Tag: The Last Kingdom

Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 26th May 2019

Nothing beats writing a Sunday Summary post at the end of the week, but not the end of the weekend! Who else has the day off tomorrow?

My parents are working tomorrow, so I have a few plans of my own. Aside from doing the usual domestic things, I don’t plan to be without a book in hand for too long!

 

I’d like to apologise for not posting on Tuesday as promised. I found choosing my Top Ten characters of the A Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones) series a lot harder than I expected. Once I had picked my top ten I started writing brief commentaries on each. By 10:30pm on the Tuesday local time, I’d only written up satisfactory commentaries for half of the characters. At that point, I decided I wasn’t going to get the post ready for publishing to the standard I would like that night. Therefore, I decided to postpone it. When it does go live, I hope it doesn’t disappoint. I think I made the right decision in the end, and I hope you can understand.

I did manage to publish my review of Mythos by Stephen Fry on schedule. My interest in Greek Mythology stemmed from reading The Road to Alexander back in January, which features the story of Persephone and Hades. Mythos is my first non-fiction read of the year and I aim to read another four by the end of December. It’s not a huge number, I know, but we all have to start somewhere right?

 

Books Read

After last week’s Sunday Summary post, I promptly finished Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I really love this historical fiction series! The characters (Uhtred in particular) are fantastic and the narrative is easy to get lost in. I had less than 20% left so finishing this last weekend was quite easy.

I’ve spent most of the week reading Empress of All Seasons by Emiko Jean. I was kindly sent a copy of this to review by Gollancz. YA isn’t a typical genre for me, although I do like to sample it from time to time. I’m glad I requested this book. It gave me insight into a completely different culture and the fantasy element of the tale was really enjoyable to read! I look forward to writing my full review!

With Empress of all Seasons concluded, the rest of this month is dedicated to A Feast for Crows by George R. R. Martin. When I set my reading list for the month I said I’d be happy if I got around to starting the book. To be nearly 20% through the book with five days of May left is an incredible achievement! Reckon I can get to 60% by the end of the month? That sounds like a challenge to me!

I have also been listening to The Painted Man in the car on the way home from work. I’ll be popping out and about in the car tomorrow, so you can be sure I’ll be chipping into it some more. I have three and a half hours of the story left, so my second challenge is to finish this by the time I publish next week’s Sunday Summary post.

 

Books Discovered

 

Payday has rolled around once again (thank goodness)! This month I was determined to complete my paperback collection of the A Song of Ice and Fire series. I was fortunate that my store was stocking each of the books I needed to complete my collection. I have some plans to jazz up my shelves with some GoT related decor, but for now, here they are in all their glory!

 

Coming Up…

 

With half the post already completed, I have absolutely no excuses to disappoint you this week. This week I will be posting my Top Ten A Game of Thrones characters – honest!

As with this week, I plan to share a book review for you later in the week. This time, I’ll be reviewing the final book in The Relic Guild trilogy, The Watcher of Dead Time by Edward Cox. This is another series kindly provided to me by Gollancz that I’ve really enjoyed. I hope you can check in for that post later in the week. If you want to check out my reviews of the earlier books in the trilogy, I’ll be providing links to those too!

 

Top Blog Posts of The Week

A Frolic Through Fiction – Thank you!!

 

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Sunday Summary

Sunday Summary – 19th May 2019

It’s time for another Sunday Summary post again… already! It barely feels like I finish one weekly wrap-up post before I am starting the next one, seriously. It’s great though! Writing and sharing my progress/thoughts on something I love is a total pleasure. It’s not something that everyone understands, but that’s okay! That’s precisely why I reach out to an awesome community like you! Knowing that even a handful of people take the time to read what I have to say is really humbling.

Whilst a lot of this weekend (okay, yesterday) has been dedicated to playing Minecraft, I have managed a good amount of reading throughout the week! The end of last week/beginning of the week was a busy one! After I concluded last week’s Sunday Summary post, I jumped immediately into finishing drafting my Blog Tour post for Son of the Moon by Jennifer Macaire. After a few days breather on the blog post front, I committed myself to another Throwback Thursday review of The Rag Nymph by Catherine Cookson. I particularly enjoy those posts as it gives me the chance to review the books that I read even before starting my blog over two years ago now.

 

Books Read

I’m pleased with the amount of reading I have done this week. Even taking out a good few hours yesterday to scratch my Minecraft itch, I managed to get plenty done!

As of last week’s Sunday Summary post, I was halfway through my current read, Seventh Decimate by Stephen Donaldson. I have kindly been sent the second book of The Great God’s War series, so I wanted to pick up the first book before I get stuck into that. I can guarantee reading the second book will not be as speedy as the first, on account of it being almost twice as long! Seventh Decimate only took three days in all though, so it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge!

Immediately after concluding Seventh Decimate, I picked up one of my current reads, Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell. I’m 83% through the book as of now, with about an hour left of reading time required to finish it. Sounds like a challenge to me! I totally love this series so far. I first watched the BBC series when it aired in 2015, although I hadn’t realised it was based on a book series until later. After I started a new job, a Danish colleague of mine, also a fan, loaned the first book to me. I read and returned it within a week. That’s how much I loved it! I’ve been hooked since. I’m a little miffed that the series has been relegated to Netflix.

I confess that I have also dipped into a book I was intending to save until last. I’m confident in my current reading progress though, so I don’t think it’s an issue. I am too excited for the last episode of A Game of Thrones. Of course, once this is published I am going to have to go on an internet ban until I can watch it tomorrow night. I can’t wait to see how it ends; equally, I don’t want it to end and I’m nervous about how satisfied I’ll be about the ending. It’s not really the end though, as we still have the books to look forward to! I’ll have to content myself with reading A Feast for Crows, won’t I?

