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Harold The King (Saxon #1)

4.12  ·  Rating Details ·  1,662 Ratings  ·  143 Reviews
The story of the Battle of Hastings, by the acclaimed author of 'A Hollow Crown' (Arrow/Random House). Two men. One Kingdom. One Crown. This is the story of the men and women involved in the tide of events that led to a battlefield near Hastings in 1066. Endorsed by Bernard Cornwell, Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick.
Kindle Edition, 561 pages
Published (first published October 5th 2000)
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Jan 02, 2016 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew how this book was going to end. Even still, even knowing, I found myself turning the pages as it reached the conclusion hoping for a different result. Ms. Hollick writes a tale of Harold that had me rooting for him and wanting him to live. But alas, all students of history know that England lost its King that day and the memory of the date of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 remains.
This is the second book by Ms. Hollick I have had the good fortune to read; my first was The Forever Qu
Oct 22, 2008 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Misfit
Wonderful book, above all my expectations even if Helen Hollick doesn’t have the same absorbing way in writing a beautiful like Sharon Kay Penman, who is my favorite HF writer, without any doubt. Her characters are not fully emotional engaged as the ones by SKP and we don’t feel so attached to them. The description of Hastings battle was breathless.
Oct 15, 2013 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Hollick's acknowledgements she mentions Sharon Penman and Elizabeth Chadwick as being strong influences on her writting and I could tell this was true based on how richly she writes!!! The editing was not the best so be warned on that front... but I did love EVERY second of this series and recommend it to any Penman/Chadwick fan!!!
Dec 01, 2015 Gretchen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I knew what was coming and I cried like a baby any way. Poor Edyth. Poor Gytha. William really was a bastard. At least this William was.
Krista Baetiong Tungol
This is the first time I have minded a historical fiction book with multiple points of view (POV); perhaps it’s because I feel that Harold Godwinson, the main man in this book, had not been given all the ‘exposure’ he deserved. Other than that, I am content with how the narrative of his life and the events leading to the Norman conquest of 1066 have been carried out. I only know fragments about him from several post-Norman conquest stories I have read—mostly a flick through in a page proclaiming ...more
Oct 08, 2015 May rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew the date. I knew the place. I knew nothing about the details! The Battle of Hastings: 1066 is now more than just a phrase to me. Helen Hollick has taken the few facts available and woven an incredible story, highlighting the whys and wherefores of that pivotal moment in English history. Truly recommend it!!!
Judith Arnopp
Oct 12, 2010 Judith Arnopp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am always worried when I pick up a novel about one of my pet favourites. Harold Godwinson is like a god to me but I had no need to worry for in Helen's hands he becomes everything I would like him to be. A flawed but brilliant man. On my favourites shelf for all time.
I picked up this book not long after finishing Hollick's "Forever Queen," the first in this Saxon Series. Having read very little about England's pre-Conquest history, I did enjoy learning about this time period, and the portions that I looked up to delve deeper into did show that the book is written about as accurately as anything about that time can be at this point.

As with the first book, I felt that too much time was spent on details and events that did not seem to add to much to moving the
Mar 23, 2011 Craig rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well-written historical fiction account of what was occurring in the England, France (Normandy) and Scandanavia leading up to the historic Battle of Hastings in 1066 (the Norman Conquest). The author focuses principally on the life of Harold Godwinesson who would be crowned King Harold upon the death of King Edward (who died childless - later named Edward the Confessor) in January, 1066, and of Harold's short reign as King of England (the last of England's Saxon kings). Attention is al ...more
Feb 09, 2015 Frances rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-books
An Impressive Novel.
Every once in awhile a real gem comes along and you are swept away on a timeless journey. I was captured by the first page and held spell bound until the very end. Helen Hollick is truly a remarkable author with a gifted talent for exceptional and superior writing. The entire book flows along smoothly with many strong characters and scenes written in such a lovely poetic description providing the sensation of being right there in the midst of it all. Beginning in the year 104
Deborah Pickstone
Of all Helen Hollick's books, I Am the Chosen King is the best of them. She makes Harold Godwinson very sympathetic and I desperately wanted the inevitable ending not to happen. Harold is one of my heroes and she did ok for him, so she gets a vote from me for that.

