The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback The formation of England happened against the odds - the division of the country into rival kingdoms, the assaults of the Vikings, the precarious position of the island on the edge of the known world. But King Alfred ensured the survival of Wessex, his son Eadweard expanded it, and his grandson AEthelstan finally united Mercia and Wessex, conquered Northumbria and became Rex totius Britanniae . Tom Holland recounts this extraordinarily exciting story with relish and drama. We meet the great figures of the age, including Alfred and his daughter AEthelflaed, 'Lady of the Mercians', who brought AEthelstan up at the Mercian court. At the end of the book we understand the often confusing history of the Anglo-Saxon kings better than ever before.
Tom Holland is the best-selling author of Rubicon, which won the Hessell-Tiltman Prize for History and was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize, Persian Fire, Millennium, In the Shadow of the Sword, Dynasty and, most recently, Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. His translation of Herodotus' Histories was published by Penguin Classics in 2013, and his biogpraphy of Athelstan in the Penguin Monarchs series in 2016.