A Medieval Romance

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A Medieval Romance


Ӕlfred, Alfred the Great (848/9-899), Anglo-Saxon, “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, annals, army, Asser, Athelney, battle, book, book review, Chippenham, chronicle, Danelaw, Danes, East Anglia, Edington, Ethandune, Guthrum, historical romance, invasion, Jeffery Farnol, king, “Life of Alfred”, novel, recreation, romance, romanticisation, siege, “The King Liveth”, victory, Vikings, war, Wessex, West Saxon, Wiltshire


In this review of Jeffery Farnol’s historical romance “The King Liveth”, the novel is recommended to readers who appreciate the “picturesque recreation of the England of those far off [Anglo-Saxon] days”. Set in the ninth-century and culminating in the Battle of Ethundane (Edington) in 878, the reviewer claims that this tale of Alfred the Great is based on evidence from chronicles. This most likely refers to the “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”, and perhaps Asser’s “Life of Alfred”, both written during Alfred’s reign. After being forced to flee to the marshes around Athelney following the invasion of the Viking great army led by Guthrum (where the burning of the cakes episode mentioned by the reviewer supposedly happened), Alfred was able to rally an army and defeat the Vikings. The survivors fled to Chippenham but following a two-week siege they asked for a treaty. A peace treaty followed by which Guthrum and his leading supporters were baptised and the following year they settled East Anglia (part of the ‘Danelaw’), where Guthrum reigned until 890.

For a copy of the book’s cover and the dust jacket summary, see: http://newportvintagebooks.com/gallery/farnol/pages/Far_KingLiveth_UK.htm.

For more on Alfred, see Patrick Wormald, ‘Alfred (848/9–899)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/183, accessed 15 June 2011].




National Library of Australia, http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article50339347


The West Australian


4 May 1946, p. 4.


The West Australian


Digitised Newspaper Article



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