Synopses & Reviews
In an era darkened by the terror of Viking invasions, England's first and greatest king was a beacon of light. "This is the story of England's birth. A great story, beautifully told." (Bernard Cornwell, author of The Pale Horseman
Alfred was England's first king, and his rule spanned troubled times. As his shores sat under constant threat from Viking marauders, his life was similarly imperiled by conspiracies in his own court. He was an extraordinary charactera soldier, scholar, and statesman like no other in English historyand out of adversity he forged a new kind of nation. Justin Pollard's enthralling account strips back centuries of myth to reveal the individual behind the legend. He offers a radical new interpretation of what inspired Alfred to create England and how it has colored the nation's history to the present day. Justin Pollard, a Cambridge-educated archaeologist, is a documentary filmmaker and the author of Seven Ages of Britain.
"Highly recommended, especially for British history collections." Library Journal
Alfred is the only English king ever to be called 'Great'. It was not a title given by political supporters, not the sycophantic gift of an official biographer, nor a self-styled title. It was the gift of history. Justin Pollard's enthralling, authoritative account befits Alfred - a soldier, a scholar and statesman like no other in English history.
His rule spanned troubled times. His shores were under constant threat from Viking marauders and he faced turmoil at home. Soon after he began his rule a conspiracy erupted and he was hounded out of his kingdom into solitary exile in forests and fens. But his ambition was not felled by adversity. Alone in this damp, dangerous, half-world of bogs and quicksand Alfred looked within and found the motivation to create a new type of nation.
Drawing on the latest historical, textual and archaeological research Justin Pollard radically reassesses the key moments in Alfred's life. He offers a new interpretation of what caused this most remarkable king to begin the formation of England and how it coloured the subsequent history of the Western World down to the present day.
In an era darkened by the terror of the Viking invasions, England's first and greatest king was a beacon of light.
About the Author
Justin Pollard read Archaeology and Anthropology at Cambridge. For the last ten years has worked as a historical writer and consultant in film and television. His credits include the feature films Elizabeth and The Four Feathers as well as over twenty-five documentary series such as Channel Four's popular archaeology programme Time Team. He is the author of Seven Ages of Britain, for which he also produced a Channel Four series.