England, 1044. Harold Godwineson, a young, respected Earl, falls in love with an ordinary but beautiful woman. He marries Edyth despite her lack of pedigree, pitting him against his turbulent family and his selfish King, Edward. In France, William, the bastard son of a duke, falls in love with power. Brutal and dangerously smart, William sets his sights on England, finding ambition a difficult lust to conquer.
In 1066, with the old King Edward dying, England falls vulnerable to the winds of fate-and the stubborn will of these two powerful men. In this beautifully crafted tale, Helen Hollick sets aside the propaganda of the Norman Conquest and brings to life the English version of the story of the last Saxon King, revealing his tender love, determination, and proud loyalty, all shattered by the unforgiving needs of a Kingdom. Forced to give up his wife and risk his life for England, the chosen King led his army into the great Battle of Hastings in October 1066 with all the honor and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.
The majority of readers know the date, the battle, the name of the Norman invader, but Helen Hollick’s I Am the Chosen King takes the reader on a breathtaking journey of the twenty tumultuous years leading up to the Battle of Hastings. And she does so from the rare viewpoint of Harold Godwinson.
Hollick masterfully blends fiction and history together in this well-researched story, bringing eleventh century England and France to vivid life on the pages. The storytelling, drawing us toward the inevitable tragic end, is elegant and lyrical. Hollick’s Harold is a brilliant man who is deeply passionate, unwaveringly loyal, and shrewdly courageous. Harold is a man of dignity who is also all too human.
Hollick’s story is a refreshing change from the usual Norman-bent retellings of this pivotal battle in English history. Memorably and beautifully told, I Am the Chosen King is a stunning glimpse into the life and mind of the last Saxon king of England.