be gloomy? But Cornwell's penchant for historical verisimilitude and fast-paced action make for a very engaging and fun read.