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Harold the King (The Saxon Series #2)

4.14 of 5 stars 4.14  ·  rating details  ·  1,291 ratings  ·  120 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.
Paperback, 558 pages
Published June 8th 2011 by SilverWood Books (first published October 5th 2000)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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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 5 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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!!!
Judith Arnopp
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.
William Russeth
Aug 15, 2008 William Russeth rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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
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
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
Oct 17, 2011 Phoebe rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lisa
Shelves: adult, historical
Another harrowing yet deeply satisfying reading experience from this eminently talented author. Picking up quite close to where The Forever Queen leaves off, Hollick draws her readers into the complicated, hostile relationship between Harold and Swegn, Godwine's two eldest sons. Swegn is an unsavory character who causes all manner of grief for his family, and Harold is a warm, intelligent, sensible, and all-around nice guy who will eventually have the crown of England thrust upon him--and we all ...more
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
Ellen Ekstrom
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
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
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
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
I picked this book up because I had read and loved The Forever Queen and this was the sequel which I was hoping to love as much. I did not. The book was still a nice story and the writing was beautiful, it just did not pack the punch that the first one did. I have some ideas for why this is.

The first book mainly followed Emma of Normandy and her two husbands and her reign as Queen of England. This book starts with the reign of Emma's son, Edward the Confessor, and ends with the Norman conquest.
Mary Alaga
This was the second of a two part epic (The first book being "The Forever Queen"), about Harold, and the Norman usurper William.

I knew how it ended, and that's about all I knew. (Art History, Medieval study, the Bayeux tapestry.) But as a reader of all English historical fiction that I find, I decided it was time to learn more about the battle of Hastings.

I found the books fascinating and full of information that I never knew. I enjoyed almost all of the journey.

And I now understand why the su
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
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
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.
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.
A fantastic account of the last of the Saxon English kings. Edward the Confessor was the last Saxon to complete his regin, and Harold Godwinson was the last Saxon king period.

Hollick did a great job bringing these figures to life. I liked how conflicted Harold was about his duties as a nobleman, and later as king. Edward was pathetic and unlikeable, but you also had to feel a little sorry for him for being so completely ill equipped to be a good king. Edyth Swanneck was a wonderfully strong woma
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!
Roy Anger
I found most of the characters flat and uninteresting. People are suddenly 'in love' for no apparent reason. Or a long held grudge is just ... gone. I can't get a feel for any of the characters and couldn't care if they lived or died.

The pacing was extremely slow, yet fast. The book would jump ahead years, yet almost nothing seemed to happen. When Harold and his father are exiled we don't get to spend any time with them seeing what they did to raise an army. They just returned with one.

The edit
Allie Stevens
Fantastic book. Loved every minute and wept like a baby at the end. It pressed all the right buttons. I have read this book at least once a year, it's one of my favorites!
In the 11th Century, the celibate and highly religious Saxon King Edward sat on the throne of England. The only surviving son of Queen Emma “Ælgifu”, Edward came to the throne he never wanted harboring resentment against the mother that forced him to grow up abandoned in exile and baring a fierce loyalty to the Norman nobles and clerics who raised and protected him in his mother’s stead. Edward played a wicked game of politics to force his mother out of power and to cow her supporters among the ...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
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
Well I'm finally finished with the darn thing! I have to admit, it was am amazing book but it's just not my type of reading. It's more suited for those who like historical anthologies not vampires and witches. So keeping that in mind, I still really enjoyed it. It took me 20x longer to finish it just because I had to feel "in the mood" to pick it up and get my dose of history! I was very disappointed in the ending! Poor Harold! I really liked him, but you can't change history so what was done is ...more
Harold the King – the year 1066 is one of the most famous dates in English History. We know a lot about the history after the Norman Conquest but not much before that. Helen Hollick brings this whole period to life. The Harold I knew about was an usurper so I didn’t feel his losing the battle was so terrible. After reading this book I wish that somehow Harold had prevailed. It would have been interesting to see what England would have become under his rulership.

The story starts with Edward (late
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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. Who, Star Trek and Star Wars. I still have an unfinished advent ...more
More about Helen Hollick...

Other Books in the Series

The Saxon Series (2 books)
  • The Forever Queen (The Saxon Series, #1)
The Forever Queen (The Saxon Series, #1) The Kingmaking (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #1) Pendragon's Banner (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #2) Shadow of the King (Pendragon's Banner Trilogy, #3) Sea Witch (Sea Witch Voyages, #1)

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