Temporary cure for Viking withdrawals: Last Kingdom update!

First, a huge apology for the delay in posting lately! I know many of you are suffering already from Viking withdrawals and come here to get a small dose of it to hold you over in the long waiting for raiding season. I want to assure you that I am currently working on an article about Horik and Ragnar that is taking much longer than I anticipated. It is almost finished and hopefully I will get it posted within the next few days.  If you read my previous post about Kings, I mentioned that I would look closer at those Kings. The upcoming article will look at Horik, Ragnar, the history of Danish monarchy, and it will give a bit of what the future holds for a few of  Ragnar’s sons, such as Bjorn and Ivar  in history.


While you’re waiting patiently for that article, I thought perhaps you might enjoy a look at some other Vikings who will be coming to a small screen near you sometime next season… Hopefully! YES! I have an  update concerning my other favorite Viking story- The Last Kingdom/Warrior Chronicles  by Bernard Cornwell. They have released a very short but powerful promo clip.

Last kingdom promo3


I have mentioned this book series before, but it is well worth refreshing your memory and reminding you again  to go read this series… go read this series now! What are you waiting for, you have a long season of Viking withdrawal to face and I can only remedy that draught in such small ways. I promise that this 8 book series about Uhtred of Bebbanburg will keep your Viking craving satisfied and satiated for some time! Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a young boy living at Bebbanburg Castle in Northumbria when the Viking armies arrive on their coastline. Uhtred’s Father and older brother are killed, leaving him the heir to Bebbanburg, a fact that he never forgets and never stops trying to reclaim throughout the books.  As a young boy, he is captured and raised by the Danes who are taking over and settling in Northumbria. His life becomes one of torn loyalties.

Young Uhtred of Last Kingdom

Young Uhtred of Last Kingdom

Last Kingdom Uhtred and Brida flee

Last Kingdom Uhtred and Brida flee

The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell

‘I had been given a perfect childhood, perfect, at least, to the ideas of a boy. I was raised among men, I was free, I ran wild, was encumbered by no laws, was troubled by no priests and was encouraged to violence.’ Uhtred is an English boy, born into the aristocracy of 9th Century Northumbria, but orphaned at ten, adopted by a Dane and taught the Viking ways. Yet Uhtred’s fate is indissolubly bound up with Alfred, King of Wessex, who rules over the last English kingdom when the Danes have overrun Northumbria, Mercia and East Anglia.

That war, with its massacres, defeats and betrayals, is the background to Uhtred’s childhood, a childhood which leaves him uncertain of his loyalties, but a slaughter in a winter dawn propels him to the English side and he will become a man just as the Danes launch their fiercest attack yet on Alfred’s kingdom. Marriage ties him further to the West Saxon cause, but when his wife and child vanish in the chaos of a Danish invasion, Uhtred is driven to face the greatest of the Viking chieftains in a battle beside the sea, and there, in the horror of a shield-wall, he discovers his true allegiance.

This series ties in well with the Vikings saga, especially once Michael Hirst makes the time jumps next season and transitions Ragnar’s younger sons toward adulthood and their eventual path to England to fight against Ecbert’s grandson, King Alfred. What you will find in Bernard Cornwell’s version of the history is a story of the same events and some of the same people from a different perspective. Uhtred, who is raised by the Danes and holds close ties to them throughout his life, will end up fighting for the Saxons and King Alfred. In Uhtred’s heart, he is a pagan, a friend and family of Danes, but he must make decisions that most often go against the Danes because of his own personal code of honor, and belief in what is right or just. He is ever bound by oaths he has sworn and by his desire always to claim Bebbanburg as his own one day. He starts out with the Danish armies marching against the southern Kingdoms of this un-unified country. Along the way he is forced into the situation of having to switch sides and fight with the southern kingdoms against his friends, the Danes. The series is compelling and honest in telling his story and his feelings about both sides of the conflict.  In reading and watching this series come to life, you will see Uhtred come face to face with Ragnar’s sons, Ivar, Ubba and Halfdan. He will eventually meet Ubba in combat and have to kill him. You will see his uneasy alliance with Ecbert’s grandson, Alfred unfold and throughout that uneasy following, you will see there are times when Alfred actually acts a bit like Ecbert in the way that he uses this allegiance to his advantage, and makes promises that he really has no intentions of keeping.

