King Alfred is dead and the achievements that made him great are in jeopardy. Rebels challenge the succession of his son Edward to the Wessex throne, and his old ally in Mercia is sick. The Vikings in the Danelaw sense the time has come to complete their conquest of England.
It falls on Alfred’s firstborn, his daughter, Æthelflæd, to unite the Anglo-Saxons. Reluctantly, she takes up the challenge. But can a woman rebuild ruined towns and lead men into battle against hardened Viking warriors? And can Æthelflæd fulfil her father’s dream of uniting England?
Based on contemporary sources and archaeological evidence, King Alfred’s Daughter is rich in drama, family conflict and historical achievement.
David Stokes studied history at Oriel College, Oxford, and is Emeritus Professor in entrepreneurship at Kingston University. He has published widely in the non-fiction field during his career as an academic. The Anglo-Saxons have been a lifelong interest, and he has combined this passion with his research skills to write historical fiction focussing on the early medieval period. For more information about the author including free downloads, go to: davidstokesauthor.com
Hugh Coakley, The Guildford Dragon (Guest Review) - 24 Mar, 2023
Stokes is a rival to Conn Iggulden, it’s a great read, well researched and brilliantly sets out a different perspective of a turning point in the story of our isles.
Richard Humble (Guest Review) - 24 Mar, 2023
There are not so many historical novels about Anglo-Saxon England, so don’t miss this one. It’s the gripping story of one of the most extraordinary women in English history: Æthelflæd, Lady of the Mercians (870-918), daughter of Alfred the Great.
She was born when her native kingdom of Wessex (the ‘Last Kingdom’ of the recent TV epic) was fighting for its life against the marauding Great Army of the Danes. As a teenager she was married off to Alfred’s only English ally: Æthelred, warleader of the Mercians, nearly old enough to be her father, half of whose country lay under Danish occupation – the Danelaw.
After the agonising birth of her only daughter, Ælfwyn – whose preface and post-script open and close the story – she banned her husband from her bed. Yet her growing respect and love for her ‘dear old bear’ is one of the most touching elements of the tale, which crackles with family tensions from the outset.
Æthelflæd has grown to womanhood with the conviction, learned from her father and warrior husband, that the key to defending English territory from marauding Danes and Norsemen is the creation of fortified towns, or burhs. These serve not only as secure refuges for the local people, but also as stimuli for trade and prosperity. Now, as she takes command as effective ruler in her husband’s name, she is determined to fortify every strategic town in Mercia, directing the work in person whenever possible. One of the dramatic highlights of this story is Æthel-flæd’s personal direction of the defence of Chester, Mercia’s northernmost burh, from a besieging horde of Norsemen and Danes, marking her emergence as a gifted strategist and war leader.
Congratulations to David Stokes for the vigour, drama and vivid colour with which he tells Æthelflæd’s story.