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The Last Kingdom is a popular historical drama series on Netflix, which is set during Anglo-Saxon times, and it stars Uhtred of Bebbanburg (played by Alexander Dreymon). The series is based on the collection of novels by author Bernard Cornwell, and many fans of the books have also fallen in love with the series. For those who have binged the four seasons and are yet to read the books, Express.co.uk has everything you need to know about what order they should be read in.
In what order are The Last Kingdom books?
The Last Kingdom made its debut on the BBC back in 2015, and it was moved to its new home on Netflix following season two.
The Saxon Stories, on which the series is based, follows the story of Uhtred, who was born a Saxon but was raised by Danes.
Throughout the books and the series, he faces a constant internal battle as his allegiance changes between the two sides.
The first eight novels made up the four seasons of the TV series, and most of the characters have been cast in the small-screen adaptation.
Cornwell said the idea for the novels, of which the first was published in 2004, came from his time studying Anglo-Saxon poetry at University.
There are 13 books in total, and the 13th is due to be published this month, October 2020 – it will be the final book of the series.
The books should be read in the following order:
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 Empty Throne (2014)
Warriors of the Storm (2015)
The Flame Bearer (2016)
War of the Wolf (2018)
Sword Of Kings (2019)
War Lord (2020)
The TV series has been given the green light for season five, which should take inspiration from Warriors of the Storm and The Flame Bearer.
Fans who have already read the novels have noticed some differences, including how the characters are portrayed physically – particularly the witch Skade (Thea Sofie Loch Naess) in season three.
The first of the novels gives insight into Uhtred’s childhood, and how he was raised by Danes after his father was killed during an attack on their homeland.
The Pale Horseman then delves into Uhtred’s complex relationship with King Alfred (David Dawson) after the Danes take over his kingdom and he is forced to rely on Uhtred for support.
The Lords of the North follows Uhtred as he attempts to find his stepsister Thyra (Julia Bache-Wiig) and he falls into Guthred’s (Thure Lindhardt) trap.
There is a five-year time jump before the next novel, which sees Uhtred in charge of Alfred’s forces once again.
The books then continue to follow the Danish assaults on Wessex, and Death of Kings picks up just after Alfred’s death.
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The Pagan Lord and The Empty Throne both see King Edward (Timothy Innes) in charge, and the latter touches on the death of Aethelred (Toby Regbo) which fans saw in season four.
Without giving away too many potential spoilers for season five, Warriors of the Storm sees another clash between the Danes and Saxons which leaves Uthred questioning his loyalty once more.
Fans have taken to Reddit to highlight some of the main differences between the books and the series, with Holoholokid saying: “[The books] arguably better than the show. For one, each season of show spans at least two full books, and you get so much more detail in the books. Also, Uhtred looks like way more of a bad-ass in the books.”
DigitalHeadSet said: “Like most shows made from books, the TV show glosses over a lot of details that are hard to portray on screen. The books are way more in-depth and give a lot more understanding of the POV characters involved (in this case just Uhtred as its told from his POV).”
Many of the cast members have already read the books in preparation for their role, with Sihtric actor Arnas Fedaravičius saying he reads at least two books before the start of every season.
He said while he wanted the future plot to remain a mystery, he made it a tradition to enjoy the books and learn about his character.
Fans have praised Cornwell for his portrayal of battle scenes, which also come across as thrilling on screen.
Tollcrosstim said on Reddit: “Just to second everyone else’s comments…the books are fantastic and well worth reading. They are well written, keep you engaged, and have a momentum that makes it difficult to put the book down.
“Also, and this may seem like BS, the battle descriptions in the books are so so good. The books make you feel like you are in the shield wall right there with Uhtred.”
The Last Kingdom is on Netflix now
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