Last Kingdom Alfred becomes king

Last Kingdom Alfred becomes king

last kingdom promo

last kingdom promo

The Last Kingdom series is being produced for television by BBC2 and BBC America and is currently in production on locations in the United Kingdom and Hungary. They are keeping their secrets well guarded and under close wraps. The production began last November and we received a short blurb and sketchy cast list shortly after that. The very short promo trailer I’ve shared has only just recently come out in the last week. Hopefully this is a sign that they will be showing us more soon! Some of the secrecy may be due to the fact that much of the filming is taking place in Budapest, Hungary. The series is being described and compared to the Vikings saga and to Game of Thrones.  It  is full of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity. Combining real historical figures and events with fictional characters, it is the story of how a people combined their strength under one of the most iconic kings of history in order to reclaim their land for themselves and build a place they call home.
Read more: http://web.poptower.com/last-kingdom-tv-show.htm#ixzz3bBM8oQRc

This is a cast list poster that I just found on tumbler… so I know there are other fans out there anxiously awaiting this show!


Last kingdom cast from tumblr_ngunwkShd81s139t5o1_r1_500

Last kingdom cast from tumblr_ngunwkShd81s139t5o1_r1_500


Credited cast, sorted by IMDb STARmeter:

Matthew MacfadyenMatthew Macfadyen

Rutger HauerRutger Hauer

Jason FlemyngJason Flemyng …King Edmund

Ian HartIan Hart …Beocca

Alec NewmanAlec Newman …King Aethelred

Tobias SantelmannTobias Santelmann …Ragnar

Simon KunzSimon Kunz …Odda

Joseph MillsonJoseph Millson …Alferic

Alexander DreymonAlexander Dreymon …Uhtred of Bebbanburg

Lorcan CranitchLorcan Cranitch …Father Selbix

Adrian BowerAdrian Bower …Leofric

David DawsonDavid Dawson King Alfred

Sergej OnopkoSergej Onopko …Dane #1

Amy WrenAmy Wren …Mildrith

Elizabeth ConboyElizabeth Conboy …Glenna

In this series, King Alfred plays an integral and important role in shaping the events of Uhtred’s life. David Dawson has been cast in this role.  Dawson was born in Widnes, England and attended Fairfield High School and Warrington Collegiate Institute before being accepted to RADA on the acting programme in 2002. Whilst in high school he was a member of the Musketeer Theatre Company where he played Dogberry in William Shakespeare‘s Much Ado About Nothing amongst other roles. At just 17 he wrote a play called Divorced and Desperate which ran at the Queen’s Hall Theatre, Widnes, for three nights. A year later he wrote and starred in the play The Boy In The Bed at the Tower Theatre, Islington with financial backing from Barbara Windsor and Julie Walters to whom he had written for help. David also has a younger brother, James.

After leaving RADA in 2005, Dawson’s first professional role was as understudy to Kevin Spacey as the eponymous hero of Shakespeare’s Richard II for Trevor Nunn. Dawson has appeared in the television shows Doc Martin, The Thick of It, Damage and Up Close and Personal. He also played Harry Parr Davies in the BBC drama Gracie! about the life of English singer Gracie Fields. He starred as Coronation Street creator Tony Warren in the BBC drama The Road to Coronation Street. He played Toby Kent in three episodes of the second series of Luther for the BBC.

In 2012, Dawson appeared in two BBC Two literary adaptations, playing Bazzard in The Mystery of Edwin Drood and Poins in Henry IV, Parts I and II. He later appeared in all three series of Ripper Street.

Dawson is currently portraying David Collins in the BBC Two series Banished. He will portray King Alfred in BBC America’s upcoming TV series ‘The Last Kingdom

daviddawson to play alfred the great david-dawson will play Alfred the great in last kingdom

Now, if all of this information has not been enough to spark your interest in this excellent series, I am going to leave you with a list of the books in the series and some youtube clips of readings and promotions of the books! As I mentioned earlier, there are currently 8 books in the series with another one due out early next year!

The Last Kingdom is the first book in the series.

Book 2

The Pale Horseman

pale_horseman_ukThe Pale Horseman (the title is a reference to Revelation 6. 8) is the second book in the tale of Uhtred, Lord of Bebbanburg, and his tangled relationship with Alfred the Great, King of Wessex in the 9th Century. The story begins on the day after the events described in The Last Kingdom end, and goes on to describe the fateful year in which the Danes capture Alfred’s kingdom and drive him as a fugitive into the marshes of Athelney. It seems that Wessex, and England, are destroyed, but Alfred is determined to make one desperate gamble that might save his kingdom . . . .


