The Norman Conquest starts with the most decisive battle in English history and continues with dramatic rebellions and their ruthless suppression, eventually resulting in the creation of the English nation.The repercussions of the Conquest are with us still. The book begins with the Saxon kings, specifically Edward the Confessor, and shows how England was in constant conflict as the English fell prey to both Vikings and Normans.
In the north, King Harold destroys his Viking namesake at the battle of Stamford Bridge but immediately has to hurry south to confront William of Normandy at Hastings. His defeat, and the destruction of the Anglo-Saxon warrior caste, leads inexorably to William's forceful occupation of an unwilling country, and this is the ruthless story Marc Morris tells.
It is a drama crammed with intrigue, bloodshed and betrayal, featuring vivid, almost deranged characters: Edward the Confessor, who spurns his queen in their marriage bed to spite her family, even though it spells the end of his own dynasty; the heroic King Harold, the hero of Stamford Bridge and the last Saxon king, who perjures himself, betrays his brother and puts aside his wife in his bid for the throne; William the Bastard, later known as the Conqueror, who assembles the mightiest invasion fleet in the middle ages and after unexpected success almost destroys the country he has won.