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On The Table Read Magazine, “the best book magazine in the UK“, set in 1010 AD, England’s Martyr by Alfred Read sees King Ethelred reeling from the ravages of the Norse invaders and licking his wounds rather than helping his people.

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England’s Martyr

England’s Martyr by former political correspondent turned author Alfred Read is the first instalment of the historical Ironside Trilogy.

Rather than another Robin Hoodesque dive into Old England, Alfred Read uses his attention to detail and forensic research of real-life characters and historical timelines to portray an authentic view of every aspect of life in Old England.  And with plot layered upon plot and conniving aplenty, this immersive story centres on warring factions, impoverished communities and a King manoeuvred by those around him.

The year is 1010AD and England is dying, its people are brutalised, and its lands have been ravaged after wave after wave of Norse invaders. King Ethelred does little but sit on his throne, haunted by his troubled past and easy prey for his manipulative advisors, leaving his subjects to fend for themselves.

Unwilling to stand by and do nothing, a famous Ealdorman, Ulfcytel of Eastengle, has gathered an army, ready to fight and die rather than capitulate to the latest invader: a brutal “f” warlord known as Thorkell the Tall. To Ulfcytel’s surprise, his army is soon joined by a stranger from the south, Alaric, who has rushed to assist him in the hope that England might finally prevail. Unbeknownst to Alaric and Ulfcytel, their efforts to save their people have gained the attention of their disturbed and ill-advised king, setting in motion a chain of events that they, and all England, can only hope to endure.

England’s Martyr is a historical novel with the potential to wow in a similar manner as Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, and destined to find a place in the hearts of all those who appreciate a great story told well, and anybody keen to better understand England’s history.

Alfred Read

In this first volume of my Ironside Trilogy, my intention is to tell the story of the English king, Edmund Ironside.

England’s Martyr thus takes place during the sequence of events from the Battle of Ringmere in 1010 to King Svienn Forkbeard’s invasion of 1013, all of which sets the stage for the emergence of Edmund Ironside and his heroic efforts to save England from the predations of Denmark. Most of the characters appearing in the book are real, and my aim is to present them as part of a narrative that’s hopefully faithful to an often unappreciated episode of English history.

-Alfred Read
Alfred Read on The Table Read Magazine
Alfred Read

Former political correspondent turned author of historical fiction, Alfred Read holds a degree in journalism and master’s degrees in human rights and global politics.

Over the years he’s developed a keen interest in history, most particularly the Anglo Saxon period of his native England.

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Also available at Waterstones, Blackwells, Barnes & Noble and other good book stores.

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