Book 3:


The Lords of the North begins soon after the events described in The Pale Horseman. Uhtred, having helped Alfred secure Wessex as an independent Saxon kingdom, returns north in an attempt to find his stepsister. Instead he discovers chaos, civil war and treachery in Northumbria. He takes the side of Guthred, once a slave and now a man who would be king, and in return expects Guthred’s help in capturing Dunholm, the lair of the dark Viking lord, Kjartan. There is betrayal, romance and war, and all of it, as usual, based on real events.

Promotional video for Lords of the North:

An awesome reading from Lords of the North by Richard Armitage!




Sword Song continues the story of Uhtred, the Saxon warrior who is a reluctant ally of Alfred the Great. This story, which occurs some five years after the events described in Lords of the North, tells how Alfred’s forces evict the Danes from London. Wessex, Alfred’s kingdom, has survived the great Viking assaults and now, with Uhtred as a leader, the West Saxon forces begin the campaigns of conquest that will end with a new kingdom called England.


The Burning Land

burningThis novel, the fifth in the magnificent series of England’s history, tells of the final assaults on Alfred’s Wessex.

Related Video

Bernard Cornwell talks about his latest novel from his acclaimed King Alfred series.

Book 6: 

Death of Kings

death_of_kingsDeath of Kings continues the story of Uhtred, this time through the tumultous years which followed the death of Alfred the Great as two men struggle to inherit the crown of Wessex. Uhtred has to contend with betrayal, treachery and the largest army the Danes have yet assembled to conquer Wessex . . . all brought to a climax in a winter battle fought in the fens of East Anglia.Click here to read an interview between me and George R. R. Martin (the celebrated author of the Game of Thrones series which starred Sean Bean on HBO) on the Amazon.com website.Death of Kings book trailerBook7: 

The Pagan Lord

Pagan Lord

Alfred the Great is dead and Edward his son reigns as king. Wessex survives but peace cannot hold. The Danes in the north, led by Viking Cnut Longsword, stand ready to invade and will never rest until the emerald crown is theirs.

Uhtred, once Alfred’s great warrior but now out of favour with the new king, must lead a band of outcasts north to recapture his old family home, that great Northumbrian fortress, Bebbanburg.  Loyalties will be divided and men will fall, as every Saxon kingdom is drawn into the bloodiest battle yet with the Danes; a war which will decide the fate of every king, and the entire English nation.

Official promo video for Pagan Lord

Book 8: 

The Empty Throne

Empty ThroneThe forces of Wessex and Mercia have united against the Danes, but instability and the threat of Viking raids still hang heavy over Britain’s kingdoms. For Aethelred, Lord of the Mercians, is dying, leaving no heir and the stage is set for rivals to fight for the throne.Uhtred of Bebbanburg, Mercia’s greatest warrior, has always supported Athelflaed to be Mercia’s next ruler, but will the aristocracy ever accept a woman as their leader? Even one who is Aethelred’s widow and sister to the king of Wessex? As the Mercians squabble and the West Saxons try to annex their country, new enemies appear on the northern frontier. The Saxons desperately need strong leadership, but instead they are fighting for an empty throne and threatening to undo the unity and strength they have fought so hard to achieve.  Official promo video for Empty Throne:All of these books and so much more of his work can be found on Bernard Cornwell’s official website:


You may be wondering suspiciously now if I have begun to turn traitor- switching my allegiance, my alliance and my devotion from Ragnar and his group to Uhtred…. Let me assure you that I do not look at this alliance as any betrayal to our Vikings saga! I have always admitted my keen interest in all of the history, Saxon as well as Viking. Uhtred speaks to my heart in that often torn and tested loyalty. As I have already stated, Uhtred of Bebbanburg is a friend to the Danes as well as some of the Saxons. He tells the story of this invasion and this war from the perspective of a great warrior caught in the middle of it trying to balance those loyalties and save his family and friends on either side! When you are looking at events of history and life, it is always wise to look at all of the sides involved. I am looking forward to seeing both stories play out in the future and will be dividing my time between both stories!  So, go now… go off to find a copy of Last Kingdom and read for yourself, the story of Uhtred of Bebbanburg!

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