The story of Aelfred the Great, his war against the Vikings and the foundations of modern Britain.
In AD 865, a 'great host' of battle-hardened Norse warriors landed on England's eastern coast, overwhelmed East Anglia with terrifying swiftness and laid the North to waste. Ghosting along estuaries and inshore waters, in 871 they penetrated deep into the southern kingdom of Wessex, ruled over by a new and untested king, Ælfred son of Æðelwulf. It seemed as though the End of Days was come.
Max Adams tells the story of the heroic efforts of Ælfred, his successors and fellow-kings of Britain, to adapt and survive in the face of an apocalyptic threat; and in so doing, to lay the foundations of the nations of modern Britain in all their regional diversity.
Head of Zeus * Medieval History
02 Nov 2017 * 528pp * £7.99 * 9781784080297
'This engrossing history of the British people between the first Viking raids in 865 and the expulsion of the Vikings from York in 954 is notable for being a more nuanced portrait of that era ... Lands other than Wessex come into fascinating new focus'
'An evocative look at a period that continues to grab the popular imagination'
'This is much more than a book about the Vikings versus King Alfred ... [Adams'] great achievement is to cover events throughout the whole of Britain with some excursions into Ireland and Europe as well'
'A beautifully crafted and impeccably compiled book, and one that is certainly a must-read for anyone with even a passing interest in the events and figures that moulded Britain during the reign of the Vikings'
All About History
'Essential reading for all those interested in late Anglo-Saxon Britain'
Historical Novel Society
'Adams very usefully drops from the macro-narratives to detailed examples of what all this meant to people at ground level, using the evidence of coins and charters and, especially, archaeology - much of which exposes the written chronicles and histories as propaganda ... A great virtue of his book - in following the archaeologists and the geographers, the reconstructors and the genealogists, Adams never forgets to ask what it looked like to the people on the ground'
London Review of Books
'Brilliantly combining history and archaeological research with an eye for the terrain [Aelfred's Britain is] a compelling read that is as knowledgeable on warfare in the Middle Ages as it is on civic life in Saxon London and Viking York'
Max Adams is a writer, archaeologist and woodsman whose work explores themes of landscape, knowledge and human connectedness with the earth. He is the author of Admiral Collingwood, Aelfred's Britain, Trees of Life, the bestselling The King in the North, In the Land of Giants and The First Kingdom. He has lived and worked in the North East of England since 1993.
OTHER BOOKS YOU MIGHT LIKE