Vikings and The Last Kingdom

Vikings and The Last Kingdom

Vikings and The Last Kingdom

Thanks to shows such as Game of Thrones, historical fiction and worlds of both yore and lore are beginning to appear a lot more on our screens. Whether it is historically accurate or not doesn’t seem to deter people from tuning in every week to shows such as Vikings or other shows based on people from different periods of history.

Vikings are becoming increasingly popular in both TV and fiction works, and so in this article, we will delve deeper into the shows that do them justice, as well as books that will help you to understand their history a little better.

A few days ago, the midseason premiere of the aforementioned Vikings aired on Amazon Prime. This highly anticipated series return proves how popular history based TV series have become, and there are no signs of this popularity letting up either.

Another series that has recently returned to our screens is The Last Kingdom. Netflix added the series on November 19th, and fans of the show have enjoyed being able to watch all of the episodes at once.



First airing in March of 2013, this hugely popular show is seen to be the start of a resurgence in interest in viking history and Norse mythology. The series follows Ragnar Lothbrok as he attempts to find lands to conquer and bounty to claim. Whilst he is on his travels to discover new lands and civilisations, Ragnar encounters people who want to either to stop him or become him, either by attempting to kill him or become part of his clan.


The fifth series of this beloved show aired recently, and continues Ragnar’s story, as he faces new and different challenges along his path to becoming an accomplished viking warrior.

Whilst the series is not based directly off a book, fiction or non-fiction, it takes inspiration from many different historical books and texts. On our online Scottish book shop, you can find many of these books, including The Vikings in Islay by Alan McNiven, which details how vikings came to have settled on the Scottish isle of Islay, and how long they inhabited the island.


The Last Kingdom

Another very popular TV series, this one is based on the book The Last Kingdom by Bernard Cornwell. It shows the lines between Saxon and Dane, and how those lines can be blurred thanks to invasion, war and integration of other races.

  If focuses in on the year 872, where the many kingdoms of England have fallen thanks to the invasion of viking warriors and their families. Uhtred is captured by these invaders as a young boy, and is then raised as a viking. This eventually makes him question his heritage, and therefore he goes on a quest to reclaim both his ancestry and his fellow Saxon’s lands.

Bernard Cromwell created The Last Kingdom as the first part in an epic 11 part book series, with the 11th book being released earlier this year. You can find the first book here, in the Vikings tag on our Scottish bookseller site.

The author also created the Sharpe novels that were immensely popular, and led to a TV series being created with Sean Bean playing the titular role. He brings many different periods of history and war into a literary form, including The Grail Quest series, which is set during the Hundred Years’ War and sets the scene for an epic quest to find the Holy Grail.


Viking fiction and non-fiction books

There are so many instances of Vikings and their lives being the basis or inspiration for many fiction (and non-fiction) books and novels. There are even ones made especially for teenagers and younger kids.


Books for children 

For example, The Last Viking by Terry Deary (the author of the amazing and expansive Horrible Histories series of historical fact and fiction), is a totally immersive Viking adventure that is perfect for children of ages 8 and upwards.

Part of the aforementioned Horrible Histories series is the Vicious Vikings book, written and created again by Terry Deary, with fun and informative illustrations by Martin Brown. This book contains an array of different facts and points of history about the Viking people, along with humorous and horrible inputs from the author.

Another great history book resource for children and teenagers is Neil Oliver’s book, Vikings. This book contains chapters about the rich and detailed history of the Vikings, and is also perfect for adults to read up on the subject, and learn new details about how they built an empire that lasted over 200 years.


Books for adults

Other than the books previously mentioned by Bernard Cornwell and Alan McNiven, there are many other fiction and non-fiction works which deal with the topic of the Vikings.

Tim Severin has created a trilogy of historical fiction based around these prolific people. Odinn’s Child is the first in this series and starts in the year 1001 and follows Thorgils, a virtually orphaned child who arrives on the shores of Greenland, along with his ability of second sight. The story continues with Thorgils going on a quest for adventure, following his chosen god, Odinn.

On our online Scottish book store, we also have history books that follow the transition of Scotland through the invasion of the Vikings to our present day. Books such as Fair Isle: An Island Saga by Valerie M. Thom, and The Lord of the Isles by Ronald Williams. Both of these books go more in detail about how Scotland was affected by the invasion of the Vikings, and how those events shaped it into the country it is today.


With such a vibrant history behind them, and more vital historical information being unearthed about them all the time, it’s no wonder so many people are fascinated with the world of the Vikings.

With Norse mythology, tales of bloody battles, and their interesting ways of living, it would be no surprise if we were enamoured with them for many more years to come.

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