Six books. An unforgettable cast of characters. One epic story.
I’ve picked up a few new readers since the Dark Age saga launched, so it seemed like a good time to revisit the best-sellers that got me started. Wouldn’t want them to be forgotten.
For a long time, Hereward’s story was barely remembered in our history books. But he was there at a pivotal point in the national story, and was – I would contend – one of our most important heroes. Massively flawed, a rogue in his younger days, he grew into a towering leader who could have changed the history of England.
Book One (cover above) begins in the years leading to the invasion by William, the Conqueror, of Normandy in 1066.
1062, a time many fear is the End of Days. With the English King Edward heirless and ailing, across the grey seas in Normandy the brutal William the Bastard waits for the moment when he can drown England in a tide of blood.
The ravens of war are gathering. But as the king’s closest advisors scheme and squabble amongst themselves, hopes of resisting the naked ambition of the Norman duke come to rest with just one man: Hereward…
To some a brilliant warrior, to others a devil in human form, Hereward is as adept in the art of slaughter as the enemies that gather to claim England’s throne. But in his country’s hour of greatest need, he has been declared an outlaw. To stay alive – and a freeman – he must carve a bloody swathe from the frozen hills of Northumbria to Flanders’ fields and the fenlands of East Anglia.
The tale of a man whose deeds will become the stuff of legend, this is also the story of two mis-matched allies: Hereward the man of war, and Alric, a monk and a man of peace. One will risk everything to save the land he loves, the other to save his friend’s soul…
Book Two, The Devil’s Army, begins in 1067. Harold Godwinsson is dead and William the Bastard brutally puts down any resistance to his new rule. Meanwhile, Hereward begins to build a rebel army in a Fenlands fortress of water and wild wood. So begins the bloodiest rebellion England has ever seen.
1071. Under William’s cruel rule, villages have been razed, innocents put to the sword, and the north has been left a wasteland. Now it’s time for the Norman king to turn his attention to the east, the last stronghold of English resistance, and Hereward.
1072, and a new chapter for Hereward and his band of rebels. Cut adrift from family, friends and home, they travel to New Rome – Constantinople – to find work as mercenaries in the ferocious Varangian Guard. But this once-mighty empire is slipping into shadow. Beyond the vast walls, the endless Turkish hordes plan for an attack that could come at any moment. And within the sprawling city, rival factions threaten bloody mayhem as they scheme to seize the crown.
1073. Hereward and his band of warriors must mount a terrifying raid into enemy land, alongside the elite and legendary band of fighters, The Immortals. But while they are gone, the bloody plots in Constantinople begin to come to a head.
The final volume, and all the twisting plot lines and betrayals that began in book one reach a shattering conclusion.
1081. And so the bloody battle for the crown of the Holy Roman Empire begins.
Within the city of Constantinople itself, three venal factions will go to any lengths – will, it seems, kill any who might stand in their way – to seize the throne.
And outside the city’s walls, twin powers threaten a siege that will crush the once-mighty empire forever.
To the west, the voracious forces of the most feared Norman warlord are gathering. While in the east, the Turkish hordes are massing – theirs is a lust for slaughter.
And in the midst of this maelstrom of brutality and betrayal, Hereward and his English spear-brothers prepare to make what could be their final stand . . .