What's it all about..
The discovery of the Staffordshire Hoard in 2009 has captured the imagination and stimulated renewed interest in the history and culture of the Anglo-Saxons. The discovery poses some interesting questions. Who owned the treasure and how did they acquire it? Was it made locally or did it originate elsewhere? Why was it buried in an obscure field in the Staffordshire countryside? To answer these questions, Martin Wall takes us on a journey into a period that still remains mysterious, into regions and countries long forgotten, such as Mercia and Northumbria. This is a story of the ‘Dark Ages’ and the people who lived in them, but darkness is in the eye of the beholder. This book challenges our notions of these times as barbaric and backward to reveal a civilization as complex, sophisticated and diverse as our own.
What did I think about it..
I like to read novels which are set in the so called 'dark ages' of our history and whilst historical fiction authors do a really good job of interpreting time and place, sometimes I get lost, not just in the mists of time, but also without enough background knowledge of my own to draw upon when something puzzles me. So, to have a very readable account of the Anglo-Saxon world is going be a great asset to me.
The author writes well and puts forward his interpretation of the Anglo Saxon world, including his own theories about who did what, to whom and why with competent assurance. Of course, this is an area of which I have no expert knowledge, I'm merely an enthusiastic histfic reader however, I have read and absorbed this author's work with real interest and have found much to enjoy in reading his various interpretations and conclusions. I was particularly interested in the chapter headed Lady of the Mercians in which the author introduced me to Aethelflaed, eldest child of Alfred, and much more importantly told me that she became a powerful female leader in an all too often male dominated world.
The book spans fifteen chapters, which take the reader from early history in a chapter entitled Into the Mists of Oblivion and completes the book, some fourteen chapters later, in a conclusion detailing just how The Anglo-Saxon Legacy continues to live on in all of us, in the patterns of our speech and customs, in our place names and also, in our shared heritage.
Best Read with... A cup of sweet honey mead brimful and plentiful..
Martin Wall inherited his passionate interest in local history and folklore from his father and has been writing abou these subjects for ten years. He lectures historical groups on a variety of subjects and acts as a gallery interpreter in his spare time.
My thanks to Phillip at Amberley Publishing for introducing me to this author and also for kindly supplying the review copy of The Anglo-Saxon Age; The Birth of England