A thoroughly enjoyable book to read, informative and written in a style that is clear and easily understood. The book highlights the quest of King Alfred and Wessex to halt the Viking incursions of the 9th century and lay the foundations of the concept of a national identity which would eventually lead to the forming of the state of England. Many notorious Northmen stride through this book,such as Ubba, Ivor the Boneless, Guthrum,Halfdan,Bagsecg and Haesten and their battles are vividly brought to life. The myth of the invincible Vikings is dispelled and the Anglo Saxons prove to be more than a match for the Danes, when they got their act together. Saxon victories at Eddington,Englesfield, Ashdown, Farnham,Benfleet and Buttingham are detailed along with Alfred's introduction of the burgh fortifications of Wessex and the forming of a navy. The political landscape is well described as are the reasons for the Viking raids and as to why they came about. Alfred, betrayed by his own people flees to Athelney and the fight back begins. This is a must read book for anyone interested in our history, it was a period shrouded in mystery, legend and misconception. This work opens a window on what must have been a traumatic period to have lived through and gives one a real feel as to what the people of that time had to contend with.