The Last English King, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


On the Sussex Downs in 1066, the psychotic William and his gang of European mercenaries began the process which fragmented a civilisation. Walt, the last of King Harold's bodyguard, the one who survived Hastings, wanders across Asia Minor in the company of Quint, an intellectual renegade monk. On the way he unfolds the events that led up to the battle which affected the destinies of every English man and woman. With rare skill, Rathbone vividly recreates a civilisation that stubbornly remains alive in the collective memory to this day, and so identifies the roots of the still-held belief that every English person is born free and should stay free. Tender romance, savage war, courtly intrigue and some wry humour combine to make THE LAST ENGLISH KING an exhilarating roller-coaster ride into our past.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Myth & legend told as fiction
  • ISBN: 9780349109435



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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

A story of Harold from the point of view of his surviving bodyguard. Scarred from his experiences he's travelling around Asia Minor, headed vaguely for the holy land and telling his story to his companion.The story just didn't really work for me. The character sounds just a little bit too modern and it just didn't appeal for me. Readable though and sounds like the author did his research.

Review by

Diverting romp, not particularly well written, sometimes jarringly so.

Review by

The story of the norman invasion of England is told by a bodyguard of king Harold who survived the battle of hastings. Characters are very well drawn and at times the atmosphere of the story telling is mystical. Excellent feel for the period comes across and an imaginative description of the battle of Hastings is the high point of the book.

Review by

What was England like before William the Conqueror came? Were the people really such simpletons and their leaders barbaric until William brought the refinement of the Normans across the channel?Rathbone uses research, creative license, and a bit of humor, to tell the story of the rise and demise of the last true English King, Harold II. Told through the remembrances of one of Harold's bodyguards who we meet four years after the Battle of Hastings. This novel starts with Edward the Confessor and shows how Harold proves his worthiness to be king, shows how he became king and ends with the Battle of Hastings and Harold's death. Also told is how the people lived and worked, as well as comparing it to the Norman way of life.Walt, or the Wanderer, served as a bodyguard to Harold. These remembrances are told to Quint, a fellow traveler, who helps Walt talk out these memories. Walt had a lot of guilt when the story first began since he was the king's bodyguard, and although he was maimed, the king died. Walt helps us understand about Edward's house, Harold's house, and about the Anglo-Saxon people of England. Later we meet another traveler who gives us glimpses of William's lifestyle.

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