The Last King Review

The Last King Review | M.J Porter

The time period and the setting grabbed my attention as soon as I saw this one, and I couldn’t resist it. It’s full of historical names and packed with battles and skirmishes, which admittedly took a while to get my head around. But the plot swept me up and I thoroughly enjoyed this. Check out my review on The Last King.

Publisher: BooksGoSocial | Date: 2020 | Genre: Historical fiction

Plot: They sent three hundred warriors to kill one man. It wasn’t enough.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters.

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, hears whispers that Mercia has been betrayed from his home in the west. He fears no man, especially not the Vikings sent to hunt him down.

To discover the truth of the rumours he hears, Coelwulf must travel to the heart of Mercia, and what he finds there will determine the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

I received The Last King from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

The Last King Review

The Last King immediately grabbed my attention: historical setting, overwhelming odds and one man standing against the hordes to protect his homeland. It was also a quick read; the perfect length given the heavy nature of the content.


The Last King is the type of novel made by its characters. Coelwulf is an undefeated warrior, his skill surpassing any opponent to come against him, regardless of the odds. He has no problems killing and is unstoppable once the song of battle enters his blood.

But – more importantly – he’s a complete softie hidden by a tough exterior. He cares for his men. He’ll never leave a man behind and won’t give up on a comrade, no matter how bad their injuries. He will fight for his homeland, accepting what others press on him, not because of the power it gives him but because it’s the only way.

Coelwulf is a satisfying hero to root for: you see both sides of him and watch him balance the two to save the kingdom. I found, however, that Coelwulf is the only one you get to know. By the end, you’re warming to the others and figuring out who is who through what they mean to Coelwulf, but most of the time, you’re trying to figure out if that’s the man he sent left or right.

I fight the battles no one else will, and I keep my lands secure. Or at least I did.

Narrative style

Part of this lack of connection comes from the narrative itself. This is a heavy book: the entire plot is moving from battle to skirmish and back again. Every chapter contains at least one confrontation with the enemy and little else. Due to the length, Porter gets away with it: Coewulf and his gang move from A to B, fighting along the way with the occasional plot point thrown in. If any longer, it’d be tedious, but it works here. The battles are always clear and there is no unnecessary violence despite the dark nature of the book.

The opening prologue is a scene from the end, with Coewulf in a dire situation. With all the fights happening and the lack of connection to the characters, coupled with believing you know the ending, made it hard for me to fully immerse myself.

I was wrong. Not all is as it seems and when the true plot is revealed, I gasped out loud. It changed the ending for me, helping me invest in the characters and the story and sweeping me up in the excitement of the final battle. My opinion of the entire book shifted and I’m now excited for the second, knowing the power of the writing.

The Last King is the type I enjoyed while reading, then realised just how much I liked it when reflecting on it.

Final Thoughts

This hasn’t been an easy review to write due to keeping it spoiler free but if you like historical fiction, this is a definite recommendation. Clear battles, likeable characters (those you know) and strong writing has left me looking forward to the second book and Coewulf’s continuing adventures.

Is historical fiction your sort of thing? What’s your favourite era?

Also in the series:

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43 thoughts on “The Last King Review | M.J Porter

  1. This sounds like a great book to read. Historically set books are always really interesting so this sounds like a book I would get lost in. Thank you for bringing it to my attention! Added to my list of books I need to read!

    Em x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aww, thanks, lovely, I really hope you enjoy it when you get around to it. Some of the characters needed fleshing out a bit more but I enjoyed it.


  2. Great review! This sounds amazing. I enjoy reading Historical Fiction and this sounds like the type of book I’d read and enjoy a lot. The mention of vikings captured my attention too so I’m adding this to my reading list. It sound like a truly exciting read.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is enjoyable. A lot is focused on the battles rather than the characters but it’s still a really good read and I’m looking forward to book two. I hope you enjoy it.


  3. Great review,I like the book cover. I’ve always had a thing for historical settings and the war. Really sound interesting, I love that it is full of surprises in the end


  4. This is a great review! Coelwoulf sounds like an amazing hero. As a lover of historical fiction and plot twists, I’ll definitely check them out.



  5. Great review but oof! I’m tired just reading! Back to back fighting wears anyone out. I am going around looking for some historical fictions to read so I might just have to give this one a go!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really recommend it. It’s not too long so it doesn’t drag. I’ve just finished the second book and thoroughly enjoyed that one as well, so definitely a recommendation from me!

      Liked by 1 person

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