Harold the King

General Fiction

By Helen Hollick

Publisher : SilverWood Books

ABOUT Helen Hollick

Helen Hollick
Helen Hollick lives in northeast London on the edge of Epping Forest with her husband, adult daughter, and a variety of pets, which include several horses, a cat and a dog. She has two major interests: Roman/Saxon Britain and the Golden Age of Piracy – the early eighteenth century. Her p More...


Two men. One Kingdom. One Crown.

Harold Godwinesson, a young respected Earl, rides to inspect his new Earldom of Essex and East Anglia. He meets and falls in love with beautiful Edyth Swannhaels – Edyth the Fair. She will become the mother of his children despite the disapproval of his sister, the future Queen.

William, the bastard son of a Duke, hungers for power. A charismatic leader, but brutal and determined, he cares for nothing and no one except his own greed for ambition and self advancement. Which includes gaining the Crown of England.

When the old King, Edward, dies, England is left to the mercy of fate – and the stubborn will of two powerful men. Only one of whom can be King.

In this wonderful, skillfully crafted tale, Helen Hollick sets aside the propaganda of the Norman Conquest and brings to life the English version of the events that led to the most famous date in British history.

This is the remarkable story of the last Saxon King: his tender love, determination and loyalty, all shattered by the demanding need of a vulnerable Kingdom. Forced to give up his beloved 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 proud honour and dignity that history remembers of its fallen heroes.

1066 is the most famous date in English history: the Battle of Hastings. To be precise, the 14th of October 1066, the day when William, Duke of Normandy, led his conquering army against King Harold II of England. Harold The King is a novel. I have based it on fact, but cannot claim that the details of the events and circumstances are all historically accurate; it is, after all, only an interpretation. There are too many disagreements, even among the experts, ever to be able to state categorically that anything in history is undisputed fact. Unless we were there to see for ourselves, we will never know, and even then the truth can often be elaborated or exaggerated. The main characters of my novel existed; I have merely invented some of the ‘bit parts’ and added colour and animation. 1066 is known as the Norman Conquest, but it is worth remembering that although William had himself crowned king, and while most of the male English aristocracy were replaced by Normans, the ordinary English – the Saxons – remained English. England was ruled by Normans but never became Norman. If that had happened, we would be speaking French, not English. Harold was our last English King. He died, with all the honour and dignity that we English remember of our fallen heroes, defending his country and people from foreign invasion. I have written what I imagine to have been his story.

A novel of enormous emotional power... Helen Hollick is a fabulous writer of historical fiction.
—Elizabeth Chadwick

Helen Hollick has it all! She tells a great story, gets her history right and writes consistently readable books!
—Bernard Cornwell

If only all historical fiction could be this good.
—Historical Novels Review

An epic re-telling of the Norman Conquest.
—The Lady

Don't miss Helen Hollick's colourful recreation of the events leading up to theNorman Conquest in Harold the King.
—Daily Mail

Hollick's enormous cast and meticulous research combine to create a convincing account of the destructive reign of the hapless Edward and the internecine warfare that weakens England as William prepares to invade. Thanks to Hollick's masterful storytelling, Harold's nobility and heroism enthrall to the point of engendering hope for a different ending to the famous battle of 1066.
—Publisher's Weekly