The bestselling author of The King in the North turns his attention to the obscure era of British history known as 'the age of Arthur'.
Somewhere in the shadow time between the departure of the Roman legions in the early fifth century and the arrival in Kent of Augustine's Christian mission at the end of the sixth, the kingdoms of Early Medieval Britain were formed. But by whom? And out of what?
In The First Kingdom, Max Adams scrutinizes the narrative of this period handed down to us by later historians and chroniclers. Stripping away the more lurid claims made for a warrior-hero named Arthur, he synthesises the research carried out over the last forty years to tease out the strands of reality from the myth. He reveals how archaeology has delivered evidence of a diverse and dynamic response to Britain's new-found independence, of material and intellectual trade between the Atlantic islands and the rest of Europe, and of the environmental context of those centuries.
A skilfully wrought and intellectually probing investigation of the most mysterious epoch in our history, The First Kingdom presents an image of post-Roman Britain whose resolution is high enough to show the emergence of distinct political structures in the sixth century – polities that survive long enough to be embedded in the medieval landscape, recorded in the lines of river, road and watershed, and memorialised in place names.
PRAISE FOR MAX ADAMS:
'A triumph. The most gripping portrait of seventh-century Britain that I have read ... A Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages' Tom Holland in The Times on The King in the North
'Gripping, hugely enjoyable and deeply scholarly' History Today, Books of the Year, on The King in the North
'Brilliantly combines history and archaeological research ... A compelling read' The Lady on Ælfred's Britain
'A triumph. The most gripping portrait of 7th-century Britain that I have read' Tom Holland, on The King in the North.
'Essential reading for all those interested in late Anglo-Saxon Britain' History Today, on Aelfred's Britain.
'A beautifully written archae-travelogue' TLS, on In the Land of Giants.