However, she is apt to lecture her readers and makes historical errors so laughable that Forever Queen was rather bad and her Arthur series finished me off as a reader, as all but one of the characters (which one??? H
Geoff Boxell
Dec 08, 2015 Geoff Boxell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Books about King Harold always bring me mixed emotions. Like most English I hate the Norman Conquest and still have problems dealing with our loss. This book is one of the best of its kind and, despite the inevitable sad ending, I really enjoyed reading it and highly recommend it.
William Russeth
Aug 15, 2008 William Russeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone into English history
Wonderfully written- amazingly detailed. Not a book of battles, but a book delving into the POVS of Harold, his brothers, his wives, his enemies, and his king during the time period leading up to the Norman conquest.
Michael Connery
The majority of readers know the date, the battle, the name of the Norman invader, but Helen Hollick’s I Am the Chosen King takes the reader on a breathtaking journey of the twenty tumultuous years leading up to the Battle of Hastings. And she does so from the rare viewpoint of Harold Godwinson.

Hollick masterfully blends fiction and history together in this well-researched story, bringing eleventh century England and France to vivid life on the pages. The storytelling, drawing us toward the in
Ellen Ekstrom
Apr 05, 2013 Ellen Ekstrom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to mention once, here and now, that this ebook's formatting was disappointing, sloppy, and annoying for such a reputable publishing house. There! Fortunately, it did not take away from my enjoyment of Ms. Hollick's sequel to "The Forever Queen," "I am the Chosen King (UK title: "Harold the King")." The story of the Godwine family and their rise to power continues in this novel that culminates with the Battle of Hastings and William of Normandy's seizure of England. I am one of the many ...more
Sandra Olshaski
I Am the Chosen King by Helen Hollick (Rated: P, V)
ISBN 9781402240669
Published March 2011
Trade paperback, 592 pages

Reviewed by Sandra

The Battle of Hastings, also known as the Norman invasion of Britain or the Norman Conquest, is familiar terrain to history buffs. I Am the Chosen King is essentially the lead-up to it as the book covers the years from 1043 to 1066 A.D. Viking raids still occur and Edward the Confessor, of Westminster Abbey fame, sits on the throne of England.

I found the
Blodeuedd Finland
Another well-written tale by Hollick. In this one we follow the last 30 years before 1066, and see the fall of the last English King.

Harold Godwinesson is the son of Earl Godwin of Wessex. In his youth he falls in love with a beautiful woman, Edyth and takes her as his handfast wife. Because he knows that in the future he must make a alliance and get a wife in a Christian ceremony. We follow his life as he becomes Earl of East Anglia, as his sister Edith marries Edward (the confessor), as he fig
Mar 13, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We’ve all heard of the year 1066 and of William the Conqueror and his glorious takeover of England. But what is the rest of the story? What was the land that William was taking over, why was he taking it over, and who was he taking it over from? I am the Chosen King is the story of Harold Godwinesson, the last Saxon King of England and it answers all of these questions.

Like Beethoven’s Symphony Number 7, I am the Chosen King starts out quiet and touching and then slowly, almost without you reali
In I Am The Chosen King Helen Hollick eloquently continues the story of Saxon England begun in The Forever Queen culminating with one of the most famous dates in English history; 1066 and the Battle of Hastings.

I Am The Chosen King took me a lot longer to read than The Forever Queen and like many weighty historical fiction novels, I think it's best read when you have large chunks of time to devote to the experience. Due only to reading time constraints I wasn't as quick to fall in love with this
I first discovered Helen Hollick on Goodreads. When I read Forever Queen I was captivated by the story of Queen Emma. The story was so beautifully written, I wanted to continue on to the sequel as soon as I could. In the sequel the story moves on to Harold Godwinsson. He becomes King of England after Edward dies. Harold was the last Saxon King of England.

