The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett
In partnership with bestselling author, Ken Follett and his brand new historical fiction epic, The Evening and the Morning, we’re delighted to be able to bring elements of the book to life by sharing what it was like to fight like a Viking as part of Ken Follett’s Virtual Kingsbridge Festival.
The events depicted in The Evening and the Morning take place in AD 997, nearly four decades after the historical moment depicted at the JORVIK Viking Centre. The close of the 10th century is sometimes described as the beginning of England’s ‘Second Viking-age’, when large armies from Denmark, often led or sponsored by Danish royalty, carried out escalating campaigns of terror and extortion. This was the period when Sweyn Forkbeard, the Dane who would in AD 1013 be proclaimed King of England for a reign lasting just a matter of weeks, was on his path to power. The years of his ascendancy in England were a disaster for the kingdom, marked by violence, destruction and plunder on a scale not to be repeated until the years of the Norman Conquest half a century later. Even when the English rallied to inflict occasional defeats on the Viking army on the battlefield, nothing seems to have checked the incessant raids or the kingdom’s slide into the hands of a foreign power. The Danish campaigns tended to focus on the southern half of England, perhaps because parts of the north kept their ‘Anglo-Scandinavian’ character long after their absorption into the kingdom of England, and may have been sympathetic to Sweyn’s cause. York was apparently never targeted by Sweyn, who perhaps looked to the old Danelaw and its capital for natural allies in his English adventure.
You can read more about Sweyn and other Viking-age kings here.
To find out more about Ken Follett’s new book, The Evening and the Morning and the Virtual Kingsbridge Festival, click here.