England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?
I am a big fan of historical fiction and this book did not disappoint. Having recently read a collection of novels that pre-date this novel’s period I was very excited to read the next evolution of history. This is a period that has not been overly exploited from a historical fiction perspective. This novel captured it well, providing detailed insight in to alliances and deceptions as each family vie’d for the English throne. Well written in a prose that takes the reader through a journey of a couple of years culminating in the battle of Hastings.
Characters were well developed and described in vivid detail that provided sufficient context without over-developing the characters but also ensured that the reader knew enough about each character to understand their involvement in each major event described. G.K. was able to hold the readers imagination whilst delivering a detailed historical account of the period, no mean feat and a task he accomplished with aplomb.
A great read from a great author, highly recommended to fans of this genre and this period.