Soð bið swicolost.. and gomol snoterost
Truth is the most fickle thing.. and the old man is the wisest..
The King in the North: The life and times of Oswald of Northumbria (London: Head of Zeus, 2013) reconstructs the life and times of one of Britain’s most enigmatic, fascinating and important warlord kings: a young prince exiled on a Scottish island from the age of twelve who returns with an improbably small army to claim back his father’s kingdom, found Lindisfarne and create a whole new idea of kingship. If that sounds familiar it’s because Tolkien used Oswald as a model for his virtuous returning king hero figure Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings. But Oswald also has roots in a more mysterious, pagan past which taps into animistic ideas of horned naked warriors, Celtic head-cults and more.
If Oswald’s uncle Edwin is the first Englishman of whom we might attempt a biography, Oswald is the first to leave sufficient legacy for that biography to be meaningful.
The King in the North was a Book of the Year in the Guardian’s 2014 Readers’ list: Liz Taylor, East Garforth, Near Leeds…
‘Max Adams’s The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria (Head of Zeus) is my book of the year. I turned to it as part of my continuing love affair with the county of Northumberland, second only to Yorkshire in its beauty and heritage. It’s a fascinating and courageous book that makes connections between the two counties and dares to debunk some of the assertions made, and myths created, by the north’s greatest ever historian, the Venerable Bede. It is essential reading for every Yorksumbrian as we dare to dream of devolution for the north.’
‘A triumph. The most gripping portrait of 7th Century Britain that I have read… A Game of Thrones in the Dark Ages.’ Tom Holland, The Times