In the historical note at the end of Death of Kings, historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell writes,
“It has always puzzled me that we English are so incurious about our national’s genesis. In school it sometimes seems as if Britain’s history begins in AD 1066, and all the twenty before is irrelevant, but the story of how England came to exist is a massive, exciting, and noble tale.”
I am not English, and did not get a lot of British history in school either (apart from the usual Redcoats section of the Revolutionary War and what I gleaned from reading lots and lots and lots of novels on my own time), but I find it a fascinating subject. That’s why I really enjoy Bernard Cornwell’s books. He researches thoroughly, does a great job of conveying details of life in the past without bogging down, keeps a great pace going, and writes battle scenes remarkably well.
Death of Kings is the latest book in Cornwell’s Saxon series, and it covers the period immediately preceding King Alfred’s death, up through the battle at the Holme, in which Alfred’s son Edward narrowly kept the throne in spite of attacks by the Danes, the Kentish, and various traitorous Saxons.
If you like historical fiction or are interested in British history, I’d highly recommend Cornwell’s books (except for the Sharpe series, which I haven’t read so can’t speak to).
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.