Book Review: The Last Horse: England: The First Viking Age (The Ninth Century Book 3) by M J Porter

Genre: Historical fiction
Publisher: Self published
Pub date: 27 August 2020
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

The Raiders have been routed from Torksey, dead, or escaped.

Mercia lies broken but not beaten, her alliance with Wessex in tatters, her new king a warrior not a ruler. And as he endures his coronation, as demanded by the bishops and ealdormen, there are stirrings from the east.

 Coelwulf must again take to the trackways of Mercia. His destination, any place where the Raiders are trying to infiltrate the kingdom he’s fought so hard to keep whole, losing beloved friends in the process. 

The year is AD874 and Mercia lies threatened. But Coelwulf, and his loyal warriors, have vowed to protect Mercia with their lives. They’re not about to stop now.

What can I say about book? It’s the third in the series that centres on the warrior Coelwulf and his band of warriors and I adore this series.

Having read the first two I was so excited to receive this. I spent the whole day reading and refused to do anything else until I’d finished.

The third instalment takes place with Coelwulf now King of Mercia. This is a role he never pursued nor does he particularly want it. He dislikes pomp and ceremony and just wants to return to ridding Mercia of Raiders. His coronation is amusing, you can sense how uncomfortable he is whilst his aunt and band of warriors look on in amusement.

His closest friend Edmund is hard to fathom, after a disagreement in the previous book it appears the two may make their peace. Edmund is the character that whilst he comes across as gruff and often angry I admire his loyalty and straight thinking.

Rudolf who was once Coelwulf’s squire is now a member of his war band and I love how his character has grown to become the young man who speaks his mind and asks all the questions the others wouldn’t dare. His relationship with Coelwulf and Pybba provides a lot of laughs through the books.

I couldn’t love the characters any more than I already do. Coelwulf, Rudolf, Pybba, Edmund and all of the others, I just love them. Then there’s the horses, of course Haden is my favourite but I loved in this one that the personalities of the horses was portrayed more and how they interact with their individual warrior riders.

If you are looking for a series full of gruesome battles, fantastic characters and a great storyline then this is for you.

I watch my opponent grow winded, his chest heaving as his right arm moves to weave his seax dance around me. But no matter what he does, he can’t get so much as a glancing blow on my body. Slowly, realisation dawns on his face, but once more, it only redoubles his efforts to end my life.

Coelwulf and his men are drawn to Northampton in a bid to claim a Raider settlement before it can grow but not everyone wishes Coelwulf to be successful.

This series contains a lot of swearing which doesn’t bother me at all. Most of the swearing is done in a humorous way.

This book made me laugh out loud and almost cry and that is why I love this series and these characters so much.

MJ Porter is fantastic at writing prologues. The prologue in this made me want to jump straight in.

I cannot wait for the next instalment!

The Last Horse is currently available to pre-order

I can’t thank MJ enough for sending me a review copy of this, it honestly made my day to receive it!

If you would like to know more about MJ:

Website: https://www.mjporterauthor.com

Blog: https://earlofmercia.wordpress.com

Twitter: @coloursofunison

Disclaimer: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases

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