Author: Julian de La Motte Category:

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“My astonishment grew by the page. Somehow Julian de la Motte summons up an image of the Europe of 1,000 years ago, an account that feels not at all like fiction, but instead real; an uncanny historical rendering. If you don’t believe me then open Senlac. It might just be the best historical fiction you’ll ever read.” —Charles McNair, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction author of The Epicureans 

Senlac is a two-part historical novel that brings to life the turbulent period leading to the Norman Conquest of England in 1066. A bloody war, fought at close hand and on horseback with sword and battle-axe, the English were forced to defend the kingdom against invasions by both the Normans and the Vikings. The book is named for the hill upon which the final defense was mounted. The results would dramatically change the course of history.

 Senlac, Book One, opens during Christmas of the year 1065, a time of grave national crisis and disquieting omens, when the aged King Edward the Confessor, the seventh son of Æthelred the Unready, dies in the Palace of Westminster in London. He leaves behind no heir.

 To fill the void, Edward’s brother-in-law, Harold, the Earl of Wessex and the greatest warrior in England, is hurriedly elected king by popular acclaim.  Harold desperately seeks to unify a kingdom ravaged by the Danish occupation, and by unrest on both the Scottish and Welsh borders.

 In order to ensure military support in the north, Harold must turn his back on his beloved common-law wife, Edith the Fair—also known as Edith Swanneck, for the graceful length of her neck—and their children to marry Aeldyth, the sister of both the Earl of Northumbria and the Earl of Mercia. Meanwhile, Harold’s mercurial younger brother, Tostig, is bitterly plotting a return from exile and revenge against the King.

 Across the North Sea, the King of Norway, the aging and psychotic Harald Hardraada, who was said to be a full seven feet tall, dreams of a new Viking Empire on English soil and strikes an alliance with Tosig. And across the English Channel, William, Duke of Normandy—the leader of a powerful yet unstable military state—plans his own attack, determined to avenge Harold’s broken promise to make England his.

Carefully researched and re-imagined by Londoner and first-time novelist Julian del la Motte, Senlac turns the dust of history into living flesh and emotion.  “It might just be the best historical fiction you’ll ever read,” says Charles McNair, who was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his novel, Land O’ Goshen.

“My astonishment grew by the page. Somehow Julian de la Motte summons up an image of the Europe of 1,000 years ago, an account that feel not at all like fiction, but instead real; an uncanny historical rendering that blends the exquisite detail of Hilary Mantel with the scope of Edward Gibbon. If you don’t believe me then open Senlac. It might just be the best historical fiction you’ll ever read.” —Charles McNair, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction author of The Epicureans