Book Review: The Last Shield, England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 6) by MJ Porter

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: M J Publishing
Pub date: 26 August 2021
Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

Summoned back to Worcester by Bishop Wærferth, Coelwulf discovers that an old enemy has resurfaced on the border with the Welsh, but this time, an enemy demanding help.

Aware he can’t leave Mercia, Coelwulf must split his force, determined that his old enemy is more helpful as his ally.

But beset by an unexpected force of Raiders inside Mercia, Coelwulf and his small band of warriors find themselves trapped by winter storms, as well as Raiders who don’t yet know of Jarl Halfdan’s death and still hunger for Coelwulf’s blood.

Coelwulf faces his most difficult struggle of all as he fights for the future of his beloved Mercian kingdom, his warriors, old and new, at his side.

I’ve been really looking forward to this so understandably when I received it, I read it in two days.
I have a love-hate relationship with MJ’s prologues, I love them because they build excitement and you just know it’s going to be brilliant but I hate them because they leave me desperate to know what happens.

As with the previous books this is full of action, fighting and gory battle scenes. The fighting scenes are very detailed including the weapons used, injuries and attacking methods. Each warrior has his own fighting style and no matter how many of these books I read it never gets boring or repetitive, MJ manages to make the fights entertaining every time.

This one has a few moments where I held my breath and almost didn’t want to read on incase it was bad news, I’ve grown to love the characters, MJ has created such an incredible band of warriors that accompany Coelwulf and I love them all even the horses who all have their own personality. The warriors are all different and as the series goes on they develop even more so its more than just Coelwulf’s story it’s about all of them!

MJ tells the story from Coelwulf’s point of view and it’s amazing how questions you ask along the way are answered either by dialogue or Coelwulf’s thoughts. This series is brilliant if you want to read historical fiction, full of battles with raiders as the warriors of Mercia defend their lands but its also funny! The dialogue between the characters makes me laugh and makes you feel like you are there listening although with all the bloodshed I’m very glad I’m not there.

This is by far my favourite fiction series, if you don’t mind swearing and gore then give it a go, you won’t regret it.

MJ explains the fact and fiction at the end which helps for those of us interested in the history. Now I will be waiting impatiently for the next instalment! I have reviewed the series so far so if you’d like to know more about the series check out my reviews or you find MJ at

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