England is in crisis. King Edward has no heir and promises never to produce one. There are no obvious successors available to replace him, but quite a few claimants are eager to take the crown. While power struggles break out between the various factions at court, enemies abroad plot to make England their own. There are raids across the borders with Wales and Scotland. Harold Godwinson, Earl of Wessex, is seen by many as the one man who can bring stability to the kingdom. He has powerful friends and two women who love him, but he has enemies who will stop at nothing to gain power. As 1066 begins, England heads for an uncertain future. It seems even the heavens are against Harold. Intelligent and courageous, can Harold forge his own destiny – or does he have to bow to what fates impose?
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
If history had been taught to me like this at school I would have fallen in love with it but up to now the outcome of 1066 could be summed up for me with just one sentence. I know how it ends! But wow what a journey it was to get there and Glynn Halloway tells it in such a way that I hated that it came to an end. This is a magnificent debut!
The story begins a few years after the battle of Hastings, at the bedside of a dying William the Conqueror in 1087 with a lengthy and absolutely riveting, compulsive and bloody account of how the Royal line of England’s rulers would be decided after the death of King Edward (Edward the Confessor) in January 1066. What was to follow became a time that would be firmly fixed in history that even today has one of the most memorable names and dates. The death of King Harold at the Battle of Hastings on 14th October 1066.
The story drops back even further to 1045 and follows the life of Harold, the son of Godwine, the Earl of Wessex. They were a very powerful family even before Godwine’s daughter Edith married King Edward in 1045. They had no children which of course lead to the predicament of who would be King in 1066. But the disputes of who should be England’s next King began way before King Edward’s death.
This isn’t just an account of history, the characters bring it to life especial through Harold. I really did like this man who had a tender and loving side to him besides being fair, just and popular with the people. He was a man who would take a peaceful route rather than fight where ever he could. An instigator of peace between England and Wales and of Northumberland, which saved hundreds of lives. The thing that amazed me most was how well educated this man was, speaking so many languages fluently.
These men were fighting machines with the stamina that they had, wielding axes and swords in hand to hand combat. The strength they had just astounded me. There were some pretty graphic scenes too not just of how men died in battle but of villages being wiped out. One particular scene in a mill just broke me. It had to be included this was how it was. This was invasion and it was cruel, vicious and took no survivors. The battle of Hastings itself was played out like any big screen master piece. Every battle plan and command reconstructed to as near to perfection as I am sure could be humanly possible and I dreaded the end and fatal blow.
I must admit that when I finished reading this book I sat back and thought where were my ancestors while the battles took place, had they fought alongside Harold? Some how they had obviously survived or at least some had. I have been so in awe of this book and to be honest so very glad to have read it. Glynn Halloway brought every character to life, one very memorable moment for me was near the end, when a Harold’s mother Gytha faced William after her son’s death. Very touching, very brave and dignified. A truly stunning account of England’s history!
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
1066 What Fates Impose, won the Gold Medal in the 2014 Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards – Adult Fiction.
G K Holloway left university in 1980 with a degree in history and politics. After spending a year in Canada, he relocated to England’s West Country and began working in Secondary Education. Later he worked in Adult Education and then Further Education before finally working in Higher Education.
After reading a biography about Harold Godwinson, he became fascinated by the fall of Anglo Saxon England and spent several years researching events leading up to and beyond the Battle of Hastings. Eventually he decided he had enough material to make an engrossing novel. Using characters from the Bayeux Tapestry, the Norse Sagas, the Domesday Book and many other sources. He feels that he has brought the period and its characters to life in his own particular way. Following the major protagonists, as well as political, religious and personal themes, the downfall of Anglo-Saxon England is portrayed by a strong cast.
Nowadays he lives in Bristol with his wife and two children. When he’s not writing he works with his wife in their company.
1066 is his debut novel was originally published as an ebook. It has received very positive reviews and this has encouraged him to publish it in paperback. Currently he is working on a sequel. One day he hopes to write full time.
Winner of the Wishing Shelf Independent Book Awards 2014 for 1066 What Fates Impose.
Web Site: http://www.gkholloway.co.uk/