When England lived under Danish rule by Mercedes Rochelle
Almost without exception, we regret the sudden end of the Anglo-Saxon era in 1066. Nonetheless, I think it’s interesting that the Danes ruled all of England for more than a generation, and they barely rate more than a footnote in the history books. Between Canute and his sons, the Danes were kings from 1016 through 1042, yet we still think of England as Anglo-Saxon during that era.
Of course, the Vikings were no strangers to England. During the reign of Alfred the Great, the Danes overran the country and would have conquered all but for the dogged resistance of the King of Wessex. In the end, Alfred divided the country in half, and the Northmen settled and ruled the Danelaw for the next 200 years. By the time Canute’s father, Swegn Forkbeard took the crown in 1013, England’s Aethelred the Unready had made a mess of things and some of the country was beginning to think that Danish rule might be preferable after all. Not that they had much choice.
Swegn Forkbeard died suddenly after only a few months on the throne. Aethelred came back and faded away, Edmund Ironside had a brief tenure as king, then Canute took over in 1016. At first things didn’t look good for the Anglo-Saxons. Some key English Thegns were assassinated (including Eadric Streona) and Viking Jarls were installed in their places. Canute proceeded to raise the largest Danegeld tax yet (£82,500) to pay off the Viking ships, but luckily he sent most of the army home afterwards. From then on, England was not considered fair game (except for the occasional raid) until the unhappy events of 1066.
Historians often voice their surprise that Canute decided to settle down and adopt the ways of his conquered people, in direct contrast to William the Norman. It could fairly be said that the Vikings were absorbed by the Anglo-Saxons through intermarriage and common economic concerns. Canute became Christian and founded many churches, mostly to atone for his early bloody victories. Although Canute had difficulty juggling his Empire of Denmark, England, Norway and part of Sweden, he made England his home. He presided over 20 years of peace and prosperity, and by the end of his reign, Canute was known as a good and just king. Had he not died young – only about 40 years old – England might have stayed Danish considerably longer.
Canute's two sons, Harold Harefoot and Harthacnut, both died within a few years of taking the crown, and neither one gave birth to an heir, legitimate or otherwise. The crown passed smoothly back to the house of Wessex and the hands of Edward (later the Confessor), who had spent the last 30 years under the careful tutelage of Continental Normandy. From the Frying Pan in to the Fire, although the Anglo-Saxons didn't know it yet.
My hero Godwine (later the first Earl of Wessex) meets Canute while the Danes were still struggling with Edmund Ironside. He saw an opportunity to make his fortune, but needed to throw in his lot with the invading army. I would say he spent much of his early career trying to justify the choices he made.
Publication Date: April 24, 2015 (US & UK) | Top Hat Books | Formats: Kindle eBook, Paperback | 351 Pages
Genre: Historical Fiction
READ AN EXCERPT.
Harold Godwineson, the Last Anglo-Saxon King, owed everything to his father. Who was this Godwine, first Earl of Wessex and known as the Kingmaker? Was he an unscrupulous schemer, using King and Witan to gain power? Or was he the greatest of all Saxon Earls, protector of the English against the hated Normans? The answer depends on who you ask. He was befriended by the Danes, raised up by Canute the Great, given an Earldom and a wife from the highest Danish ranks. He sired nine children, among them four Earls, a Queen and a future King. Along with his power came a struggle to keep his enemies at bay, and Godwine's best efforts were brought down by the misdeeds of his eldest son Swegn. Although he became father-in-law to a reluctant Edward the Confessor, his fortunes dwindled as the Normans gained prominence at court. Driven into exile, Godwine regathered his forces and came back even stronger, only to discover that his second son Harold was destined to surpass him in renown and glory.
Official Book Trailer
Buy the BookAmazon US
For more information please visit Mercedes Rochelle’s website and blog. You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Goodreads.
Godwine Kingmaker Blog Tour ScheduleMonday, April 20
Review at Svetlana's Reads and Views
Spotlight at Genre Queen
Tuesday, April 21
Review at Book Nerd
Spotlight at Unshelfish
Wednesday, April 22
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Thursday, April 23
Interview at Flashlight Commentary
Saturday, April 25
Spotlight at With Her Nose Stuck in a Book
Tuesday, April 28
Spotlight at CelticLady's Reviews
Wednesday, April 29
Review at Broken Teepee
Thursday, April 30
Guest Post & Giveaway at Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus More
Spotlight at The Writing Desk
Monday, May 4
Review at Impressions in Ink
Character Interview at Boom Baby Reviews
Tuesday, May 5
Guest Post & Giveaway at Passages to the Past
Thursday, May 7
Review at Bookramblings
Spotlight at The Never-Ending Book
Friday, May 8
Review at Layered Pages
GiveawayPassages to the Past has one paperback of Godwine Kingmaker up for grabs! To enter the giveaway please leave a comment below with your email address.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59pm EST on May 15th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Giveaway is open to US residents only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspect of fraud is decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion
– Winner have 48 hours to claim prize or new winner is chosen.