GUEST BLOG: Inspiration For Writing THE LAST KING by M.J. Porter

The Last King_Blog Tour BannerThe Last King is set in the AD 870s in Mercia, one of the ancient kingdoms of England. If you’ve watched or read Bernard Cornwell’s The Last Kingdom books then it’s just about where the first book starts.

I’ve long avoided trampling on the toes of the literary creation that is Uhtred of Bebbanburg. I’ve written about the seventh century, the tenth and the eleventh, but I had left the ninth well alone. But no more.

I was amused, while recently watching The Last Kingdom, to find a character called Coelwulf, no doubt ‘my’ Coelwulf, keel over dead during a feast in Wessex. This made me chuckle, and also made me appreciate that the archaeological find that inspired me to write about him is recent (2015) and has called into question just what was happening in Mercia (and Wessex) in the 870s. (For information on the coin find, please have a look here,

And so, The Last King. It’s very much an action thriller with a historical setting. There’s a lot of blood, sweat and gore, (and swearing) but it is an attempt to explore this ‘other’ scenario, contrary to that in the Uhtred books, and contrary to much that has been written about Coelwulf in the past. He has been seen as a puppet of the Vikings. But, what if he wasn’t, as seems increasingly likely.

First and foremost, I approach my books from a historical perspective. But what I love, (and I really do love), is reading between the lines, toying with the might-have-beens and the what-ifs. And Coelwulf, forgotten ‘hero’ that he might be, is a perfect vehicle for such an exploration of Mercia. And as a ‘Mercian’ by birth myself, it feels right to not let her get overshadowed by the might of Wessex, under what could just be, a perfectly written piece of political propaganda – The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – that has plunged Coelwulf into historical obscurity, and from which he can only emerge thanks to the ‘Two Emperor Coins.’ These hint that Coelwulf was not a Viking puppet-king. Was he perhaps someone who overshadowed even Alfred himself, and who, Alfred, in a fit of pique branded as a traitor in his chronicle, The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the chronicle of the time.

What if, indeed.

(Please note, I have taken to referring to this time period as Early England, but the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, is known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. No offense is implied.)

About The Book

The Last KingThey 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.

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Enter to win a copy of The Last King by M.J. Porter! Two paperbacks are up for grabs!

The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on January 22nd. You must be 18 or older to enter.

The Last King
About The AuthorMJ-PorterI’m an author of fantasy (Viking age/dragon-themed) and historical fiction (Early English, Vikings and the British Isles as a whole before the Norman Conquest). I was born in the old Mercian kingdom at some point since 1066. Raised in the shadow of a strange little building, told from a very young age that it housed the bones of long-dead Kings of Mercia and that our garden was littered with old pieces of pottery from a long-ago battle, it’s little wonder that my curiosity in Early England ran riot. I can only blame my parents!

I write A LOT. You’ve been warned!

Not sure where to start your journey through Early England? Here are some pointers.

If you like action-adventure, with a heavy dose of violence, foul language and good old camaraderie – The Ninth Century series is for you, starting with The Last King, or The Seventh Century, starting with Pagan Warrior, has a little more politics to go with the set-piece battles.

If you like stories about the forgotten women of history, then the Tenth Century series, starting with The Lady of Mercia’s Daughter, is a good place to begin. Or, The First Queen of England, with a little more romance.

If you’re interested in the last century of Early England (before 1066) then The Earls of Mercia series is for you.

If you want to read it all, then you can read in chronological order, or mix it up. The series weren’t written in chronological order.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, January 11
Review at Hoover Book Reviews

Tuesday, January 12
Review at Bibliostatic
Guest Post at Novels Alive

Wednesday, January 13
Review at Rajiv’s Reviews

Thursday, January 14
Feature at Bookworlder
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks

Friday, January 15
Review at Pursuing Stacie

Saturday, January 16
Excerpt at Passages to the Past

Monday, January 18
Interview at Books & Benches

Tuesday, January 19
Review at Impressions In Ink
Excerpt at Madwoman in the Attic

Wednesday, January 20
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books

Thursday, January 21
Review at Books and Zebras

Friday, January 22
Excerpt at Coffee and Ink
Excerpt at A Darn Good Read
Interview at Jathan & Heather


Dayna Linton
Dayna Linton
Dayna is the owner of not only Novels Alive but of Day Agency, a full-service self-publishing agency for independent authors. She has been assisting independent authors to achieve their dreams of becoming published authors for over 15 years. From New York Times and USA Today Bestselling authors to the first-time author to every author in between. Dayna is a self-professed bibliophile. While dancing has always been her first love, reading came as a very, very close second, with gardening coming in as a close third. Dayna is also the divorced mom of four adult children and a very proud grandma. She is also a web designer, social media specialist, book blogger, and reviewer. She's a long-time Disney lover and a Utah Jazz, Utah Utes, and Dallas Cowboys fan. See Dayna's reviews here: Dayna's Reviews



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