The Wolf Age: The Vikings, the Anglo-Saxons and the Battle for the North Sea Empire
By Tore Skeie
This book focuses on the Norse history in England from the mid-10th to mid-11th centuries. Scandinavia, Normandy and other lands also appear in its pages, but the main story details the campaigns and battles of various Viking leaders in Britain, ultimately leading to the reign of Cnut as King of England.
In the year 975, a comet came into view above Anglo-Saxon England. It appeared on one of the first days of August, when the summer was at its hottest and farming peasants were at their most hungry, busy reaping and grinding the first corn. High up in the firmament, they saw a hazy but intense ball of light with flames radiating from it on one side, “like golden hair on a human head”. It fell slowly sideways, towards the north-east.
Among those who observed this strange phenomenon with both interest and unease were the learned Benedictine monks who wrote the annals that would eventually be collected and compiled and known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. It is this work we have to thank for much of our knowledge of England during what, for us, is a very distant age. In a society where almost nothing was written down, these humble servants of God with their cowls and shaved heads kept tabs on the course of history outside monastery walls. In the form of brief notes and comments, they recorded information about kings’ travels through the kingdom, about bishops’ Church meetings, about nobles’ endless petty feuds—and about unusual natural phenomena.
Who is this book for?
If you want to begin learning about the Viking Age in England, this book should be one of your top choices. Written in an engaging style but also offering a lot of details, The Wolf Age is aimed at the general reader and history enthusiast. If you already have studied this period in depth, then the book won’t offer much new, but it still makes for a good read.
Tore Skeie is a Norwegian medievalist that has already gained a good reputation within his country. This work was originally published in Norwegian in 2018, and its success led to an English translation. You can learn more Tore from his Wikipedia page, or follow him on Twitter @ToreSkeie
You can also watch Tore Skeie speaking at the London Book Fair in 2019:
You can learn more about this book from the publisher’s website