A rich history of the years leading up to 1066 when Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Normans vied for the English crown. A tale of loyalty, treason and military might.
In a saga reminiscent of Game of Thrones and The Last Kingdom, Battle for the Island Kingdom reveals the life-and-death struggle for power which changed the course of history. The six decades leading up to 1066 were defined by bloody wars and intrigues, in which three peoples vied for supremacy over the island kingdom. In this epic retelling, Don Hollway (The Last Viking) recounts the clashes of Vikings, Anglo-Saxons and Normans, their warlords and their conniving queens.
It begins with the Viking Cnut the Great, forging three nations into his North Sea Empire while his Saxon wife Aelfgifu rules in his stead and schemes for England's throne. Her archenemy is Emma of Normandy, widow of Saxon king Aethelred, claiming Cnut's realm in exchange for her hand in marriage. Their sons become rivals, pawns in their mothers' wars until they can secure their own destinies. And always in the shadows is Godwin of Wessex, playing all sides to become the power behind the throne until his son Harold emerges as king of all of England.
But Harold's brother Tostig turns traitor, abandons the Anglo-Saxons and joins the army of the last great Viking, Harald Hardrada, where together they meet their fate at the battle of Stamford Bridge. And all this time watching from across the water is William, the Bastard, fighting to secure his own Norman dukedom, but with an eye on the English crown.
Read an extract of Battle for the Island Kingdom
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations Author's Note Dramatis Personae Introduction: A New Millennium
Part One. The Vikings: AD 1001–1043 I. Normandy Invasion: 1001 II. Foreigners: 1002 III. Woe to King Aethelred: 1003–1009 IV. The Jomsvikings: 1009–1012 V. Hnefatafl: 1012–1014 VI. Sons of the Fathers: 1014–1016 VII. One King to Rule All: 1016 VIII. Viking England: 1017–1022 IX. Forging an Empire: 1022–1028 X. Kingdoms, Dukedoms, Heirdoms: 1028–1030 XI. Seeking Deliverance: 1030–1035 XII. Power Games: 1036–1037 XIII. Nadirs: 1037–1040 XIV. Harthacnut: 1040–1042 XV. Their Just Rewards: 1042–1043
Part Two. The Anglo-Saxons: AD 1042–1065 XVI. Edward Rex: 1042–1045 XVII. Comeuppances: 1045–1046 XVIII. Outcasts: 1046–1047 XIX. Val-ès-Dunes: 1047 XX. The Godwins: 1047–1049 XXI. William the Bastard: 1049–1051 XXII. Rebellion: 1051 XXIII. Heir to the Throne: 1051–1052 XXIV. The Return of the Godwins: 1052 XXV. Asserting Power: 1052–1053 XXVI. Wars in the North: 1054 XXVII. The Godwinsons: 1055–1056 XXVIII. War and Diplomacy: 1057 XXIX. Supremacy: 1058–1060 XXX. Fragile Peace: 1061 XXXI. Conquerors: 1062–1063 XXXII. Betrayals: 1064–1065
Part Three. The Normans: AD 1066 XXXIII. Challenge Accepted: Spring 1066 XXXIV. Opening Moves: Summer 1066 XXXV. Return of the Vikings: September 1066 XXXVI. Hastings: October 1066 Afterword: Domesday, 1066–1154 Sources Bibliography Acknowledgments Index About the Author