• Sword of Kings

  • The Last Kingdom Series, Book 12
  • By: Bernard Cornwell
  • Narrated by: Matt Bates
  • Length: 13 hrs and 18 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (792 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

England is in turmoil as Vikings and Saxons battle for territory. Rumours build about the fatal sickness of the King, and the country awaits an heir.

A violent clash at sea forces the warrior lord Uhtred to lead his men from his Northumbrian fortress to London and plunge into the eye of the storm. For two kings claim the empty throne and a new kingdom cannot be born without bloodshed.

Uhtred’s sword will leave one king dead and the other victorious. But sometimes it is hard to know the will of the gods....

©2019 Bernard Cornwell (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

Critic Reviews

"Nobody in the world does this better than Cornwell." (Lee Child)

What listeners say about Sword of Kings

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Needs more Keeble

Great read, but this whole series would've been better if Johnathan Keeble were the narrator.

6 people found this helpful

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Bernard Cornwell Does Not Disappoint

Bernard Cornwell has done it again. Sword of Kings entertains as a new favorite of Cornwell’s Saxon Stories (Last Kingdom) series. Uhtred is an all time favorite literary character of mine and I simply don’t want the adventures to end for this endearingly flawed, oath bound, hero. As always, I had trouble pressing the stop button. The narrator Matt Bates once again provides an excellent performance bringing the characters to life.
Having read many of Cornwell’s series including, Sharpe’s series and others, he has created yet another masterful entertaining work. Well done!

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent continuation of the story

I was surprised by how much I liked this. I think it would be too easy to continue the story in formula, so this is what I must have been expecting. While I certainly enjoy the subtext of the historical facts within the series, I also enjoy hearing about Uthred's story and how it unfolds. This was, to me at least, a good tale. It follows his fictional life as he ages, this plot line simply does not get old to me because the author somehow keeps it fresh and engaging. I enjoyed listening too this book and thinking about it in between when I was not listening, to me that is the sign of a good audio book!

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Good edition to the story of Uhtred

I have read all the other Saxon Tales or Last Kingdom books and the story taken in its entirety is excellent. It is disappointing in this book that Uhtred would even consider running from a fight. Too much of the book ponders on his indecision. This is still the authors decision as Uhtred ages that this is part of his story and worth reading. This book is well written and the performance is excellent. Maybe I just don’t like that Uhtred is aging. I expected him to be arrogant and defiant till the end.

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Okay

I am a fan of The Last Kingdom Series, formerly known as The Saxon Tales. But this book seems more of an afterthought and lacks the excitement, passion and suspense of the previous novels in this series. In fact, it all makes me wonder if this is going to be the last book of the series. I'm still a Cornwell fan and still a fan of this series. And like before, I will buy new books in the series sight unseen.

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Is this the end?

After listening to the author’s note at the end of the story, it seems that this may be the last installment of this series. If so, I want to thank the author for writing such historical fiction that has allowed me to travel back in time and experience the world of Uthred. Furthermore, Matt Bates is an excellent narrator.

Uthred has been bound of oaths after oaths. First, he has given an oath to Alfred. When Alfred has passed away, he has given his oath to Æthelflæd. His last oath is to Æthelstan. These oaths have burdened him. He has lost so many loved ones and tore his heart many times and over, but he has fulfilled those darn oaths no matter what the circumstances are. He is true to his words and an embodiment of a true warrior. I am truly happy for him in the end...he is home.

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Consistently Amazing!

I have read many of BC’s novels, including the “Sharpe” books, and others. This series “The Last Kingdom” is my favorite of all novels of the genre. It is amazingly written. The story captivates and draws you into the era and the country to the point where you feel you know the characters personally. The action scenes are the most mesmerizing and so well written that I feel like I am a part of each betrayal battle conflict conquest. Thank you BC for using the written word to carry us through these amazing adventures with our protagonist(s). Uhtred Go Brach!

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Another great adventure

Another great adventure about utred of Bebenburg, as usual i felt i was watching the scene unfold before me, and at one point thought it was the end of Utred’s story, but was relieved to know his story continues.

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typical Cornwell book, PERFECT

Bernard Cornwell to whom I compare all the books I listen to.
without a doubt the best there is

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Enjoy the entire series

Read the books in this series as they came out. Thoroughly enjoying the audio version.

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  • Nick
  • 10-29-19

An unexpected 5*'s, supberb entertainment!

If you are reading this then it is probable that like I me, you are thinking how many books can be left in this series and how old is Uthred! I therefore felt that only perseverance and a dusting of curiosity to see the series through to the end (bitter or otherwise) that led me to purchase this latest instalment. However, I am delighted to tell you that this book is every bit as good and exciting as the first few in the series. It is pure entertainment, well written and engaging. The depth of character development grabs a hold of your collar and doesn't let go until the last chapter ends! Cornwall has reflected Uthred's age in his writing, without taking away the essence of Uthred's courageous, foolish, and brawling character.

