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The First Kingdom

Britain in the age of Arthur

Max Adams

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Head of Zeus
01 April 2021
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An investigation of the obscure centuries that followed the departure of the Romans from Britain.

The bestselling author of The King in the North turns his attention to the obscure era of British history known as 'the age of Arthur'.

Somewhere in the shadow time between the departure of the Roman legions in the early fifth century and the arrival in Kent of Augustine's Christian mission at the end of the sixth, the kingdoms of Early Medieval Britain were formed. But by whom? And out of what?

In The First Kingdom, Max Adams scrutinizes the narrative of this period handed down to us by later historians and chroniclers. Stripping away the more lurid claims made for a warrior-hero named Arthur, he synthesises the research carried out over the last forty years to tease out the strands of reality from the myth. He reveals how archaeology has delivered evidence of a diverse and dynamic response to Britain's new-found independence, of material and intellectual trade between the Atlantic islands and the rest of Europe, and of the environmental context of those centuries.

A skilfully wrought and intellectually probing investigation of the most mysterious epoch in our history, The First Kingdom presents an image of post-Roman Britain whose resolution is high enough to show the emergence of distinct political structures in the sixth century - polities that survive long enough to be embedded in the medieval landscape, recorded in the lines of river, road and watershed, and memorialised in place names.


'Not just a valuable book, but a distinctive one as well' Tom Holland, Sunday Times 'Adams' overview is deeply immersed in the landscape of early medieval Britain ... The whole presents a very useful reference, and an enjoyable read' Current Archaeology 'A worthy synthesis of what little we know' Gerard de Groot, The Times
By:   Max Adams
Imprint:   Head of Zeus
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 153mm, 
ISBN:   9781788543477
ISBN 10:   1788543475
Pages:   480
Publication Date:   01 April 2021
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Max Adams is the author of Admiral Collingwood, The Prometheans, the bestselling The King in the North and In the Land of Giants. He has lived and worked in the North-East of England since 1993.

Reviews for The First Kingdom: Britain in the age of Arthur

PRAISE FOR MAX ADAMS: 'A triumph. The most gripping portrait of 7th-century Britain that I have read' Tom Holland, on . 'Essential reading for all those interested in late Anglo-Saxon Britain' History Today, on Aelfred's Britain. 'A beautifully written archae-travelogue' TLS, on In the Land of Giants.

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