The horrid Duke William of Normandy wants England for himself. So he invades England which leads up to the Battle of Hastings. Needless to say
Aug 15, 2010 Allie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
England 1043-1066. This book takes place primarily while Edward, son of Aethelred and Emma, was King of England, even though the Godwin's basically ruled England for him. This book went into great detail of those years and the politics between Normandy and England. Countess Gytha and Earl Godwine had their hands full with all their sons and daughters. Constant bickering and jealousy. The family fueds provide most of the drama throughout the book.

I can't believe how admirable both of Harold's wiv
Aug 30, 2012 Cheryl rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kindle-edition
I couldn't put this down and not only that but I'm kind of hoping that Ms. Hollick writes a continuation of the William The Conqueror story. The best of historical fiction teaches you something about something you thought you already knew about (sorry -- bad sentence) and brings history to life. Harold the King did that for me. I knew the textbook history but this story had so many layers to it! Family dysfunction and dynamics, the role of women in the 11th century, court life and to a degree ev ...more
I was surprised by how differently Emma is portrayed in this compared to it's prequel "Forever Queen". She is more self serving, cold hearted and bitter but I suppose that's to be expected given everything she'd been through by the second book. She was certainly a survivor, I just feel as though she was portrayed more sympathetically in the first book.

Harold is certainly the hero of the story but what really makes this book interesting is watching all the intricate relationships between all the
Sara W
I read the Kindle version of this book (paid almost $10 for it), and it was terribly edited - commas were used in place of periods repeatedly, etc. It was something I would expect from a freebie book, but not for something I paid for (and paid a decent amount for at that). I'm not sure if the physical book is at bad (I certainly hope not).

The story itself is fine, but I didn't love it. It is interesting to read about Harold though, so I would recommend it to someone interested in him (although I
Jul 19, 2015 Kate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, kindle, 2015
I've read this and it's "prequel", The Forever Queen", about Queen Emma. In both books, the author does a fantastic job of covering decades of time and a huge cast of characters. All characters feel human, with strengths and failings. The author is not afraid to make her characters hard and they react to others in a way that fits the period and their positions.

Harold is loving but driven, Edward is kind to children but mercurial and childish himself. William is committed and driven by revenge.

Stuart Murray
Aug 31, 2015 Stuart Murray rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Helen Hollick has done a remarkable job tackling not only a period of history, but in her portrayal of the characters who lived, breathed and interacted with one another in a way that brought them to life, as opposed to simply being the cold, fact based impersonal figures depicted in history books. So, if you like historical dramas played out and painted on a vividly real, grand scale then this book is for you.
Aug 22, 2012 Carmen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vividly written, she really gets into the characters. The clock went backwards for me as I read this book. I was in the 11th century. This is the story of the last two Saxon kings of England, before William of Normandy invades. She draws on your heartstrings, feel excitement and joy when something works out for a character whom you feel you know, and feel disgust when someone does something deplorable. Really effective.
Stuart MacAllister
A great account of the life of the last true English King of our Sceptered Isle. I never knew anything about Harold or the events leading up to the Battle of Hastings.

An exciting and informative account, written by a lady who really knows her stuff!
I absolutely loved this novel! After only reading Norman views of this time period (pre-Conquest) I found it eye-opening to see the same events from the English perspective. I couldn't help but fall in love with Harold while despising his sister and William of Normandy.
Deborah Pickstone
Multiple historical faux pas and a slightly patronising tone detracted from my enjoyment of a story that has had less attention than it deserves from novelists.
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I escaped London in January 2013 to live in North Devon - but was born in Walthamstow, North East London in 1953 I began writing at the age of 13. Desperately wanting a pony of my own, but not being able to afford one, I invented an imaginary pony instead, writing stories about our adventures together at every spare opportunity. In the seventies I turned to science fiction - this was the age of Dr ...more
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Other Books in the Series

Saxon (2 books)
  • The Forever Queen (Saxon #2)

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