Two kings with the same first name died in England in 1066. Harald (with an “a”) was the Viking king defeated and killed at Stamford Bridge by the English king, Harold (with an “o”)!
King Harold Godwinson famously went on to meet his end near Hastings, at the hands of William and his conquering Normans, but that’s a story everyone knows, so it’s not being retold here.
This book tells of the exploits and adventures of Harald Sigurdsson, the Viking who became a king and was known as Hardrada – (hard ruler) a well deserved nickname. Before he met his death in 1066, he lived an extraordinary and wide-ranging life, traveling through Europe as far as Russia, and on to the Middle East gaining influence and reputation wherever he went. He was victorious in many battles, but the invasion of England was a step too far. He has always been a footnote in our history. Not any more.
Targeted Age Group:: 8 – 12
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I can still recall my excitement when I discovered, as a child, that Viking warriors had lived, fought and died throughout Britain. I devoured stories by Terry Jones and Henry Treece and retellings of the Norse Myths by Roger Lancelyn-Green and others. The world they described seemed strange and remote compared to the more familiar Greek and Roman tales, but also closer at hand on the grey and misty mornings of a childhood spent in Northern Europe. I was particularly fascinated by the tale of King Harald Hard-ruler – who had scuppered (so it was
taught to me at school) the English resistance to the Normans at the battle of Hastings in 1066. It was much later that I discovered what an extraordinary life that Norwegian King had led. It is a life that deserves to be more than a mere footnote to the familiar story of the Norman Conquest.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
This book is a story about real people from history.
Long ago, in the days when dragons could still be found, there lived a Viking king. He was fierce and warlike, brave and strong, cunning and cruel. He was called Harald Hard-ruler, and his name was feared wherever it was heard. But it was not always so….
This tale begins when Harald was still a boy. Fifteen years old, he had awoken alone, deep in the dark forest, and wounded near to death. The forest was full of terrors: there were wolves and bears, and more dreadful things too it was said. Harald had listened as a child to the stories told by the skalds, the poets who recited ancient tales in the halls of wealthy chiefs. They sung of dreadful magics and the wakeful dead, of giants and trolls and foul dwellers in inky bogs.
Harald had never thought much about such things. But now, as he looked into the black spaces between the trunks of the silent trees, wounded and afraid, those tales came back to him and filled him up with fear. He reached for the cross around his neck and wondered whether God would protect him, the God his half-brother had fought and died for.
Thomas J T Williams is married and lives in North London, but he grew up in Gloucestershire, in a village in the Cotswold Hills. After graduating from University College London (UCL), where he’d done a combined degree (History / History of Art), he worked as a civil servant at the Department for Constitutional Affairs. He then left to do an MA in Cultural Heritage Studies at UCL and began volunteer work with Historic Royal Palaces (HRP). Having completed his MA, Tom was offered a contract with HRP.
Over the years Tom has refined his interest in British history and at the end of his contract with HRP, he decided to study for his doctorate and embarked on a PhD course at the Institute for Archaeology at UCL. The subject of his studies is ‘Landscape and Warfare in Early Medieval Britain’. It was as his PhD course was nearing its end that the job of Project Curator for the Viking exhibition at the British Museum was advertised. In the face of fierce competition, Tom landed the job. It is an 18 month contract and, when the exhibition closes in July 2014, Tom will return to UCL to complete his PhD.
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Links to Purchase eBooks
Link To Buy THE TALE OF KING HARALD – The Last Viking Adventure On Amazon