The Last Warrior by M.J Porter

After thoroughly enjoying the first in the series, I was delighted to continue with M.J Porter’s historical series. I’m sharing my review on The Last Warrior today.

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

Plot: He sent a hundred men to kill two thousand. It had to be enough.

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

Coelwulf, a fierce and bloody warrior, fears no man, especially not the Raiders claiming Mercia as their own.

Coelwulf must travel away from the heart of Mercia, hunting down the Raiders along the bank of the vast River Trent, and what he discovers on his journey to Torksey will determined the fate of Mercia, as well as his own.

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

The Last Warrior Review

After being stunned by the The Last King, I was looking forward to the series continuing. Porter again delivers an action-packed historical fantasy, moving from one battle to another while making you care about this warband of soldiers.

I described Coelwulf as a tough guy with a soft heart in my first review, and I stand by that now. After unofficially being crowned King of Mercia, his burdens are heavier than ever: Raiders roam his land, his group are divided and friend and foe aren’t as distinguishable as they should be. His loyalty to his men is matched only by theirs to him and you’re left with a warm glow of comradeship, despite the majority of the plot is formed by both large-scale battles and smaller skirmishes.

Coelwulf continues to be a strong protagonist. Regardless of the violence, he’s driven by the need to protect both his men and his kingdom. He will stop at nothing to ensure victory, but always has time to honour the dead and grieve the fallen. He comments on not knowing fatherhood, but his bond with his former squire-turned-warrior, Rudolf, makes the reader smirk: there’s no denying he has experienced the emotions that comes with being a parent.

One issues from the first book was not connecting to the multiple characters. Names were complicated and you didn’t get to know the personalities of the men. There are fewer to remember due to the force splitting this time, which helps. But we’ve had our introductions: now we start to know their temperaments. Rudolf has always been cheeky but is gaining a man’s confidence; Pybba is a word of caution when all seems rash; Hereman is even more stubborn that Coelwulf. You couldn’t make that connection previously but it makes for a more moving tale.

I feel as though I should be offering platitudes and assurances that Edmund still loves, but I’ve never been one to offer what should be said, only ever what I can say. There’s a whole world of difference in those sentiments.

The Last Warrior by MJ Porter

This is a novel full of bloodshed and tension, betrayal and action. But it never feels heavy or overwhelming. The language is strong but you sense the bond between the men and it provides light relief, cutting through otherwise intense scenes. A favourite part is how these warriors are with their horses: heaven forbid anyone harm their steeds, and it adds humanity to these tough warriors.

The plot echoes the first book: the warband move from one point to another, fighting along the way. The slow pace of the men is reflected in the steady pace of the plot. The emotional connection with the characters immerses you in their world though, and you’re rooting for them from the beginning. Betrayals hurt; deaths are painful; and sly comments from Rudolf make you grin.

As with The Last King, it opens with a passage taken from near the end. I thought I was prepared for the misdirection. But it fooled me again, resulting in a gripping novel that kept me guessing. One thing is for sure with M.J Porter’s books: nothing is as it seems.

The Last Warrior is an intense but engaging read, perfect for historical fiction fans who like a battle or two.

Are you into historical fiction? Have you read anything from this author before? Let me know!

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18 thoughts on “The Last Warrior by M.J Porter

  1. Great review, Lindsey. 🙂 Full of battle scenes, yet not overwhelming; a sense of comradeship pervading the readers’ senses – this seems like a book worth reading.

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    • Hehe you know I only picked up the first one as it was set in Mercia and my one-track mind kicked in ? it’s a really enjoyable series but definitely not for everyone.

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  2. I don’t really go for historical fiction but this actually sounds pretty good! The battle scenes and characters seem really interesting, might have to give it a go. Thanks for the review x

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  3. I do like historical fiction, but not all. I love almost anything post WWII. Thanks for sharing your review.

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