Matt Bate's performance was superb, which consigns to the distance past the plague of character accent changes for this series. If you enjoyed the first few books in this series and you have persevered then please get this, you wont be disappointed. At the end Cornwall provides an 'afterword' which I think is a rare treat. He hints at more books in the series (well that's how I heard it anyway) and before listening to this book many (including me) would have met that with a groan! But, the series has been invigorated and I feel excited by what is potentially to come from Cornwall and Uthred.

Get it!

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  • Literary Hawk
  • 11-02-19

Another Tale full of Bloody Battles

I confess to binge listening or reading all of Cornwell's Saxon Stories. I enjoyed this one a little less than some, however, because Utred's sense of humour has diminished. As a younger man he often made me smile and even laugh. Is his diminished ability to perceive the ridiculous in the ordinary as in the sublime a reflection of Cornwell's aging? Are older people often more serious? This is not my experience. When young I took the world around me much too seriously but now, I perceive the irony and comedy everywhere.
i hope Utred regains his humour in the next novel.

9 people found this helpful

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  • marina
  • 10-27-19

Part 12

Once again bernard cornwell makes it easy to Imagin battles & lives of people.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Mrs
  • 10-05-19

Can Uthreds story get any better? Yes it can!

With every book it continues to get better and better and better. Absolutely awesomely brilliant.

4 people found this helpful

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  • philip ryan
  • 04-23-20

Too similar to all other Bernard Cornwell's books

I'll still get the next book in the series.

For me all the Bernard Cornwell books are beginning to blur into each other. I enjoy them as a commute or beach read but the story lines across all his titles and series are too similar. I'll be finishing this series but will not be starting a new series any time soon. It's disappointing as I'm a fame of Bernard's work.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-02-20

Dull and repetitive story.

Nothing new or inspiring. I am amazed how little excitement is contained in 13 long episodes

2 people found this helpful

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  • MR D.
  • 11-19-19

Good as always

Another great addition to the Utred storey line and with a worthy baddy to boot. Looking forward to the next volume.

2 people found this helpful

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  • foreverkeogh
  • 11-05-19

Perfect

superbly narrated by Matt Bates and the books just get better and better.

I can't wait for the next one.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Rufus
  • 11-04-19

Another great addition to the tale of Uhtred.

Yet another great addition to the tale of Uhtred of Bebbanburg. Bernard Cornwell amazes again. How many more of these can he write... And is there nothing beyond this authors capability?

2 people found this helpful

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  • Russell
  • 10-31-19

Good read.... Listen

Loved it great story however _ annoyingly pronunciation of some words differ from previous versions

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 10-15-19

Uthred of Bebbenburg is Inexerable!

Another excellent story of Uthred and the start of England. Battle, love, luck, mistakes and fate. These attributes are what make me enjoy reading them. I hope that I live to read the next one.

In May 2019 I actually went to Bamberg Castle, all the way from Australia. It had been a dream of mine to see it since the first book. It was amazing to see the beautiful area around the castle and how well, in the time in the book, it would have been to defend against enemies. It made the fictional store feel real. Definitely worth a visit for all who love the books but it is a place with a great history all of its own.

I am also glad they included Bernard Cornwell's notes at the end. The last audio book did not which was saddening

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-19-21

A master at the height of his powers.

One of his very best yet. Kept me entertained and interested throughout. In short.....perfect.

I will immediately commence the final book and hope Harffy continues his Wolf of Wessex novel by making it a series too.

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  • Neville Stern
  • 11-17-20

Richer and better

The series has grown in literary and human interest with each novel, and as its central character/s have aged. Above all, it accomplishes the author’s goal of showing that England and English history is worth understanding.

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  • Claire Wallace
  • 01-18-20

Another thrilling listen from Bernard Cornwell

I really enjoyed this audiobook! It put on me on the edge of my seat for much of the novel, especially at the end. I also enjoyed hearing from the author in the foreword & afterword and am pleased to know there will be at least one more book in this fantastic series from which I have learned so much about British history.

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  • Kevin
  • 01-01-20

Wyrd Bith Ful Aræd

I can't get that out of my head now, Wyrd Bith Ful Aræd has been drilled in these last few books of the series I keep trying to find opportunities to put it out there and it'd be weird. Great catch phrase though and I hope fate continues to be on Uhtreds side. Love the extra at the end by the author too. A fascinating and knowledgeable bloke which shines through in his books.

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  • Grant
  • 10-20-19

Great writer harshly judged by previous works

Enjoyed it, just not the best of the tales. Previous books were far more exciting.

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  • richardgg
  • 10-15-19

Just the best yarn

Just great, sets the standard for history fiction that is hard to match. thanks for the series. enjoyed every book. favorite was Lord's of the North.

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  • Victor
  • 10-14-19

Brilliant as always

Like catching up with old friends, tales of Uhtred and Finan are a pleasure to red or listen to.
Captivating, well written and thoroughly enjoyable. Always struggle to put down one of Bernard Cornwells books, or to cease listening to it.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 10-05-19

a fantastic novel

Bernard has done it again what a great book would highly recommend for anyone who is loved the last kingdom series