In 2014 Max Adams received a Roger Deakin Award to support his research for In the Land of Giants. Travelling well over a thousand miles across Britain and Ireland, on foot, by sea or on a motorbike, Max explores Britain’s lost early medieval past. From York to Whitby, from London to Sutton Hoo, from Edinburgh to Anglesey and from Hadrian’s Wall to Loch Tay, Max has steeped himself in the landscapes of the Dark Ages, discovered lost treasure and made (a little) sense of how early medieval communities lived and shaped their world…
The Giants of the title were the mysterious lost races (in reality Romans and native British) who, for our Dark Age ancestors, had built the great monuments – walls, standing stones, roads and forts – of their own prehistory, steeped in myth and magic.
The peoples of Britain’s Dark Ages believed that the great monuments of the past had been built by a lost race of giants – not surprising, since they couldn’t imagine how Stonehenge and Hadrians’ Wall, the Roman Towns and megalithic tombs could be built by mortal hand.
Each of his ten journey narratives form both free-standing chapters and parts of a wider portrait of a Britain of fort and fyrd, crypt and crannog, church and causeway, holy well and memorial stone. Part travelogue, part expert reconstruction, In the Land of Giants, offers a beautifully written insight into the lives of peasants, drengs, ceorls, thanes, monks and kings during an enigmatic but richly exciting period of our island’s history. Published in London by Head of Zeus.
As well as investigating what survives of the landscape of Bede, Alfred and Arthur, Max explores our own identities during a time of political and cultural uncertainty. You can find out what Max thinks about travelling, especially on foot; and why it informs all his writing, by checking out his walking podcast for the Royal Literary Fund.
‘It is impressive – though very much in keeping with the tone of the whole book – to see such awareness in action; and absorbing to note the results that can flow from such openness.’ Neil Hegarty, The Irish Times.
‘The book is full of battles, brides and bishops, with a light touch…I guarantee you will really enjoy the journey.’ British Archeology
‘Great archaeological knowledge, an inquisitive mind and vivid descriptions of the natural and manmade landscape come together in this erudite travelogue, offering new insights into this formative period of our country’s past.’ Juanita Coulson, The Lady
Paperback edition July 2016