This title covers the life of Harold, Earl of East Anglia, Earl of Wessex, King of England, and above all a nobleman with a conscience. He meets Edyth Swannhaels and falls in love with the young women. Not prominent enough in status, Edyth becomes Harold's "common wife or handfasted wife" which is not recognized by the church as a legal, binding marriage. Throughout their lives their love and loyalty remain strong even though Edyth knows that someday he must take a "formal wife."
In addition, Harold must deal with a weak King Edward, and obnoxious, traitorous, treacherous siblings: Swein, Edith and Tostig. Their exploits against their brother are of unbelievable, but true, proportions. Harold must also contend with a brutal, manipulative Duke William of Normandy who tries to bend Harold to his will and ambition for the throne of England. When this backfires in his face, William declares war on Harold "The Usuper" and England at any and all costs.
This book shows a compassionate, caring man who inherits titles from his father and from Edward King of England. Diplomatic and charismatic but without the "win at all costs" personality of William of Normandy. His extremely human treatment of all of those around his proves his worth to have been chosen the last Saxon King in England.
The maps and genealogical information were also a great plus to this substantial but page turning historical!