On the audiobook front, I have also been trundling through The Painted Man by Peter Brett. It’s definitely picked up since the beginning and I am really intrigued to see where the tale is going. I usually listen to it in the car commuting to and from work. This is going to be cut back as I have just started giving a colleague a lift to work in the morning, but I don’t think I’ll suffer too much as a result. I’ll have to start listening to it as I am getting ready in the morning instead.

 

Books Discovered

 

I have behaved this week – no additions or purchases!

Friday this week is payday though… and I feel a purchase or two coming on!

 

Coming Up…

 

Tomorrow night… I have plans. Plain and simple! Nothing is coming between me and the last episode of A Game of Thrones, that’s for sure! I’m also due to be out on Thursday evening for a catch up with friends. Therefore, I think I’ll be going back to posting on Tuesday and Friday for this week.

Since it’s been about a month since my last post of this kind, I’d quite like to post a Top Ten Tuesday list. I don’t always pick the subject matter at the time. However, given that it’s the final of A Game of Thrones, I feel like writing a topical post. I’ve already written a Quintessential Quotes post in this vein, so I am going to talk about my Top Ten characters of the series!

On Friday I am going to write my review of a book I borrowed from the library and read back in February this year. Mythos by Stephen Fry, as you may well guess from the title, is a history and re-telling of various tales within Greek Mythology. It was my first venture into non-fiction for the year and to be honest, I am overdue to read another one. I set myself the challenge of reading five this year, so I’m behind on that front. I picked up the book after reading The Road to Alexander by Jennifer Macaire, as that book touches on Greek Mythology. It piqued my interest and I’m glad I went the extra step.

 

Top Ten Blog Posts of the Week

 

The Library Looter – Six for Sunday 19.05.2019

A Book. A Thought. – Down the TBR Hole

The Cat with A Book – Book Review: The Book Thief

 

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The Last Kingdom & The Pale Horseman – Bernard Cornwell

I first came across this series as a television show back in autumn 2015, in which we follow the story of Uthred. Initially baptised as Osbert, he is raised in his ancestral home of Bebbanberg until one fateful day, when riding along the beach with his father, Danish ships are spotted on the coast.
As Ealdorman of Bebbanberg, Osbert’s father has to take action immediately. He sends his eldest son, Uthred, to spy on the ships and report back, however emboldened by the apparent lack of numbers, Uthred attacks and is killed by the Danes; his head delivered to his father as a warning. The Ealdorman is also subsequently killed in battle and Osbert, (now baptized Uthred as the eldest son of the family) is raised by the Danes that killed his father and took his home.
Thus begins the invasion of the Danes. Throughout the first book of the series, “The Last Kingdom”, we observe as the majority of the kingdoms of England are gradually taken over by the Danes, leaving only Wessex to make a stand for its freedom.
Uthred’s mixed loyalties are constantly challenged throughout the books so far. Whilst he spends the majority of time bound by allegiance to King Alfred’s fight for a United England, in hope that one day he can take back his ancestral home, he secretly longs for the Danish way of life, to serve his half-brother and join the Danes.
I only discovered that the series was based on Bernard Cornwell’s novels when my sister bought me the DVD of Season 1 for my birthday. I discussed this with a work colleague of mine who happened to have a copy of the first book. I loved the book that much I read it in a week, using every free minute to read.
It is the second book of the series I have just read and I felt it appropriate to include the first book as part of this write-up to fully explain where I am in Cornwell’s novels to date.
The second book of the series, “The Pale Horseman” begins with Uthred returning from battle with the Danes, in which he gave Ubba, one of the men who raided his home his warriors death (Danes believe that warriors, upon death, go to feast in Valhalla). He then goes to find his wife and child before returning to Alfred, who has been told different stories of Ubba’s death. His immense pride gets him in trouble once again, and Alfred forces him to pay penitence by crawling to an altar in front of a laughing crowd for God’s forgiveness. Oswald (the King’s nephew) convinces Uthred to do it to keep the peace and accompanies him, drawing attention away from him by making a show of himself instead.
Uthred continues to fight for the King as Wessex is raided by the Danes, at one time commanding ships for him, others serving as a hostage. Peace is negotiated and broken time and time again between the two sides whilst the Danes bide their time, waiting for more ships to land and join forces. Uthred becomes impatient with Alfred’s lack of actions and at one point let’s himself off the leash, taking the last ship he has command of and raiding England, disguising himself and his crew as Danes to acquire wealth.
Alfred is slowly driven into hiding with his family deep in the country of Wessex until they at last have to make a final stand and fight, or die.
I have only given the bare bones outline here as I don’t want to spoil it for anyone else who is reading or wishes to read the books. I would absolutely recommend them to anyone who loves historical fiction. I found the place names used take some adjusting to; as they are in archaic English (and not consistent apparently – though I haven’t noticed yet) some are very unlike modern names. Cornwell does however provide a reference for anybody interested in learning the names and where they relate to in modern-day England.
I think having watched the series helped me read these books. Whilst this is a genre I liked to read, it helped give context as to the roles people played and the hierarchy within society etc. These are explained by Uthred in the novels, but I found it easier to see and to have the constant reminder of it in this way rather than just a one-off explanation.
If anyone had read these books please share your thoughts! Did you enjoy them? Alternatively if you are struggling perhaps or have any questions, maybe I can help. Please drop me a line either way.
My next book of choice is Terry Prachett’s “Reaper Man”, which I will introduce to you all and review in due course!