Book Review: The Last Sword: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century, Book 5) by MJ Porter

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Independently published
Pub date: 29 April 2021
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

The fifth book in the stunning The Ninth Century Series.

The three defeated jarls of Grantabridge might be hiding behind the walls of their settlement as winter storms ravage, but the weather is no deterrent for another adversary, and Coelwulf holds a far more personal grudge against Jarl Halfdan.

King Alfred hovers on the border with Wessex, his intentions impossible to determine; his relationship with the Raiders, problematic.

Exposed to the south, in jeopardy from the north; Coelwulf hasn’t fought his last battle yet.

I’ve been so impatient waiting for this book. If you’ve read my previous reviews on the series you will know I love this series and this instalment was definitely not a disappointment. If you have an interest in the ninth century and vikings this may be the series for you.

Events begin this time with Coelwulf at home in Northampton in the midst of winter. Still recovering from his last encounter with the raiders, all believe they are safe for the winter, they were wrong.

Once again Coelwulf and his warriors are faced with danger and death in the face of the raiders, the weather doesn’t make things easy for them as they battle through the cold and snow to ensure Mercia remains safe.

The prologues of this series always have my heart racing. MJ Porter has a way of drawing you in from the very beginning and the action doesn’t stop there. Full of gruesome battles, banter and camaraderie I can’t help but imagine myself in the company of the warriors although I am glad I’m not, with all the death and gore they face.

One of Coelwulf’s warriors became a firm favourite for me in this book and that’s Icel, I still adore Coelwulf, Pybba and Rudolf but Icel’s character really came out in this instalment and MJ has done a fantastic job of bringing him into the limelight a bit more.

The horses of the warriors are just like the regular characters, their personalities and traits have grown throughout the series and through the descriptives it’s easy to imagine each horse and rider.

This book for me had many moment where I found myself holding my breath, not sure if I wanted to continue reading. In no way am I saying it was bad, rather I’ve grown to really like the characters and partly didn’t want to read what I thought may be coming in the next couple of pages.

This is easily my favorite series and as always I will eagerly await the next instalment. As long as you don’t mind gore battle scenes and swearing, this book will make you laugh, it will make you sad, and it will make you wish for the next book.

For Mercia”, echoes back at me, and I confess, a grin touches my cheeks as I dance into the Raiders still determined to fight.

The book could be read as a stand alone but I’d recommend reading them all just because they’re brilliant, full of extremely well written battles and humour.

If you’d like to read my reviews of the previous books in the series you can find them in the links below. The Last Sword is available on Amazon in paperback and ebook.

The Last King

The Last Warrior

The Last Horse

The Last Enemy

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